Setting the scene: AI Trends 2023
The conversation around AI has shifted dramatically in the last year. In fact, since Ultimate was founded in 2015, we’ve never seen quite as much interest and enthusiasm around automation. So why all the hype? Thanks to innovations like ChatGPT, AI automation has been catapulted into the spotlight –and the rise of gen AI has seen lots of new applications for support automation.
And since then, companies across nearly every industry you can think of have begun to integrate AI into their tech stacks and products. But you may still be wondering what this might look like in customer support. If so, we’ve got you covered with this comprehensive list of AI trends to watch – and apply – in 2023.
Top 5 AI trends of 2023:
Generative AI takes the world by storm
While ChatGPT may be something of a household name at this point, it’s the tech behind it that really packs a punch in terms of CX automation. In the realm of customer support, generative AI utilizes LLMs to instantly analyze your knowledge base and produce more natural conversations than ever before. Generative AI can even emulate your brand tone of voice and speak in regional dialects.
It can also help your agents by routing and populating tickets to give them a head start on handling queries when they are escalated. The best part is that we are only seeing the beginning of what the capabilities generative AI – and other forms of conversational AI – can offer when it comes to CX automation. So definitely be sure to watch this space.
2. Trust in AI grows
One of the consequences of generative AI is that both interest and trust in AI has seen a dramatic uptick in 2023. According to the Ultimate Trends 2023 survey, a whopping 92% of respondents say their trust in AI has increased over the past 12 months. This AI trend around trust has certainly created much more fertile ground for integrating automation into your support offering, and we certainly love to see it. Being that automation is an excellent way to scale your support, make your agents’ lives easier, and cut costs, there really is no better time to start – knowing that your customers are more open to it than ever before. This trend will likely only accelerate going forward, as technologies like generative AI continue to mature and become more mainstream.
3. Desire for asynchronous support increases
In fact, consumers are not only more open to automation, but our third AI trend of 2023 indicates that they are actually beginning to welcome it with open arms. Think about it, if you have a question about the return policy while buying a pair of shoes online, having the convenience of using social media or messaging is going to make your life that much easier. Being able to meet your customers at their channel of choice is going to boost customer retention and improve your overall CX.
According to a recent Zendesk survey, 69% of customers actually prefer to self-serve over speaking with a company representative. The bottom line is that many customers simply won’t wait around and are likely to waltz right into the arms of your competitors if they can offer faster customer service. When competition is at an all time high, these little differences like offering asynchronous messaging really pack a punch, and automation provides the solution.
4. Automation use cases expand
Between the increased technological capabilities of automation since the dawn of generative AI and the growing trust in automation, the sky's the limit on all the potential AI use cases to which it can be applied. In fact in the years to come, AI might actually take us to infinity and beyond. For now, in the customer support space things have certainly enhanced some of the more typical use cases such as speaking with a bot on an ecommerce website when you want to track your order or change your login info.
Automation has definitely also expanded its capabilities beyond these kinds of traditional use cases. According to our 2022 AI trends survey, adoption of AI automation has not only grown by 26% YTD in ecommerce, but also by 150% in SaaS and by 63% in finserv. Mobile banking apps, for example, are forecasted to become the dominant channel for IVA-driven customer communications in 2023, accounting for 79% of successful interactions next year.
5. Humanized automation takes center stage
Finally, when talking about the hype around AI trends in 2023, we would be remiss to ignore the elephant in the room when it comes to certain fears around the increasing role of automation in our lives. We’re talking about the widespread concern that AI will start to steal humans’ jobs. And the same anxieties certainly extend to the customer support industry. While new technological breakthroughs may be known to bring uncertainty, you can rest assured that things aren’t quite so simple as they are made out to be in this case. Rather than merely replacing humans, the best applications of AI are those that are actually human-centric.
What we mean here is that automation should be seen as a helping hand that helps customers receive help faster while also cutting out all those repetitive tasks that take away from your human agents’ capacity to focus on more complex queries. Not to mention that even with the help of generative AI things like human empathy and creativity still cannot be automated. Do you need these things in order to change your password? Probably not, but they remain essential when it comes to de-escalating a dissatisfied customer’s frustrations or figuring out how to resolve an unforeseen issue.
Conclusion: AI Trends 2023 outlook
And this concludes our roundup of the top AI trends in 2023. As innovations continue to shape and reshape what we thought possible in the world of AI, your customers’ openness to automation will likely continue to grow with it, too. In a world where inter-industry competition is at an all-time high and consumers expect top notch experiences alongside top notch products, embracing these AI trends might just be what sets your brand apart from the crowd. You will be able to scale your support, offer faster time to resolution (FTR), and cut costs all without skimping on the quality of your CX.