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Zendesk Head of AI on unlocking the power of AI

​Tech experts weigh in on the evolution of AI in customer experiences

Publicado 9 de julho de 2024

Zendesk recently hosted a panel discussion, uniting tech industry experts to shed light on effective AI strategies for businesses. The conversation navigated through emerging AI trends, current business obstacles, and explored the integration of AI in support operations. Zendesk Head of AI, Cristina Fonseca, moderated the discussion and was joined by Sudhir Rajagopal, Research Director and Global Lead for the Future of CX program, International Data Corporation (IDC), and Christopher Kuthan, Global Head of Enterprise Application Solutions, Amazon Web Services (AWS).

Zendesk 2024 CX Trends research shows 70% of CX leaders are rethinking their entire customer journey due to emerging tech like generative AI. This shift acknowledges AI’s significant influence on future experiences, affecting not just customers, but also agents and the broader business landscape.

This perspective also aligns with Zendesk’s outlook on AI, which predicts within three years:

  • 100% of interactions will involve AI in some form.

  • 80% of interactions will be resolved without a human agent.

  • Overall quality of interactions is going to go up, whether you measure that by NPS, CSAT, or any other metric.

Read on for highlights from the panel.

What factors are prompting global businesses to reevaluate future customer experiences (CX)?
“Global businesses are facing a pivotal moment as market dynamics prompt a reevaluation of future customer experiences (CX). Factors such as inflation, workforce changes, digitalization, and a focus on privacy are driving businesses to rethink and innovate their CX strategies.” – Sudhir Rajagopal, IDC

“All these developments and technologies that we are discussing enable humans to be better in the moment when it counts…An example would be a situation where a customer is dealing with a stressful situation that really requires the right and empathetic human interaction. I want the agent to know about the history of the issue, and then I want to see that he has the right information at their fingertips to actually help me to resolve it. These elements are examples of where AI can support humans to deliver the right, empathetic, experience in the moment.” – Christopher Kuthan, AWS

How do you view the role of AI in enhancing customer interactions?
“There are various priorities that have emerged, including enhancing customer retention and delivering exceptional experiential value. The rise of GenAI, and the attention this overall field has been receiving, has put a spark into people’s minds to build momentum now.– Christopher Kuthan, AWS

“We’re definitely seeing these trends amongst our own customer base. That’s why we’ve gone all in on AI, using it to power every aspect of our CX platform. We’re also making acquisitions for Workforce Engagement tools because employee satisfaction is essential to customer retention and CX and Employee Service operations are becoming more complex. Across the board we keep developing proprietary models and we’re capitalizing on GenAI so teams can operate more efficiently, accurately, and productively.– Cristina Fonseca, Zendesk

How are businesses preparing for intelligence-driven operations?
“Businesses are also laying the groundwork for intelligence-driven operations. This begins with robust data collection and is amplified by integrating intelligent analytics, essential for driving future customer and business value. The focus on AI and automation is a direct response to the need for operational efficiency. IDC predicts growth in AI-based workflow automation, privacy and compliance, and engagement analytics solutions.” – Sudhir Rajagopal, IDC

What challenges do organizations face in effectively harnessing AI’s value?
“Enterprises are often hampered by outdated infrastructure and a lack of focus on the customer, which makes it difficult to demonstrate the value of CX initiatives. Crucially, inconsistent CX metrics and insufficient executive support can cause organizations to prematurely scale back their CX efforts.

Moreover, for GenAI to be effectively scaled for CX initiatives, issues surrounding data quality and security must be tackled, with a strong emphasis on maintaining customer trust. It’s also essential to address business risks such as biases in customer data, AI-generated errors or ‘hallucinations,’ and employee reservations about new technologies.

Because delivering AI experiences comes with concerns about accuracy and privacy or the quality of your AI interactions, it’s so important to have tools to manage, control and secure your data with multiple layers of security, privacy and compliance.” – Cristina Fonseca, Zendesk

The path forward
Organizations are moving towards a future where a cohesive data system, encompassing the entire customer lifecycle, is crucial. This system ensures that data is not only accurate and up-to-date but also securely integrated to facilitate AI-powered automation. Realizing this vision demands the implementation of the comprehensive tech stack and strategies.

Discover how to harness AI for customer experience by watching the full interview ‘Unlocking the Power of AI for CX’.

This interview has been edited for length and clarity.