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3 AI Predictions for 2024 and Why They Matter to CX Practitioners
Predicting the future may seem like a fool’s errand to some, but modeling the year ahead is part of planning that every global company has to do. It’s not about being Nostradamus; it’s about being prepared.
As the head of marketing at a generative AI company for contact centers, forecasting the tech landscape helps my teams and me anticipate what’s ahead for customer experience (CX) and pivot as things almost inevitably change. And as someone who once worked in a contact center, the year ahead for CX excites me.
In 2023, we obviously saw generative AI take center stage as much or more so than any tech topic since perhaps the internet’s beginning. While AI will continue to drive investment, product development and tech narratives in 2024, I want to dig into the nuances of what I believe will come to bear.
My team’s been analyzing trends in recent weeks. With that in mind, here are three big predictions around AI and CX for you to chew on.
#1. Generative AI tools will have to solve problems — or fade away.
“Generative AI” was the buzz phrase of the past 12 months, but this game-changing technology still needs to truly make the leap from early adopters to the mainstream in 2024. Part of this will be making it useful in everyday workflows and bringing AI to where people are.
In 2024, the race will focus on getting AI into the platforms people use rather than creating individual tools that people are expected to tinker with. And a cold shower is coming for generative AI tools that aren’t adequately meeting user demand or healing a user's pain.
Interest rates are up around the world, and economic challenges persist. So, generative AI startups face the imperative to demonstrate tangible returns on investment — in other words, interesting ideas are no longer enough.
This should make it easier for brands to cut through the noise and find the best CX tools and implement them. In the contact center realm, this means laying strong foundations for AI integration. To successfully implement AI into CX stacks in 2024, enterprises will have to establish building blocks, such as high-quality transcription, and get their data house in order before they can take full advantage of the benefits of AI.
#2. Customer sentiment data will become more powerful.
We are in a watershed moment for CX. According to Gartner, conversational AI implementation will reduce contact centers’ agent labor costs by $80 billion by 2026.
In 2024, the significance of AI in contact centers is poised to increase substantially. Generative-AI-driven chatbots will take charge of initial customer inquiries, while advanced algorithms will forecast customer needs, leading to streamlined operations and personalized customer interactions. The synergy of automation with AI is anticipated to tackle intricate tasks, diminishing response times and amplifying overall efficiency.
More granularly, with sentimental data training generative AI on customer conversations, it can identify specific pain points, understand satisfaction drivers, and strategically enhance the overall CX. Such data breaks down human emotions and pinpoints areas of improvement that customers feel, providing real-time instruction to agents for elevating CX to unprecedented levels.
For instance, the application of sentiment analysis within the travel sector can reveal customers' emotions associated with hotel stays, flights, and destinations, offering valuable insights for enhancements. Similarly, brands in the apparel industry can gain insights into customer reactions to their products.
By deciphering feedback across different channels, these businesses can zone in on trends and individual customer preferences, facilitating focused product enhancements and personalized marketing strategies. And it’s worth mentioning that people rarely fill out surveys unless they're unusually happy or unhappy, while sentiment gives brands another data point to make decisions and understand each customer.
What’s more, the insights acquired through the implementation of generative AI use cases in contact centers will contribute to addressing challenges in various business domains. Across departments, CX teams will be winning due to these insights.
#3. AI-powered virtual assistants will be integrated further into our lives.
Beyond CX, AI will impact how we communicate daily. Everyone, whether you're at home or working hard, will have a computer buddy (like Siri or Alexa) to help with your messages. At first, this digital sidekick will sort through, highlight, and sum up your messages. As it learns how you talk and what you like, you might start trusting it to answer emails for you, following some rules you set.
Imagine this: there comes a time when you really want to get someone's attention. That's when you can let them know your message is a special, human-made one – not from the computer buddy, but straight from you.
The upshot for CX: the more consumers interact with AI assistants, the more intuitive it will be for them to “talk” to brands’ chatbots. This should only improve sales conversations and customer satisfaction during instances when generative AI is involved.
In the call center space, the difference in performance between top-performing and low-performing call center agents is substantial, with a gap of approximately 3X. This contrast will catch customers’ attention when service is subpar, and a single experience can have a significant impact on the lifetime value of their relationship with the company. Generative-AI-powered tools can assist agents, dramatically reducing the time it takes for them to become proficient and decreasing their time helping customers.
All told, generative AI will drive many advancements in the CX world, helping brands exceed their customers’ expectations and changing how business gets done. It’s bound to be an invigorating year for everyone in this increasingly important space.