‘Artificial Impact’: Only 12% of CRM Users Actually Use an AI-Based Tool

Research Finds That Three out of Four CRM Users Want More out of AI and Are Willing to Switch to Get It

Freshworks Inc., the customer engagement software company, announced research that reveals broad dissatisfaction with the latest artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML) available in today’s CRM solutions. The commissioned research, conducted by Dynata, found that only 12% of CRM users actually use a specific AI-based tool, and only 11% say AI in their CRM allows them to focus on high-value customers. Still, three-fourths (75%) of CRM users are looking for more out of AI and are open to switching to a different CRM platform to take advantage of AI capabilities.

“AI offers an opportunity to transform customer support, engagement and, ultimately, success. But, as confirmed by the recent Freshworks study, despite aggressive hype by many CRM providers, we’re not seeing the widespread user awareness, adoption or satisfaction we’d expect,” said veteran tech/equities analyst Fred McClimans of Futurum Research. “Three-quarters of CRM users surveyed are willing to switch solutions to get more value from AI, yet a third can’t even quantify how AI is adding value to their current solution. There’s definitely a hype-reality gap out there and an opportunity for providers that leverage AI beyond simple task automation and suggestions to offer a more holistic approach to transforming customer engagement and experiences for both brands and consumers.”

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These latest findings reinforce the dissatisfaction uncovered in a 2018 Forrester study commissioned by Freshworks, which showed that 69% of CRM users were unhappy with their CRM solution and 56% were looking to change their solution in the following two years.   Freshworks’ 2019 “AI Hype Report,” a survey of 500+ CRM users, clearly denotes that existing CRM platforms continue to underdeliver AI solutions. Key findings include:

CRM users haven’t experienced AI’s real value.

  • Half (49%) of CRM users can’t concretely identify specific ways AI enhances their company’s CRM.
  • Only one in 10 CRM users (11%) says that AI allows them to focus on their high-value customers.

AI isn’t making a dent for businesses — the majority of CRM users don’t know if they are using AI or what it does.

  • More than half of CRM users (56%) never use or don’t know how often they use AI at work.
  • Nearly three in four CRM users (73%) say that AI has yet to deliver on its transformative promise for business operations.

CRM users think AI is expensive and not worth the investment.

  • Only one in three CRM users (36%) can say AI is a strong value for the money. Nearly all CRM users (97%) think AI is expensive and 89% think AI isn’t “extremely useful.”

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CRM users still don’t trust AI yet.

  • 31% of CRM users don’t trust AI to help, and 37% trust it only a little.
  • Only 9% of CRM users say they trust AI completely to help them manage customer relationships and bring value to their business.
  • 56% of CRM users say they trust their experience when it comes to managing customer relationships more than they trust AI.

Nearly half of CRM users don’t understand how AI works within their CRM solution but are open to switching CRM solutions for AI that deliver.

  • 45% of CRM users say they have no clue how AI currently plays a role in their CRM software.
  • Three out of four CRM users (75%) are open to switching to a different CRM platform in order to access AI capabilities

“Research reveals hype around AI is falling on deaf ears because it fails to provide real value — more like artificial impact than intelligence,” said Freshworks CMO David Thompson. “Legacy SaaS solutions aren’t delivering what customers need and it’s clear the market is looking for a fresh SaaS alternative to add real value. For AI to truly transform a business, it needs to move beyond simplistic ratings that don’t deliver to meaningful recommendations that court, close and keep customers for life.”

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