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Customer and Agent Perspectives on Enterprise AI Adoption in 2024

Customer and Agent Perspectives on Enterprise AI Adoption in 2024 1792 1024 Ben McCulloch

You’re reading this because you have an interest in conversational AI. You’ve probably embraced it and already use it in your work.

How do other people feel about AI though? Specifically, how do contact centre agents and customers feel about AI? Both groups are central to Conversational AI. We deliver great experiences in tandem with agents, and of course our industry is judged on the quality of the customer experience we provide.

Thankfully, we have reports from Kore AI and Farrell Insights that assess the views of live agents and customers on AI.

Mike Farrell, President & Chief Strategist at Farrell Insight and Abhijit Mhetre, SVP Marketing, Kore.ai joined Kane Simms on the VUX World webinar recently to dig deep into some need-to-know insights. Here’s a summary.

About the reports

‘Agent Experience Benchmark Report 2024 – Empower Agents to Supercharge your Customer Service’ focused on the experience of contact centre agents, exploring their attitudes towards AI, the challenges they face, and the value they find in AI technologies

‘Customer Experience Benchmark Report 2024 – Unlocking the Future of Customer Service’ examined customer experiences and expectations, highlighting how consumers interact with AI-powered services and their preferences.

The view from the frontline of customer service

The survey covered live agents from a diverse range of regions, including the US, UK, Germany, India, Japan, Indonesia, Philippines, and Australia. It included responses from agents across various generations, with a notable finding that younger agents, particularly Millennials and Gen Z, are more inclined to prioritise technology over salary.

  1. Agent priorities are changing with technology

    One of the most striking findings was the shift in agents’ priorities. Traditionally, competitive salaries were the top concern for agents. Now it seems that agents see huge value in becoming more efficient in their jobs. They appreciate tools and technologies that help understand customer needs and reduce administrative tasks. Agents highly value AI tools that can predict customer needs, assist in information retrieval, and reduce after-call work.

  2. AI technology is not in widespread use

    Despite the high demand for AI tools, the report highlighted a significant gap in their availability. Many agents reported only partial or no access to essential AI tools that could enhance their efficiency. For instance, tools that integrate seamlessly into existing business systems and assist in retrieving relevant documents were deemed highly useful but were not fully available in most contact centres. This gap presents a critical area for improvement in the industry.

The best source of truth is your customers

The second report provided insights into customer expectations when interacting with AI-powered services. While there are case studies that prove AI has significantly improved call containment rates, reduced wait times, and enhanced customer satisfaction, there is still variety in customers’ adoption of AI.

  1. The result is more important than the medium

    Customers now prioritise effectiveness and accuracy in their interactions over the ability to reach a live person. Look at this another way – people are more interested in the result than how they get there. They’re having regular experiences with AI now. It’s not a novelty anymore. This report shows that customers are increasingly comfortable with AI solutions as long as they are effective and accurate.

  2. Your parents grew up with telephones, your kids are growing up with AI

    Younger generations, especially Millennials and Gen Z, are driving the adoption of AI in customer service. These groups are more comfortable with technology and prefer digital interactions over traditional phone calls. However, older generations are less inclined to use AI-powered services, although they still value accuracy and effectiveness when they do.

  3. Each industry sees it differently

    Some industries are more accepting of AI than others. This probably isn’t a huge surprise considering the potential for risk. Healthcare providers still prefer human interaction. As their industry relies on identifying pains and providing tailored advice, it’s understandable that there’s caution around handing that responsibility off to AI (although there is still potential for identifying pains, with humans providing the treatment). On the other hand, banking and retail are more open to AI. This suggests tailored solutions for each industry are in need.

Takeaways delivered by AI

So what can you – a conversational AI industry player – take from this? Here’s three key findings:

  • Understand Customer Preferences – As customers become more comfortable with AI, contact centres must focus on delivering effective and accurate solutions. This requires a deep understanding of customer preferences and the ability to adjust AI applications to meet those needs.
  • Tailor AI Solutions to Industry Needs – Different industries have unique requirements and varying levels of acceptance for AI. Tailoring AI solutions to address the specific needs of each industry will be essential for successful implementation.
  • Balance Automation with Human Touch – While AI can handle many tasks, there are scenarios where human intervention is still necessary. Ensuring a seamless transition between AI and human agents will enhance the customer experience, particularly in sectors like healthcare.

You need to consider your AI path

Make no mistake, the adoption of AI in contact centres is transforming the landscape of customer service. But think before you act! Your next choices are vital.

Customers might only care about the end result, but for you it’s vital to consider how you get to that result. The key to success lies in embracing technology, investing in comprehensive AI solutions, understanding customer preferences, tailoring AI to industry needs, and balancing automation with the human touch.

By doing so, contact centres can not only improve operational efficiency but also enhance customer satisfaction and loyalty in an increasingly digital world.

Thanks to Mike and Abhijit for these insights. You can watch the full webinar here.

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