Happy Friday! ‘This week in CX’ brings you the latest roundup of industry news.

This week, we’re looking at UK consumers turning their backs on automation for customer service, steps taken towards responsible AI, and research on the level of service offered to machine customers.

Key news

  • Despite the prevalence of Click + Collect in today’s shopping landscape, new research conducted by Clix Technologies reveals that 79% of Brits are calling for an evolution in the service. This statistic comes as a surprise, given that 69% of UK shoppers are already incorporating Click + Collect into their shopping journeys, citing convenience and cost savings as primary motivators. However, behind the seemingly positive adoption figures lies a concerning trend: 82% of respondents have opted for home delivery over Click + Collect in the past year. The reasons for this shift include issues with store proximity, queues, inconvenient opening hours, and outdated shared screen technologies.
  • 70% of respondents (a figure that’s doubled since 2019) believe that all companies need to improve their customer experience, according to the latest Broadridge’s ‘CX & Communications Consumer Insight Survey‘. That sentiment comes through in data as well, as on the business side, the recent ‘Digital Transformation & Next-Gen Technology Survey’ found that 40% of executives said being customer obsessed, with priorities deeply rooted in client needs was the top accelerator of digital transformation. That stat shines a light on the fact that internal efficiencies being the number one priority is a misconception, and firms’ are prioritising end-user experience. 45% of consumers have stopped doing business with a company because it did a poor job of customizing their experience.

Customer service standards slipping as UK consumers turn their back on AI chatbots

The quality of customer service is falling and UK adults are increasingly turning their back on automated systems and chatbots for resolving issues, according to new research released by Cavell.

Cavell’s 2024 Voice of the Consumer Report surveyed over 1,000 adults across the UK, with the findings revealing that close to half (44%) of consumers think the quality of customer service is worse now than three years ago.

Additionally, over a third (35%) of adults in the UK feel that chatbots and automated systems are bad at customer service. As a result, half of UK consumers feel that speaking to a human is still the fastest and best way to resolve a customer service issue and receive a positive outcome.

The research also revealed that:

  • Over three quarters (79%) of UK adults prefer to receive customer service from someone located in their own country
  • 45% of consumers have ignored an issue with a product or service because they would have had to interact with customer service
  • More than a third of UK adults would pay for a ‘premium’ customer service add-on featuring benefits such as prioritised response, personalised service and a dedicated point of contact

UK marketers throw their support behind the EU AI Act, with 72% saying it represents a “significant step” towards responsible AI

Nearly three quarters (72%) of UK marketers support the European Union’s new AI Act, saying it represents a significant step towards the responsible use of artificial intelligence. That’s according to new research from AI-powered customer engagement platform SAP Emarsys.

The new research surveyed over 250 UK marketers on their attitudes towards the new regulation — passed last month by the European Union.

According to the data, 79% of marketers believe the new act will help protect both their brands and their customers from the unethical use of AI. Many (71%) go further, saying it will also protect society as a whole from the unintended consequences of artificial intelligence.

While many perceived the new act as purely European legislation, SAP Emarsys’ data suggests that marketers are anticipating a much wider impact, with 75% agreeing that the new rules will have global influence on brands.

While there have been criticisms of the act for potentially stifling AI-powered innovation, marketers disagree. Four out of five (84%) say they are confident that the EU AI Act won’t hinder their ability to innovate.

In fact, 71% believe it will actually increase consumer trust in brands, while 69% think those associated with the act will enhance their brand’s reputation in the eyes of consumers. Long term, 71% also think the new regulations will improve customer loyalty towards brands that use AI for marketing.This said, 38% are worried that the potential punishments for non-compliance could be too harsh. And yet, 58% say that the act could go further in future in terms of its scope and remit for controlling the use of AI.

Are companies ready to serve the customers of the future?  

Customer design experience agency Shirute’s recent study “Digital Assistants Experience – Research on the level of service offered to machine customers in Finland” reveals that Finnish companies are not yet ready to utilise the financial potential offered by digital assistants fully.

The study investigated the ability of Finnish companies to serve machine customers. Its goal was to evaluate how customer service agents and salespeople encounter generative artificial intelligence that communicates in natural language in current transaction channels such as in chat and email.

The research results show that many large Finnish companies have not yet recognised the potential of digital assistants or cannot properly serve them, even though a customer ready to buy and make large deals at the other end of the transaction is present. Several challenges were observed in dealing with digital assistants.

The research also asked customer service staff and salespeople who served digital assistants how they experienced working with an artificial intelligence-based customer. The customer service representatives said they were surprised to meet the assistant, but the attitude was mostly positive. Many customer service agents commented that they did not always even notice the difference from a real person and that the conversation with the machine customer was smooth. These experiences have shown that digital assistants can work effectively with their contacts if they are identified and treated appropriately.

Based on the research results, it is urgent to develop strategies and measures that improve the service of machine customers. This includes, among other things, personnel training in understanding artificial intelligence, updating technology and current service processes to suit the service of digital assistants, and developing new services and channels aimed at machine customers.Companies must immediately take measures to improve the service experience of machine customers. This will increase customer satisfaction and offer interesting new business opportunities. Although integrating artificial intelligence into customer service is still in development, its future potential is enormous.

Thanks for tuning into CXM’s weekly roundup of industry news. Check back next Friday for the latest updates of the week!

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