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AI, Chatbots and digital channels to reshape the customer experience landscape

Customer service is facing a technological revolution over the next five years. According to a new report from research firm Gartner, generative AI, conversational user interfaces (CUIs), and digital customer service platforms will fundamentally reshape how businesses interact with customers and deliver support by 2028. "We're on the cusp of an experience transformation that will make today's frustrating customer service experiences feel like a relic of the past," said Drew Kraus, VP Analyst at Gartner. "These three technologies have the potential to streamline customer journeys and finally allow companies to meet the lofty expectations modern consumers hold."


Generative AI Takes Center Stage

At the forefront of this transformation is generative AI - technology that can create new content like text, images, code and more from training data. Gartner predicts that by 2025, 80% of customer service organizations will be utilizing some form of generative AI to boost productivity and enhance customer experience.

The applications are wide-ranging - from crafting natural language responses for AI chatbots to automating rote tasks for human agents. A recent Gartner poll found 38% of companies see improving CX and retention as the top purpose for deploying generative AI models.

"The impact of AI on this industry cannot be overstated," said Kraus. "We expect generative AI will allow companies to reduce their agent headcount by 20-30% while simultaneously creating new high-skilled jobs to develop and deploy these capabilities."


Conversational Interfaces Become the Norm

As AI powers more human-like interactions, conversational user interfaces (CUIs) that enable natural language commands will become the primary way customers communicate with businesses. Technologies like OpenAI's ChatGPT and Anthropic's Claude have raised consumer expectations for conversational experiences across all digital channels and services.

"Customers increasingly expect to interact with apps and services using plain language, not clunky menus or commands," said Kraus. "CUIs that can understand context and intent will be vital for driving self-service and delivering more effortless experiences."


The Digital Customer Service Revolution

Bridging both of these technological forces is the rise of "digital customer service" platforms that orchestrate seamless experiences across digital engagement channels like mobile apps, messaging, chatbots and more.

As customers have grown accustomed to instantaneous service, more digital channels have paradoxically increased friction as they move between them. Digital customer service eliminates this disconnect by creating a unified, low-effort experience flow.

"Digital customer service will transform outcomes by reducing friction and enhancing satisfaction across every digital touchpoint," said Kraus. “The long-term benefits in terms of lower churn and higher lifetime value will be significant.”

Of course, inserting AI into customer interactions has its risks - from potential biases in training data to human job displacement. But the revolutionary potential is undeniable. Generative AI, CUIs and digital-first engagement models will soon become table stakes for delivering the seamless, personalized experiences that customers have long craved.

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