Zendesk report shows shift to AI-driven CX services

There’s a rapid transition towards intelligent customer experience (CX) across Australian businesses, according to the annual Zendesk CX Trends Report. This shift is expected to create a divide between companies who use AI and those that miss the mark on implementing, or not embracing, AI at all.

Zendesk chief technology officer, Adrian McDermott said, “We’re on the verge of the most significant inflection point we’ve ever seen in CX with the latest advances in AI. Businesses will need to reconsider the structure of everything, from their tech stacks to their teams to how they deliver support. Companies that thrive will shift to a more intelligent CX strategy, using AI to manage volume, lower costs, increase quality and ultimately improve customer satisfaction.”

Zendesk country manager for Australia and New Zealand, Kellie Hackney added, “Australian businesses continue to face challenges driven by inflationary pressure. In this light the need to remain competitive puts customer retention into sharp focus and makes the customer experience a pivotal point of differentiation. With teams needing to work smarter to serve customers better, AI can play an important role in driving more intelligent and seamless customer journeys.”

The report reveals more than three-quarters (77 per cent) of Australian CX leaders have begun experimenting with or implementing generative AI into their customer journey, ahead of the global average of 65 per cent. 

The vast majority (85 per cent) of CX leaders in Australia using generative AI in CX report positive ROI, also ahead of the global average of 83 per cent, proving these changes set a new standard for successful CX.

There are some defining elements of intelligent CX including chatbots evolving into advanced digital agents, facilitating personalised, instant and interactive experiences. More than four in five (83 per cent) CX leaders in Australia believe chatbots can build a stronger emotional connection with customers with an ability to mirror brand styles and evaluate customer feelings and desires to deliver tailored and accurate responses.

Close to two-thirds (64 per cent) of Australian consumers believe chatbots should have the same level of expertise and quality as highly skilled human agents. More than one in three expect to soon interact with advanced bots for quick and immediate responses.

There’s also a transition to tools like conversational commerce, live streaming and voice, as consumers have come to expect more than just traditional support to enhance experiences. Over half of those surveyed in Australia believe the way they interact with a company will completely change within two years.

Consumers are embracing conversational commerce – buying products within chat interactions and turning to live-streamed sessions for immediate help with shopping. Eighty-four per cent of Australian CX leaders are partnering with external vendors and experts to implement conversational commerce.

Australian brands are also turning to social media and in-store influencers for sales and 81% of CX leaders believe failure to leverage tools like live streaming that provide real time support will lead to lost opportunities.

Amid escalating privacy concerns and rising demands for AI-enhanced personalised experiences, data privacy is becoming a central responsibility for CX leaders. In fact, 86% of Australian CX leaders see themselves as responsible for ensuring customer data is safe. Another 86 per cent say data protection and cybersecurity are top priorities in their customer service strategy.

Close to two-thirds of Australian consumers feel they’re constantly under the threat of being scammed. When they see a company being proactive about data security, they’re more likely to feel comfortable providing personal information, leading to stronger trust and loyalty.

This article was written by Emily Bencic for retailbiz.com.au.

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