Customer Support Academy

AI Automation Trends 2023

Thanks to ChatGPT, conversational AI is making waves in 2023. See what other AI & automation trends are bursting onto the customer support scene this year -- backed by our own in-house market research with hundreds of business leaders.

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By the end of this module you’ll know:

  • How the hype around conversational AI and proven ROI of CS automation are deepening trust in artificial intelligence
  • How automation use cases are maturing and wowing new industries in the process
  • How CS automation is powering more prestigious careers and boosting employee retention
  • How behind-the-scenes AI tools are improving efficiency and helping businesses save big
15 min. Clock

2023 AI automation trend stats at a glance

92% of business leaders say their trust in AI has increased over the past year
150% Adoption of AI automation has grown by 150% in the SaaS industry
48% of businesses are creating automation related roles in their CS departments
223% The number of our customers using ticket automation has risen by 223% in the past year

Trend 1: In AI we trust


We’ve been praising conversational AI for years, but it wasn’t until the arrival of ChatGPT in late 2022 that this branch of artificial intelligence – which allows bots to communicate with people in a natural, human-like way – was catapulted into the cultural mainstream once and for all.

But ChatGPT is not the only reason business leaders are getting (rightfully) excited right now: In recession times, many have seen the ROI of doing even more with even less firsthand, thanks to AI-powered support automation tools. 

"Automation, AI, and other technologies have opened up new possibilities for our company. We’ll have faster customer service with increased flexibility and the ability to operate 24/7 — improving both our customer service quality and productivity,” said one of the business leaders we surveyed in our 2023 trends research when asked how their perception of AI had changed over the past year. 

Thanks to groundbreaking advances in conversational AI like ChatGPT, 2023 marks the year people get excited – and stay excited – about artificial intelligence.

Reetu Kainulainen
CEO and Co-founder, Ultimate

How to turn AI trust into revenue


Use AI to collect customer insights

Gain insights into your customers' preferences (like the channels they prefer and their FAQs) by using AI to analyze your support conversations. This gives you a data-driven understanding of their pain points.


Train your customers to go digital

Customers want to self-serve, but they might not always know how. Let a virtual agent, or chatbot, guide them toward your website's help center, or integrate it with your backend systems to empower them to instantly solve their most frequent issues on their own.


Stay on top of the AI hype

Keep up with newest developments around conversational AI like ChatGPT so your support stack will be ready for it when the time is right. The key to understanding the tech behind the hype? Education. Get started with our suggested reads below!


When most people think of automation, they think chatbots, and when they think chatbots, they think online shopping. And not without reason: The ecommerce industry has taken exceptionally well to automation because many requests in this field are easily automated end to end.

But as AI automation continues to make the case for low costs and high ROI, the range of applicable use cases from all industries is rapidly growing.

In 2023, support automation's momentum has hit the mainstream, and industries like Fintech and SaaS are taking note – and seeing rapid results.

How to find the right tech for YOUR use case


Ask the right questions

Does your support automation provider do 24/7 support in several languages? Can they automate email ticket triage? Then you’ve found your go-to to reduce AHT and cost per ticket. Take the time to translate your unique business needs into automation KPIs, then grill potential providers on how they'll help you reach them.


Hear from your peers

CS automation is not a one-size-fits-all solution. The most trustworthy providers know this, and can provide you with use cases, case studies, and reference calls to existing customers in a similar industry, so you can educate yourself within your community.


Invest in ongoing support

Another thing CS automation is not? Set-and-forget. Look for a provider with a dedicated customer support team to help you build a bespoke solution for your needs. This could include building and optimizing dialogue flows together or building custom API integrations.

Support automation trendsetters to follow in 2023


Madison Hoffman

Director, Self-Service, Automation & Chatbot Zendesk


Hans van Dam

CEO, Conversation Design Institute


Sean Melis

Conversation Designer and Founder of bot•hello


Dominic Brasoveanu

Conversation Designer & Zendesk Expert

Trend 3: AI is powering more rewarding careers -- and preventing costly churn


AI is changing the nature of work: just look at the waves ChatGPT has made. But that doesn’t mean us humans are being replaced. In fact, it will make agents’ roles more interesting as they develop the technical and strategic skills to work with this technology. 

In 2023, 48% of business leaders replying to our trends survey are opening up new automation-related roles within their organizations — and this is a trend that will only accelerate.

AI tools work best when a human is in the loop to manage and quality-check them. That’s why many career paths around building dialogues with automation and managing support operations have recently emerged -- Conversation Designers and Automation Managers are increasingly in-demand.  

Take Iveta Liaudanskaite, who started out as a support agent at UK-based fintech TransferGo before upskilling to Conversation Designer after their collaboration with Ultimate:

“I didn’t have any formal experience in tech – I was just curious about automation and chatbots, and how we could free up my colleagues by eliminating those mundane, repetitive tasks.”

Iveta Liaudanskaite
Conversation Designer, TransferGo

How to turn CS jobs into CX automation careers


Upskill in-house

With automation taking care of mundane, repetitive tasks, you upskill your existing support staff toward more technical or strategic roles. Doing this means that you are bringing their knowledge of your product and customer base into your automation strategy. It's a great way to boost employee morale while reducing employee churn -- a win-win for everyone.


Get certified

Consult educational institutions like the Conversation Design Institute or University4Industry for courses and certifications that can turn support agents into Conversation Designers or Automation Managers within weeks. You'll save time on tech onboarding with tech-savvy staff already on hand.


Let other departments in on the conversation

Automation is doesn't just help your support team solve problems more effectively -- It can also help you make sales and generate profit. Let your sales department in on automation basics, so you can break down silos and wield automation tools for all touch points of the customer experience.

Trend 4: Process automation lets businesses work smart, not hard


As the recession starts to bite, the unsung hero of faster, better support is finally taking center stage. 

Background processes (like searching for customers’ details and routing inquiries to the right department) are essential to delivering joyful CX. But when agents have to update information in multiple tools or hunt down siloed data, it’s no wonder customers aren’t getting the instant support they expect.

Enter: process automation. 

It's everything your customer-facing chatbot needs to do its work even more quickly and accurately as possible and take the tedious tasks off your agents' hands.

Ways to work smarter, not harder


Intelligent routing

Triages incoming requests and instantly routes them to the right rep, driving down AHT and freeing up agents for more complex tasks


Ticket creation and auto-filling

Enables 24/7 support even for requests that need to eventually be handed over to an agent -- a godsend for CSAT


CRM & Backend integrations

Let your virtual agent guide your customers to self-service opportunities, from changing a PIN code to requesting a shipment tracking status


Be a 2023 trendsetter

Want to dive even deeper into 2023's hottest CS trends and statistics? Grab your Ultimate 2023 Trends Guide now.



These trends were forecast by collating data from three sources.

First, we conducted two Ultimate-led surveys — one with respondents who have already embraced automation, and one with business leaders from our wider community that includes influencers and industry experts. The findings were then triangulated with anonymized usage data from more than 100 of our customers and collated for our 2023 CS Trends Guide.

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