79% of CX Leaders Plan to Increase Investment in Contact Centre AI and Automation
Global Talkdesk Research report shows value of AI remains uncontested, but barriers persist in fully realizing scale and scope of AI ambitions
– CX professionals cite leadership vision, security, and talent gaps as primary stumbling blocks in implementation progress and maturity
– As a result of these obstacles, responses point to a slight slowdown in deployments with 60% of respondents currently using AI self-service compared with 69% last year
– An overwhelming majority (85%) recognize the importance of AI and automation and the risks of not leveraging them, with 52% citing risks to customer satisfaction and 48% citing potential losses in productivity
Talkdesk, a global cloud contact centre leader for customer-obsessed companies, today released its newest Talkdesk Research™ report, The Future of AI 2022: Progressing AI Maturity in the Contact Centre. The findings indicate that despite consensus (85%) around the value of artificial intelligence (AI), companies are hedging their approach by continuing to invest, but curbing deeper deployments in the near-term due to challenges around organizational alignment, security, and gaps in talent.
“As contact centres continue to evolve from cost to growth centres, falling short on AI maturity can negatively impact not only the most important contact centre KPIs, such as customer satisfaction and productivity, but also broader business goals tied to revenue and lifetime customer value”
As customer service expectations grow across every type of industry – from retail and consumer goods, to financial services and insurance, even healthcare – fast-moving organizations are gaining a competitive edge by using AI and automation to deliver better service and boost productivity. To reap the benefits and avoid being left behind, 79% of customer experience (CX) professionals say their company plans to increase investments in the year ahead. Fifty-two percent acknowledge that without AI and automation, customer satisfaction will decrease; 48% expect a decline in contact centre team productivity. Yet, the use of AI and automation in contact centres has scaled back; for example, their use in self-service declined from 69% in 2021 to 60% today.
Implementing new technology always represents an uncharted territory for companies and AI is no different. The former rush to embrace AI initiatives appears to have met with the reality of the challenges companies are facing, primarily around these key areas:
Misalignment on AI business goals
CX professionals report less confidence in their own understanding of AI. The percentage of those saying they feel moderately to extremely familiar with AI in the contact centre dipped from 93% a year ago to 87%. Similarly, the number of respondents characterizing their organization’s application of AI technology as more advanced fell to 35%. Resistance to change within their organizations and lack of strategic vision were commonly cited hurdles.
Security risks and IT challenges
Eighty percent believe AI will improve identity and authentication security within the next two years. Nearly as many (75%) agree further that AI technology will allow customer data to be more secure than with a live agent. The belief that AI will improve security seems to contradict findings that security is a key barrier to AI deployment; however, half of the respondents attribute security concerns to the limitations of legacy contact centre infrastructure.
Lack of in-house AI expertise
Another common obstacle to advanced AI implementation is the lack of AI professionals who can build, train, and maintain AI solutions. New technology, such as human-in-the-loop tools, can help democratize the use of AI in the contact centre, making it easy for agents to train and maintain AI models without the need for specialized programming skills. According to the survey, 15% of companies are already taking advantage of these emerging tools.
Ben Rigby, Talkdesk senior vice president and global head of product and engineering, AI, automation, and workforce, said,
“As contact centres continue to evolve from cost to growth centres, falling short on AI maturity can negatively impact not only the most important contact centre KPIs, such as customer satisfaction and productivity, but also broader business goals tied to revenue and lifetime customer value,”
“Working closely with a CX technology partner that has deep AI expertise can allow organizations to break through the barriers to deployment and achieve their AI ambitions.”
Download the report, The Future of AI 2022: Progressing AI Maturity in the Contact Centre, to view all the findings and get guidance on clearing common hurdles to implementation.
Talkdesk® is a global cloud contact centre leader for customer-obsessed companies. Our automation-first customer experience solutions optimize our customers’ most critical customer service processes. Our speed of innovation, vertical expertise, and global footprint reflect our commitment to ensuring that businesses can deliver better experiences across any industry and through any channel, resulting in higher customer satisfaction and accelerated business outcomes.
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The Talkdesk Research quantitative online survey was conducted in April 2022 across five global markets including the U.S., Canada, France, Germany, and the U.K. Surveys were complemented by 500 qualitative interviews with CX professionals employed by organizations with more than 100 full-time employees, spanning all major industries including healthcare, financial services and insurance, retail, and ecommerce. CX professionals include leadership and management for customer service, customer experience, CX operations, IT, and contact centre agents.