Automation seen boosting CX rise amid pandemic

Image by Eva Elijas

Customer experience (CX) technology is setting a new baseline but still struggles as 38% of consumers saw improvements during the pandemic while 52% experienced CX failures due to limited technology, according to NTT.

For the 2021 Global Customer Experience Benchmarking Report, NTT interviewed 1,359 professionals across 34 global markets and 14 different sectors. This is supplemented with opinion from a consumer panel of 1,402 respondents.

In the context of a disrupted CX environment, responsibility for CX has been elevated to a significantly more senior level and confidence in CX has followed suit.

Three in every four 75% organisations now have ultimate accountability for CX held at the board level, up from 35% in 2020

The ratio of organisations with “well advanced” or “complete” CX strategies has more than doubled to 71%, up from 28% in 2020

As for organisations that report being “very satisfied” with their CX, the ratio has risen to 45% from 10% in 2020.

Also, organisations now expect that the majority of CX will be automated in twelve months’ time, with workloads handled by AI and robotics rising to 51% from 32%. Almost a quarter of interviewees reported that their use of AI or robotics is delivering beyond expectations.

Among consumers, 87% are happy to continue using digital channels at the increased levels triggered by the pandemic, while 38% said that the quality of automated CX systems had improved over the course of the pandemic.

In other areas, the research found warning signs about the amount of progress yet to be made to fully meet consumer expectations.

Majority (52%) of consumers report digital channels failing them due to limited capabilities or services, and just 35% say they are “very satisfied” with automated CX solutions.

Forecasts for next year show high ratios of organisations expecting to have implemented voice-activated AI assistants (52%) (52%), robotic process automation (48%) (48%), web-based AI assistants (45%) (44%), and other new technologies.

When asked about human-led support, 94% (93%) of CX decision-makers agreed that it remains critical, but less than half (49%) agreed that they have the technology in place to fully support remote CX employees. 

Meanwhile, 38% of consumers said that their biggest reason for avoiding digital channels is that they would rather speak to a human.

“This year, the key message of the [report] is to empower customers and employees through the use of data and AI-driven technology,” said Rob Allman, VP for customer experience at NTT.