Artificial Intelligence is Fueling the Customer Experience Strategies of the World’s Top Brands Today

A global survey of more than 550 senior executives across 30 countries and territories reports that 91 percent of “iconic” companies — those that maintain both the highest levels of customer experience (CX) satisfaction and have world-leading brand recognition — deploy Artificial Intelligence (AI) solutions to increase customer satisfaction, compared to 42 percent of companies in their fields overall.

Top brands in the world

The new report from MIT Technology Review is sponsored by Genesys and called Getting to Iconic. It reveals iconic firms are more likely to recognize 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 percent of survey respondents felt they had the right mix of “live” and automated customer communication channels, compared to only 26 percent of the poor performers and 40 percent overall.

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 optimizing 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.

Iconic companies are also nearly three times as likely to consider leadership in technology adoption as a crucial component of maintaining customer experience excellence. In contrast, only half of firms with low levels of customer experience satisfaction and low brand recognition currently employ enabling technologies — and ten percent have no intention of doing so.

“This research confirms what we anticipated – AI will be crucial in taking customer satisfaction to new levels,” said Merijn te Booij, chief marketing officer at Genesys. “We’re excited that Kate, our new customer experience AI, will enable a smooth and contextual handoff between bots and humans. The combined power of automation with the finesse of the human touch across the enterprise delivers the kind of blended AI solution every customer experience leader needs today.”

Getting to Iconic includes the wide global survey and case studies from CX leaders such as Alibaba, BT Global Services, Lexus, Nubank, Uber, and Zurich Insurance. Other findings of Getting to Iconicindicate:
  • Nearly 90 percent of respondents from iconic companies felt they were adept at managing customer experience from an omnichannel perspective. This figure drops to 75 percent for all responses, and 66 percent amongst the poor performance cohort.
  • Iconic companies take a much more active role in managing their ecosystem. They are 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.
  • 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 recognize the competitive advantages of unique customer insight.
  • Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) is also a differentiator for iconic companies: 75 percent indicate it is one of the most important components of their brand value, compared to 21 percent among low-performing companies.

"The leaders of iconic companies know that they also have to be leaders in customer experience technology investment," said Elizabeth Bramson-Boudreau, CEO and Publisher at MIT Technology Review. "But they also know that over-reliance on technology in search for efficiency gains can reduce, rather than increase, the levels of customer intimacy required for success."

Ms. Bramson-Boudreau added: "Iconic firms, realizing 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."

Overall, Getting to Iconic determines 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.

The full Getting to Iconic report is available now. Download your copy here.