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A survey of nearly 600 executives across 18 countries finds that 48% of companies say improving customer intimacy is the main reason for artificial intelligence (AI) adoption. Additionally, large companies with at least 30,000 employees are more than 50% more likely to have made major investments in AI for front-line customer interactions and analytics, the survey reveals.

100% of UK firms polled already employ cutting-edge tools such as chatbots and sentiment analysis, with more than a quarter (26%) using AI in customer engagement for over two years.

Across Europe the survey found that nine out of ten firms (90%) use AI solutions to improve the customer journey. More than 90% of European respondents said their companies are investing in AI tools to automate processes and enhance customer channels.

Humans + bots: Tension and opportunity – how top global brands blend human skills and AI to build customer intimacy and drive growth, is a new report from MIT Technology Review Insights, sponsored by Genesys. It analyses how businesses leverage AI in customer experience and examines the resulting business performance and return on investment (ROI). The survey polled small-to-large-sized companies, with nearly half of respondents from large organisations with more than $5 billion in revenue.

Large Upticks in Efficiency

92% of respondents in Europe note measurable improvements in the speed of complaint resolution and 82% say they enhance call volume processing through AI. Additionally, the average respondent indicated that between 25% to 50% of all enquiries are now completely resolved through automated channels, leaving agents with more time to handle complex tasks.

“Businesses win big when they deploy AI to handle simple, repetitive tasks, saving human resources for more complicated or emotional customer needs,” said Merijn te Booij, chief marketing officer for Genesys. “Pairing automation and machine learning with live agents leads to happier customers, more satisfied employees – and not to mention— financial rewards.”

Companies also reap financial rewards by implementing AI, with 70% of respondents across the world reporting improved revenue. 42% of UK-based executives say revenue has grown by 10% or more, which is the strongest performance in Europe.

Deepening Customer Relationships

The survey also shows that globally, 67% of customer experience leaders embrace AI not just as a tool to make customer experience more efficient, but to create more meaningful relationships with consumers. More than 57% of respondents in Europe see the need to increase customer intimacy as the primary driver for AI, rather than cost-cutting.

In fact, 74% of those polled globally say AI enables agents to spend more quality time with customers. And, more than two-thirds of respondents say they’ve employed automated self-service channels, instant messaging chatbots, and sentiment analysis to deliver highly personalised experiences and strengthen ties with customers.

Other findings of the survey indicate:

  • 95% of respondents globally say AI investments are driven by the need to improve efficiencies in customer service
  • Two-thirds of customer experience leaders have made significant investments in AI for their front-line customer engagement channels and back-house analytics functions, compared to less than 30% of overall respondents
  • More than 80% of respondents use predictive AI to provide agent prompts and information during a customer’s journey

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