How tech companies are using AI to control costs in ‘year of efficiency’

Tech companies have recently been slashing their budgets – but it’s not all doom and gloom. See how AI is helping reduce customer service costs and improve the customer experience.

By Sarah Olson, Staff Writer, @seolson5

Last updated June 20, 2023

In response to macroeconomic pressure, technology companies of all sizes have been tightening their belts and flattening their org structures. Meta CEO Mark Zuckerberg has called it the “year of efficiency”, while others are calling it the “end of the tech boom”.

But despite budget challenges, tech companies have reason to hope. The surge of generative AI tools coming onto the market means software companies can now keep pace and scale to support more customers without increasing headcount.

The AI revolution has arrived just in time. Here are 3 ways that software and cloud services companies can use AI to control costs:

1. Reduce operational costs without degrading service quality

There’s a general consensus among technology leaders that now is not the time to scale back customer support.

According to Zendesk research, 84% of technology leaders agree that providing excellent customer service during an economic downturn is even more important.

84% of technology leaders agree that providing excellent customer service during an economic downturn is even more important.

Delivering exceptional CX with omnichannel support and self-service is key to increasing net retention – and AI can help by simplifying the self-service process for everyone involved.

Customers get instant help for routine questions and processes, reducing wait times and increasing customer satisfaction. CX teams save time and control costs by letting bots handle low-value requests like ‘how do I reset my password?’

How Unity saves $1.3 million with Zendesk automations + self-service

Unity, a development platform for 3D projects, responded to rising ticket volumes by maximising its CX system instead of hiring more staff.

Since implementing Zendesk AI and self-service, Unity has seen higher usage but fewer tickets overall.

“Last year, we deflected almost 8,000 tickets thanks to self-service enabled by Zendesk”, says David Schroeder, Senior Manager of Services Support at Unity. “That amounts to about $1.3M saved due to the reduction in tickets.”

2. Increase productivity without adding headcount

Tech leaders report that customer requests have been increasing and 82% expect service request volumes to rise even more over the next 12 months.

Keeping up with that increase in demand requires teams to work smarter and faster. Customer service teams are already using AI to streamline agent workflows, optimise help centre content and speed up their response times.

The future of AI promises even more opportunities. If you haven’t already, now is the time to start thinking about how your organisation can harness AI to deliver intelligent CX that benefits both agents and customers.

Limeade enables agents to meet a 60% increase in users without adding more headcount

Before moving to Zendesk, the workforce wellbeing platform Limeade struggled with Salesforce’s complexity and inefficient escalation procedures.

With Zendesk’s agent productivity tools, Limeade now empowers their CX team with internal knowledge and training, so they can handle customer interactions with greater confidence and ease.

Since switching to Zendesk, they’ve increased their agent productivity metrics and reduced their escalation rate – freeing up more bandwidth for agents in the process.

  • 30% decrease in first response time
  • 35% decrease in resolution time on technical tickets
  • 50% reduction in escalation rate

3. Accelerate net retention and profitable growth with exceptional CX

Downturn or not, customers still expect exceptional service. And meeting your customers’ high standards nearly always comes with costs.

In fact, 70% of customers say they spend more with companies that offer seamless, conversational experiences, according to Zendesk research.

70% of customers say that they spend more with companies that offer seamless, conversational experiences

CX remains a critical business differentiator, especially for tech companies. Customers can easily switch to a competitor if they aren’t happy with the calibre of service they’re receiving.

Using AI and data analysis, you can deliver personalised, high-touch experiences that go above and beyond.

How Qumu retains over 90% of their enterprise customers

Qumu offers a reliable and secure video platform for enterprise companies but they realised their CX wasn’t quite enterprise-grade.

Without the ability to prioritise customer requests, Qumu’s support team had no way to give top-tier customers priority over one-touch tickets. They didn’t have the data they needed to support high-value customers and seize important opportunities.

With Zendesk, they’re now able to rigorously monitor customer satisfaction and stop customer churn before it happens.

“We were able to make the Qumu support team a competitive advantage and we know for sure this wouldn’t have been possible if we had stayed with the previous solution”, says Chad Sears, Vice President of Customer Success at Qumu.

Controlling costs can be a win for customers, too

Optimising your CX for efficiency and productivity helps your bottom line but also serves your customers.

Bots can deliver instant help for simple questions and when your customers have a more complex issue, human agents have the bandwidth to respond quickly. AI and data analysis can make customer service interactions less painful and time-consuming.

With the right tools, everyone wins.

Get started with Zendesk AI

You don’t need to reinvent the wheel. Zendesk makes it easy to harness the power and potential of AI.

Get started with Zendesk AI

You don’t need to reinvent the wheel. Zendesk makes it easy to harness the power and potential of AI.

Learn more