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IBM Study: AI-Driven Virtual Agents Can Drive Customer Satisfaction, Cost Savings Amid COVID-19

As many organisations across the world look to digital tools to help address surges in customer inquiries due to the COVID-19 pandemic, a new IBM study revealed 99% of respondents report an increase in customer satisfaction as a result of using AI-driven virtual agent technology.

The research showed organisations that are early adopters of AI and cloud technology are reaping significant benefits from AI-driven virtual agents. 94 percent of respondents defined as “leaders” – those who implemented AI-driven virtual agents early, integrated them with backend systems and trained them with many contacts – have already achieved or exceeded their expected return on investment, compared to 49 percent of others.

“During the COVID-19 pandemic, organisations are balancing the need to rapidly scale customer service to manage surges in inquiries, while still delivering a delightful customer experience – and doing it all for less,” said Glenn Finch, global managing partner, Cognitive Business Decision Support, IBM Services. “The study validates what we’re seeing from clients around the world: those who have adopted virtual agent technology are seeing both bottom-line and top-line results including reduced costs, higher customer and human agent satisfaction, and increased revenue as a result.”

IBM (NYSE: IBM) is working with many clients across industries to use AI to put critical data and information into the hands of their customers and employees with AI-driven virtual agent technology, including Burger King Brazil, Medtronic and The Royal Marsden. An IBM-commissioned Forrester Consulting TEI study found a large organisation could achieve an average cost savings of USD 5.50 per contained conversation using IBM Watson Assistant.

The IBM Institute for Business Value study, titled “The value of virtual agent technology,” surveyed more than 1,000 companies, spanning 12 industries and 33 countries, that have used virtual agents for just six months to over four years.