Study Reveals Hidden Drivers of AI Adoption

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New research from The Harris Poll and Interactions offers new look into AI decision-making

Interactions, LLC, the world’s largest stand-alone artificial intelligence (AI) company, announced the release of “State of AI Decision-Making,” a report that unveils top drivers of AI adoption in the enterprise, with surprising results.

The leading narrative when it comes to investing in AI and automation is the potential to cut costs; however, this new research, conducted by The Harris Poll, reveals that immediate financial benefits in AI adoption are less important to business leaders than is perceived. While 87 percent of mid-to-high level executives surveyed believe their companies value the hard benefits of AI more than its soft benefits, the report shows that soft benefits like improved customer experience (CX) and customer loyalty are among the primary drivers of AI deployment.

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In fact, the report reveals that improved CX is now the most frequently cited primary driver of AI implementation decisions (53 percent), above cost reduction (cited by 48 percent) and the ability to drive top-line revenue (cited by 39 percent). In the contact center specifically, 61 percent of respondents report that they are “very likely” to implement AI technology if it dramatically improves CX but only marginally reduces costs.

“Our primary research reveals that, as exceptional CX continues to grow in importance as a top competitive differentiator, companies are investing in AI deployments not for immediate return but for long term transformation,” said Jim Freeze, Chief Marketing Officer at Interactions, LLC. “As business leaders continue to invest at the intersection of two exciting tech trends—adopting artificial intelligence and enhancing the customer experience—they signal a trend towards putting the customer first, prioritizing transformational customer experience over costs savings.”

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Key findings from this research include:

Soft benefits trump hard benefits in AI decision-making

  • Soft benefits such as potential for competitive advantage (66 percent) and ability to accelerate digital transformation (63 percent) are frequently cited as “very important” potential outcomes of AI technology.
  • A majority of mid-to-high level executives surveyed rated improved CX and increased customer loyalty as “very important” potential outcomes when evaluating an AI solution specifically for their company’s contact center (68 percent and 64 percent, respectively); in comparison, fewer attribute the same level of importance to the ability to reduce costs (60 percent) or drive top-line revenue (54 percent).
  • An overwhelming 71 percent of respondents report their company measures the ROI of an AI project using demonstrable soft benefits.

Soft benefits of AI are critical to long-term success

  • Virtually all respondents agree that improved CX means increased sales (97 percent) and increased customer loyalty (97 percent).
  • 93 percent of respondents believe that companies that fail to leverage AI to improve CX could be left behind, with 97 percent believing that AI plays a key role in CX transformation.
  • 95 percent of respondents agree that companies cannot maintain a competitive advantage without a strong focus on CX.

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