Kore.ai’s Research reveals historic shift as contact centre agents and consumers increasingly prefer AI-driven solutions

Kore.ai has unveiled its annual 2024 Agent Experience (AX) and Customer Experience (CX) Benchmark Reports, featuring historic findings that indicate the increased global acceptance of automation and self-service solutions.

Kore.ai commissioned the research to shed light on the impact of intelligent virtual assistants (IVAs) and contact centre AI solutions on customer interactions and agent job satisfaction. The reports show that, for the first time, customer service agents are prioritising advanced AI technology and automated tools over competitive salaries and a fair work environment. Similarly, consumers are increasingly embracing AI, valuing its precision and reliability. A key factor in this shift is the IVAs’ ability to offer around-the-clock assistance and smoothly transition between tasks without requiring repetitive information, significantly enhancing consumer satisfaction and comfort levels.

Kore.ai and research partner Farrell Insights surveyed 1,200 customers and 600 agents across multiple regions including the Americas, UK, Germany, India, Japan, Philippines, and Australia, and in major industries like banking, retail, healthcare, travel, telecom, and others. The key findings are collated in the Kore.ai Agent Experience (AX) and Customer Experience (CX) Benchmark Reports 2024.

Key AX Findings Include:

An Industry First: Tech Trumps Pay- Agents ranked three automated assistant functionalities– tools that help them better understand customer needs, reduce time spent on searches and minimise typing during call wrap-ups– higher than competitive salary and fair working conditions in terms of importance.

Contact Centers are Lagging: 72% of agents express a strong desire for IVAs, but contact centres are lagging in implementation, with 62% of agents reporting a lack of AI use cases. Outdated systems also hinder productivity, with 91% of agents reporting technology-related frustrations.

AI Education Boosts Satisfaction: Agents trained in AI report 92% job satisfaction and engagement levels compared to their non-trained counterparts (73%).

Win-Win with IVAs: 71% of customer service agents view increased automated assistant usage for assessing and routing customer needs as mutually beneficial for both consumers and agents.

Key CX Findings Include:

Customers Prioritise Accuracy and Efficiency Over Live Agent Access- For the first time, effectiveness and accuracy ranked more important than the ability to access a live agent. Additionally, 68% of customers believe that AI assistants’ ability to seamlessly carry and continue conversations across channels is important when it comes to great customer service interactions.

Closing Gap between Automated and Live Agent Performance- In the US, there is only a 4% gap between the rating of IVA performance vs. expectations for live agents (72% vs 76%, respectively). In the APAC region, there is no difference in performance ratings.

The Rise of IVAs Across Industries- Comfort with IVAs is growing across most sectors (travel, banking, retail, cable/telco/ISP) while healthcare sees direct human contact as crucial. Retail emerges as a standout sector with universal approval for AI-assisted customer service, especially in areas like product search (75% respondents reported interest) and purchasing (74%), highlighting broad trust in AI for both advisory and transactional roles.

24/7 Access Appeals to All- The allure of around-the-clock access to customer service is significant among consumers, with 77% noting this is a draw for automation and IVAs. Even Boomers are on board, with 68% recognising the benefits of self-service’s constant access. Other key elements playing crucial roles in enhancing consumer acceptance include conversational voice and the assurance of secure communication for personal information, which enterprise-grade IVAs provide.

“Having monitored this sector for over a decade, this is the first time I’ve observed such a dramatic shift in agent preferences for automation over compensation,” said Michael Farrell, President and Chief Strategist at Farrell Insight. “As effectiveness, accuracy, security, ease of use, and trust increasingly become the top priorities for both agents and consumers, the method of achieving these results becomes secondary. Our research with Kore.ai indicates a watershed trend: people are leaning towards outcome-focused interactions in customer service, driven by their positive experiences with IVAs and contact centre AI solutions.”

To improve customer experience, increase agent satisfaction, and optimise contact centre performance, leveraging AI-powered solutions is essential for businesses to stay ahead of the curve.

“Our latest research shows increased engagement and satisfaction with AI solutions among agents and consumers,” said Raj Koneru, CEO of Kore.ai. “Adopting AI technologies in call centres not only enhances service quality for customers but also transforms agent roles by streamlining routine tasks and improving work conditions. We aim for this research to guide organisations looking to elevate their service interactions with AI-powered automation.”

Agent ExperienceAIContact Centerscustomer experienceKore.ai
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