Reimagining the customer experience with AI: a Harvard Business Review study

Reimagining the customer experience with AI: a Harvard Business Review study

A good customer experience allows companies to retain their customers but also reach out to others through the positive feedback the former post on their sites. For 70% of consumers, the customer experience is as important as the product or service being sold according to a 2021 study. Harvard Business Review conducted a study for Genesys called “Beyond Net Promoter Score: Customer Experience Measurement Reimagined” to measure customer experience in a different way.

Since the start of the pandemic, the customer experience has changed significantly. A survey conducted by Genesys found that one-third of global consumers have interacted with chatbots, voice bots and self-service tools in the past year.

For companies, understanding and continuously improving the customer experience has become as important as developing better products, innovation, supply chain management or marketing.
Yet measuring that experience has not evolved. Companies use traditional metrics based on satisfaction surveys or the Net Promoter Score, which indicates the likelihood that a customer will recommend them to others.

Richard Charette, practice leader, research and strategy, for experience design at Wells Fargo & Co, explains:

“Because of the speed with which digital channels developed and transformedS during the pandemic, it was difficult to immediately put in place the tools and strategies needed to track the measurement of the customer experience.”

The benefits AI can bring to the customer experience

The digitization of workflows and interactions can provide a wealth of information about the customer journey, so the continuously generated data informs the customer experience.

Artificial intelligence tools such as predictive analytics, sentiment analysis, natural language processing (NLP), provide detailed information on employee-customer interactions, enabling targeted coaching opportunities for managers. Real-time perception analysis allows employees to correct their course. Predictive algorithms detect a customer’s intent and direct them to the right content or person and improve their experience.

Yet fewer than one in five of the 438 companies surveyed say their organization plans to deploy artificial intelligence (17%) or predictive analytics (15%) tools in the next 18 months to measure customer experience (if they are not already using them).

Some organizations, like TransUnion, have already made the investment. In particular, TransUnion uses NLP to analyze the millions of calls it receives from customers each year, to find out why they called and whether they were satisfied at the end of each interaction. It also uses the technology to analyze social media content. Jill Herriott, Customer Experience & Marketing Executive, at TransUnion, states:

“You need to understand what moments matter most to the customer, then identify the highs and lows of the customer experience IN those moments. This doesn’t mean measuring every little thing (if you do that, you’ll get overwhelmed and won’t know what to focus on).You need to focus on the moments that best fit your brand, then make sure you’re actually delivering what you promise in those areas. This requires a lot of orchestration across functions and disciplines.”

Understanding customer satisfaction

The study ranked companies by their level of understanding of customer satisfaction:

  • 28% of companies have a good understanding of customer satisfaction and are leaders in customer experience;
  • 43% are followers;
  • 29% are laggards;

Leaders monitor customer reviews much more closely than followers and laggards and show more empathy through customer relationship management software and other technologies, such as artificial intelligence. On the other hand, they encourage the right behaviors and focus on channel consistency.

The survey results

49% of companies rely on a CRM (Customer Relationship Management) strategy to manage their customer relationships, compared to 53% of the leaders. However, only 30% of them have the necessary tools and 21% have engagement measurement solutions.

Advanced technologies, such as AI, sentiment analysis, predictive analytics, NLP, authentication tools or usability testing are used by less than 20% of the companies in the study, but leaders use them more.

Almost half of the companies (49%) are considering investing in customer experience measurement. 47% of organizations want to improve their customer empathy, with the percentage rising to 61% among leaders. They also want to invest in customer service training, 45% overall and 56% of leaders.

When asked what the biggest challenges are with the customer experience measurement methods currently in use, 39% of companies said that they are difficult to use, 36% said it was difficult to measure key points in the customer journey and 31% were not convinced that customer experience is linked to business results.

Translated from Réimaginer l’expérience client grâce à l’IA : une étude de Harvard Business Review

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