Skip to main content

13 ways AI will improve the customer experience in 2024

Use artificial intelligence to enhance the customer experience at every stage of the buyer’s journey.

By Emily Miels, Contributing Writer

Last updated May 20, 2024

Most business leaders today don’t need convincing about the power of artificial intelligence (AI). According to the Zendesk Customer Experience (CX) Trends Report 2024, 65% of CX leaders see AI as a strategic necessity that has made previous CX operations obsolete and dated.

Read that again.

But many businesses are still learning how to use advanced AI to improve the customer experience (CX). Luckily, we’ve got a few ideas on how you can harness AI for CX to provide faster and more personalised customer interactions.

What is an AI customer experience?

An AI customer experience is the practice of using AI technology such as machine learning, chatbots and digital agents – to deliver fast, efficient, personalised and proactive experiences at scale. Essentially, an AI CX harnesses intelligent technology to improve customer experiences, enable CX teams to work more productively, and help the business save costs.

13 ways AI can improve the customer experience

Here’s how an artificial intelligence customer experience can increase customer satisfaction and enable teams to operate more efficiently and, in turn, boost your bottom line.

1. Enable great customer service experience at scale

Harnessing AI for customer service effectively allows businesses to manage higher support volumes at scale while maintaining customer satisfaction and building customer loyalty.

For example, AI can equip agents with insights to personalise every customer interaction. Liberty London, the iconic UK department store, uses Zendesk AI to identify and label customer intent (what an issue is about), sentiment (if it’s positive or negative) and language so agents have greater insight into each customer’s needs.

Additionally, businesses can deploy bots across email, social media, live chat, messaging apps and more to scale their support across channels. Bots can also enable service teams to manage growing support volumes, especially during times when they might need to scale quickly, such as during the holiday season or a product launch.

2. Provide fast, 24/7 customer support

Customers expect fast, convenient, 24/7 support from humans or bots. According to our CX Trends Report, 51% of consumers say they prefer interacting with bots when they want immediate service.

Using conversational AI, digital agents can provide natural, human-like conversations at any time, such as over the weekends or late at night when your agents are off the clock. These chatbots help agents improve customer support by quickly responding to common questions, freeing up human agents to focus on more complex issues.

In addition to providing always-on support, AI can also help your agents deliver speedier replies. Intelligent tools like macro suggestions provide agents with pre-written responses to customers based on the conversation’s context. There’s also generative AI for agents that instantly expands content, creating a complete reply based on just a few words. These features can help your team achieve faster first response times, decreased handling times and shorter wait times.

3. Onboard CX teams faster

When it comes to getting new customer service agents up to speed, AI has some tricks up its sleeve. AI can act as a virtual assistant, giving new hires real-time tips and feedback while navigating customer service training. For example, AI can shift the tone of their replies to be more friendly or more formal. It can also surface similar support tickets so agents can see how other teammates replied to the same question.

4. Improve efficiency and productivity

AI tools enhance agent efficiency and productivity by simplifying workflows, with AI-powered chatbots handling requests and automated processes tackling repetitive tasks. These tools reduce agents’ workload, allowing them to focus on high-value tasks and complex customer issues.

Intelligent routing and triage features use AI to analyse incoming conversations to understand customer sentiment, language and intent. That increases routing accuracy while reducing ticket escalations. Skills-based routing further optimises customer service by directing tickets to agents based on their expertise availability, conversation priority and more.

Gianna Maderis, Principal Customer Experience Manager at Zendesk, understands how important AI can be in boosting efficiency for businesses of all sizes: “I think automated triage is something any business can benefit from. We’ve seen time savings of 220 hours per month by eliminating manual triage.”

A quote from Pete Holborow, the Global Head of Product Support at Unmind, explains some benefits of Zendesk AI for customer experience.

5. Deliver hyper-personalised interactions

AI can act like a personalised concierge for every customer, understanding their history and preferences and allowing agents to better understand their needs.

For example, the sustainable e-commerce brand Grove Collaborative uses AI-powered insights to enable agents to deliver personalised conversational service. Instead of replacing human interaction, AI acts as a support tool, providing agents with the context needed to deliver efficient and more tailored customer experience to every customer.

6. Anticipate customers’ needs and potential issues

AI can use data – like order history, behaviour and preferences – to anticipate customer needs and identify potential problems. This allows you to generate proactive solutions and improve customer retention.

For example, fashion retailer Motel Rocks implemented Zendesk AI to streamline their customer service operations with intelligent triage and sentiment analysis. Zendesk AI automatically classifies incoming messages based on the customer’s intent and emotional tone, allowing agents to grasp the situation and prioritise responses efficiently.

Additionally, the AI assigns a simple emoji to represent the overall feeling – negative to very positive – providing a quick visual cue to prepare the agent for the interaction.

Zendesk AI for CX

Zendesk AI harnesses billions of real customer service interactions to help your business deliver the best customer experience. Try it for free today.

7. Provide AI-powered quality assurance

Traditional quality assurance in CX often relies on human evaluation. But AI-powered quality assurance can objectively score agent performance, identify customer sentiment and pinpoint areas where real-time coaching is needed based on data gathered from customer interactions. This allows businesses to identify trends, proactively address issues and personalise training for agents to ensure they deliver exceptional customer experiences consistently.

