Survey reveals what executives think about AI's role in CX strategy formulation

A global survey from MIT Technology Review reveals what executives think about deploying Artificial Intelligence (AI) to increase customer experience (CX) satisfaction.

The research "Getting to Iconic" surveyed more than 550 senior executives in companies across 30 countries and territories, including Alibaba, BT Global Services, Lexus, Nubank, Uber, and Zurich Insurance. The survey, defining companies that maintain both the highest levels of customer experience satisfaction and have world-leading brand recognition as "iconic companies", reveals that nearly 90% of respondents from those companies felt that they were adept at managing customer experience from an omni-channel perspective.

This figure drops to 75% for all responses, and 66% amongst the poor performance cohort.

Iconic companies are also more than twice as likely as average companies to require that their ecosystem partners adhere to their CX standards, and nearly three times more likely to have their customer experience systems integrated with partners.

Furthermore, the report concludes that iconic companies are using AI for more than just chatbots.

Most respondents indicate AI is guiding their customer analytic capabilities. The report noted that optimising tools, applications and operational processes to engage with customers across every stage of their shared journey has always been a core growth strategy for successful global firms. This has only accelerated with the advance of technologies such as big data analytics, which turns customer information into predictive assets, and virtual assistants, which help firms more efficiently manage customer inquiries.

Another point to add is that iconic companies are more likely to recognise that automated AI tools are most effective when they supplement and extend the capabilities of their customer support team, rather than replace human investment. As so, 60% of survey respondents felt they had the right mix of "live" and automated customer communication channels, compared to only 26% of the poor performers and 40% overall.

That said, a third of iconic companies indicate that they do not actively share their customer insights across their ecosystem, much higher than the average. Iconic companies recognise the competitive advantages of unique customer insight.

Overall, iconic companies are much more advanced in their deployment of leading customer experience technologies, including the use of emerging AI applications. They are also much more able to follow customers across all channels, and manage customer experience levels across their extended ecosystem.

"Iconic firms, realising the limitations of a technology-centric approach to maintaining desired customer management levels, place a high value on human capital investment, and are keen to strike the right balance between human and automated customer channels," concluded Elizabeth Bramson-Boudreau, CEO and Publisher at MIT Technology Review.