The findings of the Zendesk annual Customer Experience (CX) Trends Report signal a rapid transition towards intelligent CX and an undeniable transformation of the customer journey. Decision makers, agents, and customers are redefining how the experience will take shape in the future, thanks to the influence of AI, automation, and a new approach to data analytics.
Due to advances in AI, 70 percent of CX leaders are rethinking their strategies in a way that provides personalized customer interactions as well as improves quality of service – all while decreasing costs. Additionally, 83 percent say that these changes have led to positive ROI. AI hasn’t just cut costs; it has also allowed companies to build better relationships between their customer service agents and customers.
AI and Intelligent CX Shaping the Digital Experience
In its sixth year, the CX Trends Report focuses on the top trends that every CX leader should consider exploring, especially navigating the new era of generative AI. The defining CX trends found that the intersection of AI and the CX industry was most beneficial to improving chatbots, redefining customer experience, and upleveling data privacy in response to customer concerns.
The research, which surveyed 2,818 consumers and 4,441 customer service and experience leaders, agents, and technology buyers from 20 countries and organizations ranging from small business to enterprise, recognized the following three defining trends for CX:
- AI and intelligent experiences: Chatbots are evolving into advanced digital agents: generative AI and evolved chatbots are revolutionizing consumer interactions by facilitating personalized, instant and interactive experiences. Two-thirds of CX leaders believe that chatbots can build a stronger emotional connection with their customers.
- Next gen and immersive experiences: Live and immersive interactions will redefine experiences: as consumers expect more engaging and interactive experiences, CX leaders will need to transition to tools like conversational commerce, live streaming and voice. Nearly 72 percent of CX leaders are planning to partner with external vendors and experts to introduce conversational commerce to their brands.
- Data and trustworthy experiences: CX leaders are the new drivers of data privacy and taking more responsibility with it comes to cybersecurity with nearly 77 percent reporting that they believe data privacy is a central responsibility for CX leaders. The report found that when it comes to driving trust and loyalty as it relates to data-privacy, CX leaders, not IT leaders, are the new drivers of integrating security seamlessly into CX for protection and ease.
As more and more companies adopt AI to improve their CX, the role of bots in delivering personalized service is growing in significance. Ian Hunt, Director of Operations and Customer Services at Liberty London, expressed his initial reservations. However, a shift in perspective is evident as he explained, “What they’ve [Liberty] seen in months is that they [Liberty] can use AI to enhance the delivery of personal service.”
The Shift to AI-Driven Service Creating a Big Divide
While many of the trends included in the report were extensions of the ongoing digital shift within CX, the recent AI breakthroughs and modern view on the CX journey are intended to help CX leaders seamlessly and successfully adopt new technology.
In this next era, the shift to AI-driven service will create a big divide between companies who use AI to create the best CX and those that miss the mark on implementing, or worse, don’t embrace AI at all. Those with the ability to bridge this divide will completely transform CX, delivering personalization at scale and elevating service quality while reducing costs.
Over the next year, Zendesk will continue to dive deeper into these insights as CX leaders see first-hand how these technologies improve interactions between brands, agents and customers for a more intelligent experience.