72% EMEA organisations experience AI benefits in agent time, volume tasks, support

Companies across EMEA are deploying artificial intelligence technologies to revolutionise customer service as more and more consumers show high acceptance of artificial intelligence-driven experiences, reveals a new research report from ServiceNow.

The artificial intelligence revolution: creating a new customer service paradigm, explores how artificial intelligence is driving a new revolution in service delivery, drawing on research carried out with 770 IT professionals responsible for the customer service function in 10 EMEA countries.

It reveals that nearly 30% of EMEA organisations have introduced artificial intelligence technologies to customer service and 72% of those are already seeing benefits that include freeing up agent time, more efficient processing of high-volume tasks and providing always-on customer support.

According to survey respondents, providing service and support 24×7 is their number one customer service challenge. Customers are being offered multiple service channels, but they expect responses at any time of the day — and this is pushing organisations to breaking point:

  • 50% organisations are not available to respond to customer enquiries 24×7.
  • 40% organisations say they struggle to meet rising expectations of customer service.
  • 37% are challenged to answer repetitive questions in an efficient way.

Artificial intelligence will allow organisations to move beyond handling more queries more efficiently, to anticipating and acting on customer needs:

  • 59% organisations will extend the range of queries that virtual customer assistants VCAs and chatbots handle.
  • 47% say artificial intelligence will enable the customer service operation to become more efficient.
  • 37% say artificial intelligence can be used to provide a higher level of service.

A powerful development is the ability of artificial intelligence to help transform high-stress moments into positive experiences for customers that build loyalty.

For example, in the case of a flight cancellation, artificial intelligence can detect the customer starting a live chat and indicate it is likely to be due to the cancellation. It can then immediately escalate the interaction to a human agent to arrange an alternative and deliver a superior service.

While the adoption of artificial intelligence will increase, these technologies will only serve to augment the role of the human agent at the front line of delivering wow customer experiences:

  • 37% organisations say artificial intelligence can be used to provide a higher level of service, with similar levels of employment.
  • 29% of organisations using artificial intelligence-based technology are aware of the need for upskilling customer service managers.

“The majority of organisations are offering omnichannel experiences to customers, but many are struggling to keep up with increasing consumer demand for service across these channels,” said Paul Hardy, Chief Innovation Officer EMEA, ServiceNow.

“Early adopters are reaping the benefits of using artificial intelligence technologies to deal with common tasks and requests, freeing agents to shift away from a reactive role to really driving proactive, meaningful engagement.”

“We are only at the beginning of the artificial intelligence-driven customer service revolution,” said Debbie Elder, Principal Consultant, Devoteam.

“Artificial intelligence technologies will enable our customer service agents to focus on the customer interactions where the human touch is needed the most. This gives them greater job satisfaction, enabling them to focus on VIP customers and high priority enquiries, as well as focus on more strategic contributions within organisations,” said Clive Simpson, Head of Service Management, CDL.

ServiceNow and Devoteam commissioned research company Loudhouse to survey 1,082 senior IT professionals from 11 countries who are involved in the customer service function.


Key takeaways

  • 30% of EMEA organisations have introduced artificial intelligence technologies to customer service
  • 72% are already seeing benefits that include freeing up agent time, efficient processing of high-volume tasks, always-on customer support.
  • Providing service and support 24×7 is number one customer service challenge.
  • Customers are being offered multiple service channels, but they expect responses at any time of the day.
  • AI will allow organisations to move beyond handling queries efficiently, to anticipating customer needs.
  • A development is the ability of AI to help transform high-stress moments into positive experiences for customers building loyalty.