85 percent of customer interactions will be with software robots in 5 years’ time: Study

Artificial Intelligence (AI) decision makers say that 85 percent of customer interactions will be with software robots in five years’ time. And most of these decision makers (84 percent) fear they are lagging behind their competitors in the use of AI to improve the customer experience, says a study.

The commissioned study conducted by Forrester Consulting on behalf of Amdocs in the Americas, Europe and Asia, says: “To catch up with the change, 83 percent plan to expand their AI workforce and increase their AI budgets by at least six percent in the next 12 months.”

But this expansion might still not be enough. Contrary to the common perception that tomorrow’s service provider will be run more by robots than humans, relatively few service providers (17 percent) see AI as an opportunity to replace a large number of staff across the business, and none see it as an opportunity to replace human customer service jobs specifically.

All decision makers (100 percent) actually see the lack of human skills to set up and run AI as the number one risk to delivering on their AI strategies, ahead of the risk associated with early technology prone to failure (33 percent). The majority (83 percent) are seeking external support, predominantly from their existing vendors as opposed to native AI solution providers (60 vs 40 percent).

“Consumers have a good sense of how bots can serve them, better-developed than perhaps the industry’s. Their level of frustration with today’s bots is striking; a third even say they will take their business elsewhere if the poor service continues,” says Gary Miles, General Manager at Amdocs.

“The good news is consumers actually believe that if anyone can get AI right, the communications and media industry can. And that’s ahead of banks and retailers. So AI could be a winning gambit for service providers as long as they sync up their AI investment priorities with what customers actually want.”

“The research shows, however, that service providers do not believe they will be able to achieve this on their own,” continues Miles. “Most are turning to their existing vendors and not to native AI solution providers, probably in order to ensure AI does not become another tech silo that is hard to scale and manage. Our new Smartbot solution with Microsoft is an example of how Amdocs has enhanced its portfolio with unique skills and solutions to help our customers grow confidence and capabilities in this area. It provides service providers with telecom-specific AI capabilities for offering highly personalized and emotionally-aware bot interactions, which is something consumers are clearly missing in today’s bots.”

Posted by Krishna Mukherjee