Leading firms see AI, analytics as power tools of CX

Image by Eva Elijas

Customer experience (CX) “champions” gain better returns from their CX tech investments than competitors by managing CX across the enterprise through cross-functional teams, clearly defined workflows, and extensive use of analytics and AI, according to a global research report from MIT Sloan Management Review Connections. 

Sponsored by SAS, the report is based on a survey of 2,670 respondents, of which just 15% qualify as CX Champions.

“With more than 40% of survey respondents planning to increase CX technology investments by as much as 25% over the next two years, and some 35% expecting to boost investments by up to 50% from current levels, it is imperative that companies have a roadmap on how to get the most payoff from these tools,” said Lisa Loftis, principal product marketer for SAS Customer Intelligence. 

CX Champions lead the pack in terms of sophisticated use of analytics and AI. More than 80% of CX Champions make significant use of analytics throughout the customer journey, from research to adoption to ongoing engagement. 

Champions are more than three times more likely to rely on AI than the ones the study called “Laggards,” where it’s less than 40%. They are also ahead of the game when it comes to adoption of CX tools. 

Some tools will be nearly ubiquitous for CX Champions within the next two years, as 86% will have adopted personalisation technology; 84% will have adopted real-time data collection; 81% will have adopted AI-powered chatbots; and 72% will have adopted connected omnichannel experiences.

The research also found that Champions are significantly more likely to employ “smart” approaches to improve CX, including smart assistants embedded in goods and services. They also expect to outpace the competition in their use of edge computing, using its ability to boost real-time analytics.

The lion’s share of CX Champions are IT/telecom companies and this sector is the most aggressive user of many CX technology tools. Despite aggressive plans for CX technology investments, financial services entities have yet to move ahead of industries at large. 

Retail and consumer goods companies, on the other hand, are significantly ahead of industries overall in use of smart assistants embedded in phones and tablets, and slightly ahead in use of live chat, personalisation technology, use of AI chatbots, and providing immersive experiences. But they are still behind other industries in developing interconnected omnichannel experiences — a must-have in the minds of most consumers.

Nearly 50% of businesses in the financial services, retail/consumer goods, and IT/telecom sectors plan to up their CX technology investments by more than 25% over the next two years. 

About 10% of businesses in these industries plan to increase their investments by more than 75%. Some even plan on doubling their CX technology investments.