Transformational technology: AI accelerates customer understanding and satisfaction
Technology is supercharging the customer experience. The global pandemic meant customers had to rely on technology to interact with organizations virtually – particularly in healthcare, where providers needed to transform their operational models to effectively respond to changes in patient needs. In response, EY teams have helped health service providers in more than 80 countries worldwide to triage patients using automated FAQs, creating an informed citizen, and guiding them to the right support quickly, without overwhelming call centers.
AI, in particular, has supported enhanced digital engagement with customers. AI has been fueling customer obsession with sportswear brand Nike for some time – last year the brand launched Nike Fit, an AI-powered foot-scanning app function that measures customers’ feet to ensure they buy the right size and fit. This can contribute to an improved customer experience as customers get the right size first time, with fewer returns.1
Companies across the board know that investing in AI can create happier customers, with over 80% reporting that their tech investments drive customer loyalty. Among AI leaders, 93% also indicate that AI has a positive impact on brand recognition, compared to 63% of AI laggards.
Beatriz Sanz Saiz, EY Global Consulting Data and Analytics Leader, says that AI is at the heart of creating a superior customer experience. “Businesses need to build intelligence at scale,” she says. “With every customer interaction, companies learn more about the individual, and it builds collective intelligence. And this isn’t analysis for the sake of it, it really changes the operations. Modern companies change their processes and keep learning by the second. They need to build trusted intelligence at scale to be able to deploy the best customer experience possible.”
To start yielding customer satisfaction and loyalty gains, AI investment is a must.
Customer obsession breeds brand ambassadors
One company that understands customer obsession is Tesla: its laser focus on customers, throughout their buyer and user journey, has earned it a loyal (and often vocally so) customer base and a customer satisfaction rate of 90%.2
Companies like Tesla don’t accidentally create a cult following: they prioritize customer relationships through processes, technology and culture. Mediocre customer experiences create mediocre brand sentiment.
Being customer-obsessed can never just be a one-time investment: it requires a complete re-orchestration of how you operate, putting humans – employees, customers and communities – at the center.
This is new territory for most companies, so now is the time to re-evaluate technologies such as artificial intelligence and data analytics, processes including user personas and journey mapping, and applying human-centric design to customer-facing applications and processes but also to internal systems and tools. All of these can drive new and more meaningful ways of serving and interacting with customers. Which is exactly what customers are demanding.
About the research
The analysis in this report draws on an extensive program of quantitative and qualitative research.
A survey of 570 C-suite and senior business leaders was conducted across 12 countries (US, Canada, Brazil, UK, Germany, France, Italy, Spain, Australia, Japan, China and India) and nine sectors (consumer products and retail; energy; health and life sciences; tech, media and telco; industrial; financial services; education; transportation and logistics; and hospitality). The 570 companies were split into two categories: 500 corporates and 70 start-ups. The data in this report refers to the 500 corporates only, unless otherwise stated. In addition, a number of in-depth interviews were conducted with leading digital transformation leaders.