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  • Emmanuelle Serrano

AI, a Major Competitive Vector for Building Customer Loyalty According to a Qualtrics Survey

Faced with constant cost pressure and the need to work even harder to retain customers, customer service managers see AI as a way of standing out from their competitors. At least, that's what a recent survey of customer relations professionals by software publisher Qualtrics suggests.



Over 60% of customer experience managers expect AI to give them an edge over the competition. In other words, AI is expected to have a significant impact on the way companies interact with their customers. Improving the customer experience is one of the entry points for AI within organisations' activities. Cloud software company Qualtrics interviewed customer experience (CX) professionals, including customer service and user experience specialists, to gauge their perspectives on artificial intelligence and its potential impact on their work.


Generative AI, ChatGPT: the race is on for CX managers

With the rapid progress of generative AI technologies such as ChatGPT, expectations of AI and its ability to perform tasks hitherto reserved for humans have grown rapidly. In addition to this intense media attention, there is also pressure from within, as organisations compete to integrate AI and improve their bottom line as quickly as possible. Despite the fact that AI is a relatively new technology, 75% of managers feel under pressure to integrate generative AI into their strategy without delay.


Organisations have huge amounts of customer data at their disposal. However, accessing and exploiting this information requires considerable manual effort, and it is not easy to analyse it and determine the best way to respond to it. AI can speed up and simplify the process of gathering information, making recommendations, or responding in an automated way, and managers are inclined to go down this route.


Nearly two-thirds of senior managers and executives expect their companies to invest more in technology tools and training for their customer experience teams over the next 12 months.

But the arrival of AI does not mean that humans no longer have a place: more than half of customer experience managers believe that their teams will, on the contrary, grow over the next twelve months. "Historically, emerging technologies have advanced the human experience by enabling users to prioritise their higher value-added skills," says Ellen Loeshelle, director of Product management, intelligence platform. "With the integration of AI, our customer experience teams have a powerful tool to reduce their workload. Employees can focus on problems that are best solved by humans, without missing out on information that could lead to future improvements and innovations.


Reducing workloads, perfecting inefficient processes

The main areas of work for customer experience managers over the next twelve months are to improve their customer satisfaction scores and optimise the way they analyse sentiment. They believe AI can help them tackle these priorities head-on. The reduction in overall workload offered by AI is the benefit most frequently highlighted by managers. But this technology also helps agents to respond without delay, and to learn a variety of lessons from a multitude of customer interactions.


In addition to matching the specific priorities of customer experience managers, all these benefits combined can reduce the risk of burnout by optimising inefficient processes, and thus improve talent retention. A survey previously published by Qualtrics revealed that frontline employees who saw their teams as understaffed were twice as likely to consider leaving several times a month.


Due to the rapid evolution of AI, some employees are unprepared for the impact it could have on their jobs. A quarter of respondents do not believe that this technology will have a beneficial impact on the activities of their teams. This mistrust is shared by only 6% of senior managers and executives. The latter are nonetheless aware of the challenge ahead: just over a third of them are concerned about change management and the adoption of AI within their teams, which are the main challenges identified.


Methodology

The survey was conducted between 28 June and 12 July 2023 among more than 800 professionals working in customer experience in Australia, Brazil, France, Germany, Japan, Mexico, the UK, and the USA. Respondents were selected from a random sample of full-time workers aged 18 and over.



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