MIT TechnologyA new report from MIT Technology Review, called Getting to Iconic, reveals that iconic firms are more likely to recognize that automated AI tools are most effective when they supplement and extend the capabilities of their customer support team, rather than replace human investment.

According to the  global survey, sponsored by Genesys,  91%  of “iconic” companies — those that maintain both the highest levels of customer experience (CX) satisfaction and have world-leading brand recognition — deploy Artificial Intelligence (AI) solutions to increase customer satisfaction, compared to 42%  of companies in their fields overall.  More than half (60%) of survey respondents felt they had the right mix of “live” and automated customer communication channels, compared to only 26% of the poor performers and 40% overall.

Furthermore, the report concludes that iconic companies are using AI for more than just chatbots. Most respondents indicate AI is guiding their customer analytic capabilities. Optimizing tools, applications and operational processes are used to engage with customers across every stage of their shared journey, which has always been a core growth strategy for successful global firms. And this has only accelerated with the advance of technologies such as big data analytics, which turns customer information into predictive assets, and virtual assistants, which help firms more efficiently manage customer inquiries.

Iconic companies are also nearly three times as likely to consider leadership in technology adoption as a crucial component of maintaining customer experience excellence. In contrast, only half of firms with low levels of customer experience satisfaction and low brand recognition currently employ enabling technologies — and ten percent have no intention of doing so.

Getting to Iconic includes the wide global survey and case studies from CX leaders such as Alibaba, BT Global Services, Lexus, Nubank, Uber, and Zurich Insurance, and points out that:

  • Nearly 90%  of respondents from iconic companies felt they were adept at managing customer experience from an omnichannel perspective. This figure drops to 75% for all responses, and 66% amongst the poor performance cohort.
  • Iconic companies take a much more active role in managing their ecosystem. They are more than twice as likely as average companies to require that their ecosystem partners adhere to their CX standards, and nearly three times more likely to have their customer experience systems integrated with partners.
  • That said, a third of iconic companies indicate that they do not actively share their customer insights across their ecosystem, much higher than the average. Iconic companies recognize the competitive advantages of unique customer insight.
  • Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) is also a differentiator for iconic companies: 75% indicate it is one of the most important components of their brand value, compared to 21%  among low-performing companies.

"The leaders of iconic companies know that they also have to be leaders in customer experience technology investment," said Elizabeth Bramson-Boudreau, CEO and Publisher at MIT Technology Review. "But they also know that over-reliance on technology in search for efficiency gains can reduce, rather than increase, the levels of customer intimacy required for success."

Iconic firms, realizing the limitations of a technology-centric approach to maintaining desired customer management levels, place a high value on human capital investment, and are keen to strike the right balance between human and automated customer channels”, she concluded.

Overall, Getting to Iconic determines iconic companies are much more advanced in their deployment of leading customer experience technologies, including the use of emerging AI applications. They are also much more able to follow customers across all channels, and manage customer experience levels across their extended ecosystem.

The full Getting to Iconic report is available and you can download your copy here.