AI applications increased significantly with Covid-19

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Artificial intelligence (AI) has now become the standard when it comes to customer interactions. According to a study by the Capgemini Reseach Institute, more than half of the customers surveyed have AI-based interactions with organizations every day – a significant increase compared to the 21 percent in 2018.
Covid-19 has accelerated customer adoption of contactless AI-based systems such as voice assistants and face recognition. More than three quarters of the customers surveyed (77 percent) assume that they will increasingly use contactless interfaces during the corona pandemic to avoid direct interactions with people or touchscreens. According to the study, 62 percent will also do this after Covid-19, in Germany (73 percent) and Brazil (71 percent) even more.

The fact that contactless interfaces are becoming an integral part of the customer experience in a health and safety-conscious world is also recognized by organizations: 75 percent believe that the increasing interest of customers in contactless offers will continue in the world after a pandemic.

“The breakthrough of AI-based technologies has led to an increasing digitalization of relationships between companies and customers. We are currently experiencing a socially distant world in which health and safety aspects have become an additional argument for investing in the digitalization of customer interactions, ”says Hellmuth Leinfellner, Digital Customer Experience Expert at Capgemini in Austria.

Kelly Anderson, Director, Data Science and Artificial Intelligence at Procter & Gamble, confirms this: “I believe that the expectations of consumers are already so high that they almost assume that the interactions are AI. Chatbots, natural language processing and AI are making progress and evolving. ”

The study “The Art of Customer-Centric Artificial Intelligence: How organizations can unleash the full potential of AI in the customer experience” shows the factors that have contributed significantly to the acceptance of AI by customers. These include, for example, more intensive use in companies, the further development of AI technologies to human-like interaction and increasing customer trust.

Automotive and public sector leaders in AI

From an industry perspective, the automotive industry (64 percent) and the public sector (62 percent) are leaders in the use of AI applications. The widespread voice interfaces in the car partly explain the dominant position of the automotive industry. For example, the BMW Group, which has been using its own AI-based voice assistants in the car for many years, is planning to make them more natural for its 2021 series with gesture or look recognition functions.

Trust in the technology was still expandable in the 2018 study. Recent research shows that organizations have made great strides since then. More than two thirds (67 percent) of customers trust the personalized recommendations and suggestions provided by AI-based interactions. In addition, almost half of the customers (46 percent) consider AI-supported interactions to be trustworthy compared to 30 percent in 2018.

At the same time, the proportion of customers who state that they do not entrust machines with the security and protection of their personal data fell from 49 percent in 2018 to 36 percent. Customers continued to want more human-like interactions, and companies have made progress: Overall, 64 percent of respondents believe their AI interactions are more human-like (compared to 48 percent in 2018). China (74 percent), Australia (72 percent) and the United States (70 percent) are leaders in this area. Organizations have deliberately tried to incorporate human traits into AI applications: 72 percent of organizations agreed that they are actively trying to make their AI interactions more like real people.

“Contextual” AI use cases are the key to customer satisfaction

Although customers have had more and more contact with artificial intelligence since 2018, their level of satisfaction has decreased. Overall, 57 percent of customers are satisfied with the interactions compared to the more than two thirds (69 percent) of 2018. In addition, 51 percent of customers state that they will consider an AI experience to be “positive” if they do offers a unique experience that exceeds your expectations.

The study found that customers are more satisfied with “contextual” use cases and benefit more than with the other use cases. Examples include autonomous parking of cars, uncovering fraudulent banking transactions, and making payments that are authenticated by biometric scanners. Context-related use cases are defined as those that customers experience as more personal, empowering and easier.

The future of customer experience

The 2018 Capgemini study found that most organizations (93 percent) supported less than 30 percent of customer interactions through AI. Today, only one in ten companies is at this low level, with 80 percent saying that 30 to 50 percent of customer interactions are made possible by AI. According to the report, the vast majority (80 percent) will have enabled more than half of their interactions through AI in two to three years.

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