As Artificial Intelligence (AI) rapidly develops, the value of AI technologies, specifically natural language processing (NLP), in improving customer experience (CX) has attracted businesses’ attention. Through Smart Speakers consumers now have some trust in these technologies, knowing that they can provide fast, useful and personalised customer service.

Working with Odigo, Davies Hickman has conducted an online survey with 1,007 European business executives from six countries to understand changing attitudes to AI for CX. Research findings highlight the eagerness of businesses to use AI.

High investment expected

89% of European executives say AI technologies are vital to their success and think their organization will invest in the next 2 years. The importance of AI investment is also emphasised in certain sectors, including financial services and transport.

Despite the high demand and wide range of AI technologies available, there is a distinct shortage of AI experts and a lack of AI knowledge in general across all sectors, which is holding back investment. AI skill levels are lower in particular when using AI for speech analysis and predictive learning about customer behaviours, with 37% of executives claiming no one is an expert in AI speech analytics in their area of work.

This suggests that while these executives have almost unanimously agreed to invest in AI, organisations must evaluate their AI proficiency and allocate time and resources to training employees to better understand AI technologies.

Contact centre failings

Contact centres provide a vital aspect of CX and almost 8 in 10 executives agree contact centres require improvements. Improving contact centres will benefit CX, and can lead to increased customer loyalty, retention and satisfaction.

According to Odigo’s report Leveraging AI to enhance CX – a look at European businesses the main weaknesses of contact centres are employee engagement, cost efficiency, selling effectively, customer measurements and staff retention, with 44% of executives claiming the cost efficiency of their organisation’s contact centre operations is average or below standard.

Today’s contact centres are expected to provide a wide range of channels to meet their customer’s needs including phone, email, social media, live chat, chatbots and video chat. These channels require a consistent level of service and support in answering customer’s questions and complaints. However, some of the earlier chatbots first introduced by business could be inadequate in providing customers with better experiences, which again emphasises the importance of businesses investing in AI.

Value of AI and NLP

The interest of European business executives in AI and NLP for CX is shown by the fact that 66% are planning to launch NLP projects in the next two years. The main interest is in applications of AI technologies such as smart data management and process automation; for both applications over 8 in 10 executives see value in their benefits for CX.

AI and NLP also have considerable value in improving contact centres. They can be applied to many forms of communication with customers, including smartphone apps, chatbots and social media. 71% of executives said their organisation was using or willing to use customer service bots on their website, and as AI becomes more advanced this figure is likely to increase.

Ultimately, the advanced AI technology that Odigo provides is available now, but organisations must allocate time and resources to improving their employee’s skills and knowledge in AI. This investment in AI is required to allow businesses to compete and when the technology is applied correctly it will vastly improve their CX, which is vital to their success.

Why work with Davies Hickman

Davies Hickman provides the latest consumer and market trends by conducting in-depth market research. We help our clients to compete and satisfy their customers’ needs as technologies evolve. Our innovative research methods and data analysis provide valuable customer insights that help our clients thrive.