Customers Desire the Human Touch in AI

Paul AinsworthPaul AinsworthJuly 9, 20184min

New research from UK Customer Experience and Digital Experience Award winners Capgemini shows that artificial intelligence is no longer alien to customers, who desire AI to become more ‘human-like’.

Capgemini’s Digital Transformation Institute have released a report showing that close to three-quarters (73 percent) of surveyed customers interacted via AI, with 69 percent of those being satisfied with those interactions.

The report, The Secret to Winning Customers’ Hearts  with Artificial Intelligence: Add Human Intelligence reveals that 55 percent of consumers prefer interactions enabled by a mix of AI and humans, and 64 percent want AI to be more human-like.

These human-like qualities can generate significant goodwill and drive a greater propensity to spend for nearly half (48 percent) of consumers. However, many organisations are failing to take consumer pain points and preferences into account when applying AI technology to their Customer Experience, focusing more on traditional metrics such as the cost of implementation and expected return on investment.

The report, which surveyed 10,000 consumers and over 500 companies across 10 countries, found that 63 percent of AI-aware consumers like AI because of its 24/7 availability and how it provides greater control over their interactions. Consumers are also opening up to the possibility of digital alter egos – 48 percent say the opportunity to be able to delegate tasks to an electronic personal assistant is exciting, with another 46 percent believing it will enhance their quality of life.

Consumers want human-like, not human-looking AI

Consumers’ growing comfort in using AI is also increasing their reassurance in AI having human-like attributes. More than three-in-five consumers are comfortable with human-like intellect. Forty-nine percent say they would have a higher affiliation to a company if their interactions enabled by AI were more human-like. Surprisingly, this preference transcends the generations – across all age groups between 18 and 55-plus years, consumers prefer interactions to be enabled by a mixture of human and AI.

However, customers want their AI to be heard, and experienced, but not seen. While they are keen for AI to have a human-like voice (62 percent) and the ability to understand human emotions (57 percent), physical features are deemed ‘creepy’. Over half (52 percent) of customers are not comfortable when AI is set up to look like a person.

The report also finds that two-thirds of consumers (66 percent) would like to be made aware when companies are enabling interactions via AI.

Mark Taylor, Chief Experience Officer, Digital Customer Experience Practice, at Capgemini said:

It is somewhat ironic that natural language processing and machine learning provides organisations with the opportunity to build deeper, more human relationships with their customers. By focusing their AI implementations to reimagine, streamline and simplify customer interactions, organisations can boost customer spend and loyalty. To see the biggest bottom-line boost, firms need to make both artificial intelligence and customer experience a strategic priority.”


Paul Ainsworth

Paul Ainsworth

Experienced Irish journalist and former newspaper editor now helming executive editorial duties with Customer Experience Magazine, the UK's premier online source for Customer Experience news, features, and opinion, along with its sister site, CXM World.




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