Unlocking the future: The AI trends support leaders are embracing to stay ahead of the curve

AI trends that are giving support leaders a competitive advantage

To understand the effects of AI on the customer service industry, we surveyed over 1,000 support leaders and practitioners. We asked them what they’re excited – and concerned – about, and how they’re adapting their strategies to set their teams up for success in 2023 and beyond.

Our full global report is coming soon – sign up to our newsletter to make sure you don’t miss it – but here are some early insights we’ve gotten from more than 400 support leaders in North America:

Just two months ago, we published our annual Customer Service Trends Report for 2023, and since then, we’ve gotten a lot of questions about how rapidly evolving AI technology will shape the customer service industry in the months and years ahead.

Here, we’ll share some of our initial research findings from support leaders about how they’re incorporating AI into their customer support strategies, pairing it with automation, and leveraging these technologies alongside empathetic, skilled customer support reps to drive impactful results.

Advanced AI – such as ChatGPT – has rapidly accelerated investment in AI technology for support

The possibilities of new AI technologies such as ChatGPT seem endless – and customer support leaders want to be on the cutting edge.

67% of customer support leaders plan to invest more in AI in the year ahead.

Our research shows that 67% of leaders are planning to invest more in AI in the year ahead. Forward-thinking support leaders know that adopting AI will give them a significant competitive advantage and help their support teams to have an outsized impact.

However, a key concern for 51% of support leaders is how to balance this investment in AI with investment in existing support resources.

“For those support teams that do invest in AI for customer service, there is a significant ROI to be made”

Setting up a great automation strategy takes time, so for support leaders who are in firefighting mode, stepping back and allocating resources away from the frontline and into an AI strategy can feel like a big mountain to climb. But for those support teams that do invest in AI for customer service, there is a significant ROI to be made.

In particular, support leaders in North America are excited about improvements to key areas such as:

  • Response times
  • Message consistency
  • Training costs

The takeaway? Support teams that leverage AI capabilities can expect to win back time, save money – and increase customer and employee happiness.

Customer expectations will be completely transformed – and AI will be the key to meeting them

These days, customer experience is the great differentiator. Speed, reliability, and trust are core components of customers’ expectations of support, and they’ll only be amplified with the onset of AI-powered support experiences.

Think fast, helpful answers from AI-powered bots that resolve your query with no long wait time. Sounds pretty ideal, doesn’t it?

We’ve found that support leaders believe customers are ready to interact with AI technology. In fact, according to our survey, 71% of support leaders believe that customers will expect AI-assisted customer service in the next five years.

71% of customer support leaders think that AI offers companies a competitive advantage.

Not only that, but a further 71% of customer support leaders think that AI offers companies a competitive advantage – and our research suggests that they could be right: support leaders who already use AI and automation are reporting significant results.

An impressive 58% of support leaders have seen improvements in their customer experience over the past year thanks to AI and automation. In addition, 56% of support leaders already using AI and automation have seen an increase in customer satisfaction in the past year.

It makes sense; if your business is suddenly able to provide better, faster support experiences than all of your competitors, you’re more likely to make a lasting impression on current and prospective customers.

3 ways that AI and automation can help you to improve your CX:

  • Leading AI-powered bots use your help center content to offer customers fast answers and resolutions, ensuring a seamless support experience for your customers and freeing up your support team to focus on more complex issues.
  • Smart automation enables you to route conversations to the right teammates, meet SLAs, and provide white-glove experiences for premium or VIP customers.
  • Modern customer service platforms offer AI-assisted features that allow you to automatically summarize conversations, adjust the tone of your messages, rephrase replies, and more – ensuring message consistency across your support team and fast, accurate replies to your customers.

It’s clear that AI and automation can help teams to meet – and exceed – customer expectations. And as their expectations of support continue to evolve with new and emerging technologies, the support teams that embrace these advancements will be better positioned to win, retain, and delight their customers.

“This is a watershed moment for AI and customer service – it’s no longer on the horizon, it has already arrived”

Stay ahead of the curve with AI-powered customer service

From our early research findings, it’s evident that while the change brought about by ChatGPT and AI technology has resulted in natural concerns and trepidation in the customer service space, the majority of support leaders are already exploring how they can leverage it to build new, powerful support experiences that will continue to delight customers – and will also create new and exciting opportunities for their teams.

This is a watershed moment for AI and customer service – it’s no longer on the horizon, it has already arrived.

Want to learn more, including actionable tips for how to put these insights into action? Make sure to sign up to our newsletter so you don’t miss the full global report