It’s a good day at Genesys. And, it’s a good day for Kate, our new customer experience artificial intelligence (AI). Why? Because if you’re like me, it feels good when a leading and highly respected research institution confirms what you suspected all along: AI will take customer satisfaction to new levels, and this is not just an idea for the future, it’s already happening today.
Early Adoption of Artificial Intelligence
In its new briefing paper, Getting to Iconic, which surveyed over 550 senior executives from some of the world’s top companies, MIT Technology Review found that over 90% of iconic brands were well ahead of competitors when it came to using AI to increasing customer satisfaction, compared to 42% of the companies, overall. This finding reveals that iconic firms also believe that automated AI tools are most effective when they supplement and extend the capabilities of their customer support team, rather than replace human investment.
At Genesys, we call this blended AI. It’s the idea that automation and AI work best when combined with the power of the human touch. And, that’s why we created Kate – not to replace human agents – but rather to help them solve customer problems faster and more efficiently.
What sets companies apart today is their customer experience. In the digital age, it’s no longer enough to differentiate on price, high-quality products uniqueness or expertise. To sustain the high levels of customer engagement and brand value necessary to stay competitive, it’s important to have the right mix of tools, applications and operational processes to engage with customers at every stage of their journey across marketing, sales and service. We believe AI is a crucial part of this mix, and its contribution will only continue to grow.
The research also found that “iconic” companies – those that maintain both the highest levels of customer experience satisfaction and have world-leading brand recognition – have several other key distinctions from those with lower levels of customer engagement and brand management.
- A Focus on Omnichannel
Nearly 90% of those identified as iconic firms by the survey were managing their customer experience from an omnichannel perspective. This percentage dropped to 66% among those respondents from poor performing firms. It’s no surprise that the firms with an omnichannel perspective were also twice as likely as others to employ leading-edge technology solutions, such as next-generation self-service loyalty program management and “voice of the customer” survey analytics.
- Use of Automation Technology to Extend Capabilities of Customer Support Teams Although the iconic firms were more likely to consider themselves technology leaders, they were less likely to consider technology as a primary solution to customer experience challenges. In other words, they recognize that over-reliance on technology for the sole purpose of increasing efficiency can hinder, rather than enhance the customer experience. Despite amazing advancements in customer experience technologies, these firms continue to place a high value on human capital investment and are focused on finding a healthy balance between human and automated communication channels.
- Active Management of the Customer Experience Across the Ecosystem
The iconic firms also recognize that they can’t go it alone. To become and stay a leader, it’s important to work with channel partners, suppliers and adjacent brands to extend optimal customer experience across their entire ecosystem. Iconic firms are twice as likely as others to require partners to adhere to their customer experience standards and nearly three times more likely to have their customer experience systems integrated with partners.
- Support of Brand Values
Due in large part to social media and other forms of online engagement, iconic firms recognize that customers are closely watching them. Corporate social responsibility (CSR) has never been more important for leading brands, and increasingly, customers want to share values and viewpoints with the firms they buy from. In the survey, 75% of the iconic firms indicated that CSR is one of the most important components of their brand value, compared to only 21% among the low-performing companies.
- A Focus on Omnichannel
Findings in Getting to Iconic highlight the growing importance of innovation in the customer experience. The future looks bright for firms that deploy leading-edge omnichannel solutions, discover new opportunities to introduce emerging AI applications and manage the customer experience across an extended ecosystem. These will be the iconic brands of the future.
To delve deeper into the results of this fascinating study, download the full paper here.