A quote from Ian Hunt, Director of Customer Service for Liberty London, explains how Zendesk AI for customer experience helped the business.

8. Analyse customer data to predict and prevent

AI-powered tools enable customer support teams to track and analyse unstructured data – like customer sentiment – to see who’s at high churn risk and immediately give them attention. AI algorithms use predictive analytics with natural language processing (NLP) to look at thousands of different keywords from customer interactions. It can then provide quick recommendations and automatic alerts to help you monitor and analyse customer sentiments to predict case escalation or customer churn.

Using sentiment analysis can also help you analyse customer feedback to better understand how customers feel about their experience with your brand. This enables you to identify where there might be challenges so your reps can swing into action to prevent churn.

9. Present customers with special offers

AI can be a great tool for presenting customers with relevant, appealing and timely special offers. By analysing customer data like purchase history, browsing behaviour and demographics, AI can identify products or services they may be interested in.

For example, AI can recommend sale items that the customer previously viewed or similar products to their previous purchases. AI can also use real-time data to trigger promotions. For instance, an abandoned cart might trigger an AI-powered bot to send a discount code to the customer who left an item behind, enticing them to complete the purchase.

10. Improve workforce management

Our CX Trends Report found that almost 80% of CX leaders are eager to increase their budget for better agent management tools. Many are starting to use AI in workforce management. Workforce management tools can automate tasks, provide data-driven insights and enable decision-makers to plan their staffing needs proactively.

For example, Zendesk WFM uses predictive AI-powered forecasting to generate staffing forecasts based on historical data and customer behaviour, so you know how many agents you need and where you need them. Meanwhile, automatic agent scheduling saves you valuable time and real-time tracking provides visibility into agent activity and adherence timelines.

A quote from Lucy Hussey, Customer Service Manager at Motel Rocks, explains the benefits of using AI to identify customer intent.

11. Reduce operational costs

Integrating AI into your customer experience can significantly reduce operational costs by automating low-value tasks, deflecting inbound interactions through self-service and eliminating the need for additional tools, training or staff. AI excels in task automation, content recommendation and predictive analysis to anticipate customer needs. Investing in AI during economic shifts can help teams manage increased ticket volumes and deliver fast, personalised service without increasing spending.

12. Create more consistent brand experiences

With generative AI, businesses can create a chatbot persona that matches their brand identity. This helps to maintain a consistent tone and personality across all customer interactions. It also makes your brand stand out, enhancing your brand image and increasing customer satisfaction.

Additionally, agents can use AI to adjust their tone during customer conversations. For example, Zendesk offers Tone Shift, a tool that allows agents to instantly adapt the wording of a message to sound friendlier or more formal, depending on the situation.

13. Enhance knowledge management

Self-service is a key component for delivering exceptional digital customer service.

AI-powered knowledge management tools help you keep knowledge base content updated and relevant. For example, Zendesk offers Content Cues, an AI tool that streamlines help centre content management by identifying low-performing articles and prompting updates. As a result, teams can effectively address common questions and customer needs with self-service resources, deflecting potential service requests.

Generative AI can further streamline content creation by taking a few bullet points and instantly expanding them into a complete help centre article. Agents can also shift the tone to friendly or formal with just one click.

Catapult’s VP of Product Support, Thomas Powers, explains how Tone Shift from Zendesk AI for customer experience enabled consistent CX.

Examples of AI for customer experience

Now that we’ve covered how AI can enhance CX, let’s check out some real-life examples of AI improving customer experiences for businesses.

Unity, a 3D development platform, experienced rapid growth, resulting in a surge of incoming support tickets. By implementing Zendesk automations and bots, Unity resolved significantly more customer requests without human intervention.

The results: Unity successfully deflected almost 8,000 tickets and boosted its first response time by 83%. As a result, the company increased its customer satisfaction (CSAT) score to 93% and saved roughly $1.3 million.

Fintech startup Esusu embraced Zendesk AI to streamline its customer experience. The company harnessed the power of Zendesk Advanced AI – including automated macro suggestions, intelligence in the context panel and trend analysis – to offer tailored support, increase efficiency and gather valuable product feedback.

The generative AI-powered summarisation feature has also been a game-changer for new reps, making onboarding smoother and allowing new employees to dive right into helping customers.

The results: Esusu’s first reply time dropped 64%. The company also decreased resolution time by 34% across an average of 10,000 monthly tickets and achieved a one-touch response rate of 80%.

Compass, a prominent tech-powered property company, operates across 70 markets and supports over 26,000 agents. Rapid growth and complex real estate transactions left Compass with the challenge of scaling cost-effectively while delivering top-notch customer experiences.

To address this, Compass implemented Zendesk AI to intelligently route customer enquiries to specialised agents and consolidate CX operations, enhancing overall efficiency.

The results: Thanks to AI and other Zendesk features, Compass saw a 9% increase in resolution rate, achieved a 65% one-touch resolution rate and reached a 98% CSAT score.

Transform your CX with Zendesk

Welcome to the future of AI for customer experience. Incorporating AI into your customer experience software enables you to do more with less. From helping customer service teams deliver exceptional, personalised support to improving operational efficiency, Zendesk AI is shaping the future of intelligent CX. Harnessing the power of AI is the ‘intelligent’ choice – now and in the future.