The Capgemini Research Institute has published a new report entitled “The Art of Customer-Centric Artificial Intelligence: How organizations can unleash the full potential of AI in the customer experience”. In the publication, the experts consulted found that customer interactions based on artificial intelligence have become widespread. More than half of customers (54%) respondents interact daily with companies via AI, up from 21% in 2018, according to the Capgemini study published the same year.
According to the report “The Art of Customer-Centric Artificial Intelligence: How organizations can unleash the full potential of AI in the customer experience”,increased deployments of AI by businesses and growing customer concerns resulting from the Covid-19 pandemic have significantly encouraged consumer adoption of the technology, including increasing their level of confidence and advancing human-type AI interactions.
The COVID-19 pandemic has pushed customers to massively adopt contactless AI systems, such as voice assistants and facial recognition, which are a real lever in the adoption of artificial intelligence.
In the current health crisis, more than three-quarters of respondents (77%) report using contactless interfaces more frequently to avoid interactions with other people or via touch screens. And this phenomenon should continue as 62% say they want to make it a habit once the epidemic is over. This figure is even higher in countries such as Germany (73%) Brazil (71%).
At the same time, while health and safety have become major issues, organizations have also become aware of the growing importance of contactless interfaces in the customer experience: 75% believe that the growing customer interest in contactless practices will continue, even after the pandemic.
In practical terms, customers are increasingly preferring interactions based exclusively on AI. Kelly Anderson, Head of Data Science and Artificial Intelligence at Procter and Gamble, confirms this:
“Customer perspective has evolved to the point where AI interactions have almost become a prerequisite. In case of human intervention, they are very pleasantly surprised or sometimes even shocked. This clearly shows that chatbots, natural language processing and AI have progressed and are becoming more sophisticated.”
From a sectoral point of view, the automobile (64%) and the public sector (62%) are clearly at the forefront. The widespread use of on-board voice interfaces is part of the reason why the automobile is a leader. For example, BMW, which many years ago deployed its own AI-based on-board voice assistants, plans to make them even more natural for the 2021 range, incorporating gesture and eye recognition features.
Interactions are becoming more realistic and inspire confidence
In 2018, confidence was one of the areas for improvement. Today, the latest study from the Capgemini Research Institute shows that organizations have made great strides in this area. The figures speak for themselves: just over two-thirds (67%) clients surveyed trust the personalized recommendations and suggestions provided through AI interactions.
In addition, almost half of them (46%) consider AI interactions to be trustworthy, up from 30% in 2018. Similarly, the proportion of respondents who do not trust machines to ensure the security and confidentiality of their personal data has fallen to 36%, down from 49% previously.
Two years ago, customers also hoped for more realistic interactions. Again, organizations have made great strides. Overall, 64% of clients surveyed consider AI interactions more realistic (compared to 48% in 2018).
Customers are the most enthusiastic in China, Australia and the United States, with 74%, 72% and 70% respectively. Such a development makes perfect sense, as organizations have begun to integrate more “human” features into AI applications: 72% of them say they are actively working to make AI interactions more realistic.
“Contextual” AI use cases are key to curbing declining customer satisfaction
While clients have increased interactions with AI since 2018, their level of satisfaction has decreased. Overall, 57% are satisfied with AI interactions, compared to more than two-thirds (69%) 2018. 51% of clients surveyed believe that a “positive” AI experience should be unique and go beyond their expectations.
The study found that more clients are satisfied and more likely to benefit from “contextual” use cases. Examples include autonomous car parking, detection of fraudulent banking transactions and the execution of payments authenticated by biometric scanners.
Most companies have a hard time measuring the impact on the customer experience with basic KPIs
Few customers were impressed with AI. This may be due to the fact that a majority of companies (73%) evaluate the customer experience only from basic performance indicators and focus on the number of customers using AI interactions.
According to the report, in order for organizations to fully exploit the potential of AI and evolve it into an improved experience, they should take into account feedback from customers in the design and development of systems.
What is the future of the customer experience?
The Capgemini study in 2018 showed a lower proportion of AI-based customer interactions in the vast majority of organizations (93%). Today, only 10% of the companies surveyed are at this level: 80% of them indicate that 30% to 50% of their customer interactions are based on artificial intelligence. According to the report, within two to three years, in the vast majority of organizations (80%), more than half of the interactions will be based on artificial intelligence.
“Artificial intelligence is an integral part of the customer experience and will remain so. The Covid-19 pandemic was a catalyst that allowed organizations to embark on the implementation of AI. Similarly, changes in customer behaviour related to the crisis have clearly given companies the opportunity to expand their AI deployments,” says Darshan Shankavaram, head of Capgemini’s Digital Customer Experience practice.
“However, it is essential that organizations understand that, as AI is a vehicle for customer satisfaction, they must optimize interactions and experiences and not consider this technology as a gimmick or use it solely to support larger volumes or speed up processes. With this in mind, they must continue to invest in realistic and trustworthy AI experiences and evolve their performance indicators and make them more sophisticated. If these changes materialize, we expect customer satisfaction to increase and the use of AI throughout the customer journey will grow. »