Brits are open to the use of AI to improve customer service

Tyrone Stewart

Call centre woman60 per cent of British consumers would be open to using more AI if the technology helped them save more than time and money.

According to a survey of 6,000 consumers across six countries, from consumer engagement software developer Pegasystems, Brits are comfortable with the idea of companies using personal data to provide better customer service. They are most comfortable with AI being used to personalise online retail offers, followed by aiding a doctor to make better diagnoses and offering financial services advice. Meanwhile, the government’s use of AI to improve citizens’ services ranked bottom, below even a car salesman.

29 per cent of Brits agree that AI has the potential to improve customer service, compared to the 23 per cent that disagree. The British appreciation of AI’s potential, however, falls far behind other nations. 44 per cent of French respondents agreed with AI’s potential, while 42 per cent felt the same in the Netherlands.

“Although consumers have expressed some scepticism about the hype about AI, we believe British consumers and citizens can be won over when they understand how AI is humanising rather than mechanising how businesses interact with them,” said Rob Walker, VP of decisioning and analytics at Pegasystems. “AI has a future in customer service. In fact, it is already being used to streamline processes and personalise services daily for a number of leading global organisations.”

The research also found that only 16 per cent of Brits would allow businesses in-depth personal data about themselves to ensure they receive better customer service. Meanwhile, 77 per cent said they would want to know they’re talking with a human when using a live online chat – only eight per cent said an online chat with a bot would be fine. Furthermore, 33 per cent were anxious that AI-based customer service would never know them, and their preferences, as well as a human being would.

 “This research tells us that although consumers are ready to embrace AI if they can see tangible outcomes and benefits, many of their existing perceptions and experiences of customer service AI are fragmented, which can result in disconnected experiences,” said Walker “Organisations must put the onus on technology that unifies how AI is run, for example an always-on central ‘brain’ that functions across different lines of business, channels, systems, and data. This ensures customers get consistent treatment, and the best treatment from AI-powered functions, no matter how they interact with your organisation.”