New study details how enterprises can transform current challenges into opportunities with AI and automation
Conversation intelligence platforms are redefining the enterprise experience, according to Forrester Consulting. Combining multiple artificial intelligence (AI) capabilities—including conversational AI, knowledge AI, emotion AI and generative AI—together with intelligent automation, these platforms offer a holistic alternative to the patchwork of disparate point solutions that have, up until now, largely defined (and hindered) the enterprise CX tech stack. And customer service leaders are catching on fast.
In its recent survey of 317 customer service strategy decision-makers at organizations in North America and Europe, Forrester uncovered the biggest pitfalls impacting customer service today—and revealed how conversational intelligence is changing the game for the better. Below are highlights from 2023 Conversation Intelligence Study by Forrester Consulting, commissioned by Uniphore.
Forrester: Automation silos blockade customer experience (CX) wins.
With efforts to better support agents and customers while maintaining low costs, organizations have focused on adopting automation point solutions. In fact, 65 percent of Forrester’s survey respondents reported that their firm had automated most CX touchpoints, with 3 in 5 having automated most agent workflows.
However, in the race to automate as many processes as possible—without a holistic strategy to unify them—organizations have inadvertently created what Forrester calls, “islands of automation.” These islands have led to siloed workflows, where delivering a common context is extremely difficult, making the delivery of an omnichannel customer experience based on a well-informed holistic view of the customer impossible.
Unsurprisingly, this disconnected patchwork of siloed point solutions has impeded progress and fueled frustrations. In fact, many of the leaders surveyed by Forrester reported performance frustration, with three quarters of respondents admitting that their current tech solutions fail to deliver a consistent customer experience across channels.
Forrester: The impact of CX fails is felt throughout the organization.
In the wake of their disparate approach to customer service, leaders are realizing that the lack of integration and coordination of their solutions makes it challenging to gain an accurate and holistic picture of their customers. Just how pervasive is this problem? Of the respondents in the Forrester survey, 7 in 10 said their firms struggled to unify various investments in AI and automation point solutions.
Worse still, they’ve seen their challenges erode profitability by causing increased costs and revenue loss. The prioritization of automation (i.e., chatbots and self-service solutions) has, unfortunately, come at the expense of agent experience and—critically—assistance. While agents are a core element of improving CX, 60% of respondents noted their organizations struggle to implement real-time knowledge support for agents.
That lack of investment in agent tools has fueled agent inefficiency, decreased agent engagement and amplified agent attrition. Combined with automation siloes, agent-related challenges have contributed to declines in both CX and financial performance—across the organization. In fact, only 1 in 4 survey respondents said that they would be extremely satisfied with the CX received as a customer of their company.
Forrester: Conversation intelligence platforms enable great CX at scale.
Leaders who succeed in protecting their contact centers from indiscriminate cost cutting and prioritize delivering quality customer service will realize massive revenue gains, the Forrester study concludes. Central to this strategy is adopting a conversation intelligence platform.
Conversation intelligence platforms empower service teams to deliver customer-centric outcomes at scale through a more complete understanding of their customers (factoring in past engagements, tonal emotion, intent detection, etc.); improved customer service/contact center performance and efficiency (including leveraging capabilities such as knowledge AI, RPA, generative AI, emotion AI, etc.); and improved agent performance via coaching and augmentation of human capabilities.
While 83% of respondents acknowledged that a conversation intelligence platform would provide their agents with the right tools to meet customer engagements, only 17% currently have conversational analytics, conversational AI and intelligent automation—three foundational elements of a conversation intelligence platform. But that may soon change. If implementation plans succeed, 76% of the decision-makers surveyed said their organizations will have all three elements by next year.
And it’s easy to see why. Every surveyed leader expected a conversation intelligence platform to deliver valuable benefits, including improved business outcomes (specifically, higher CX scores, increased revenue and cost savings/lower total cost of ownership); the ability to leverage new capabilities (natural language processing models, rich insights, etc.) to drive performance; and elevated employee and customer experiences (as measured in CSAT, NPS and FCR scores). That’s significant for organizations investing in the success of their CX today—and tomorrow.