While organizations have made great strides in gaining customers’ trust in AI interactions, they struggle to increase the levels of customer satisfaction.

Paris, July 16, 2020 – Artificial Intelligence (AI) has gone mainstream when it comes to customer interactions, according to a new report from the Capgemini Research Institute. More than half of customers (54%) have daily AI-enabled interactions with organizations – a significant increase from the 21% reported in Capgemini’s 2018 research on the subject. 

The report, ‘The Art of Customer-Centric Artificial Intelligence: How organizations can unleash the full potential of AI in the customer experience’, reveals the factors that have significantly contributed to AI adoption among customers, including increasing customer trust in AI; an increase in human-like AI interactions; increasing customer concerns arising from COVID-19; and organizations stepping up their AI deployments.

COVID-19 has accelerated customer adoption of non-touch AI-based systems, such as voice assistants and facial recognition – a shot in the arm for AI adoption. Over three-quarters of customers (77%) expect to increase the use of touchless interfaces to avoid direct interactions with humans or touchscreens during COVID-19, and 62% will continue to do so post-COVID. This figure is even higher in countries such as Germany (73%) and Brazil (71%). The fact that touchless interfaces are becoming integral to the customer experience in a health and safety-conscious world is also recognized by organizations: 75% believe that increasing customer appetite for non-touch practices will persist even in the post-pandemic world.

Customers have significantly increased their preference for AI-only interactions; Kelly Anderson, Director, Data Science and Artificial Intelligence at Procter & Gamble confirms this saying, “I believe that customer expectations have evolved to the point where they almost expect for interactions to be AI. So, when you actually put a human in the loop, they are very pleasantly surprised and sometimes shocked. This clearly shows that chatbots / Natural Language Processing /AI are making progress and have evolved.”

From a sector perspective, Automotive (64%) and Public Sector (62%) stand out as the strong performers. The widespread usage of in-car voice interfaces explains the dominant position of automotive, in part. For instance, BMW, which has been deploying its own in-car AI based voice assistants for many years, plans to make them more natural, with gesture recognition or gaze recognition capabilities for its 2021 series[1].

Trust and human-like interactions have improved

Trust was identified as an area for improvement in 2018 and the latest research reveals that organizations have made great strides in this area. Over two-thirds (67%) of customers trust the personalized recommendations and suggestions provided by AI-enabled interactions. Moreover, close to half of customers (46%) find AI-enabled interactions to be trustworthy – compared to 30% in 2018, while the share of customers who say that they do not trust machines with the security and privacy of their personal data has dropped to 36%, down from 49% in 2018.

Customers also wanted more human-like AI interactions, and organizations have progressed here too. Overall, 64% of customers believe that their AI interactions are more human-like (compared to 48% in 2018). China (74%), Australia (72%) and the US (70%) lead in the percentage of them who believe that their AI interactions are more human-like. Organizations have been consciously trying to build human-like features into AI applications: 72% of organizations agreed that they are actively trying to make their AI interactions more human-like. 

“Context-aware” AI use cases hold the key to dropping customer satisfaction levels

While customers have increased their AI interactions since 2018, their level of satisfaction has dropped. Overall, 57% of customers are satisfied with AI interactions, compared to the more than two-thirds (69%) who were satisfied in 2018. Additionally, 51% of customers say they will consider an AI experience to be positive if it provides a unique experience beyond their expectations. 

The research found that more customers are satisfied with “context-aware[2]” use cases and receive greater benefits from them than those with the rest of the use cases. Examples include autonomous parking of cars, detecting fraudulent banking transactions, and making payments authenticated through biometric scanners. 

Most organizations measure AI performance in customer experience with basic KPIs

Few customers have experienced AI in a way that far exceeded their expectations. This can be linked back to the fact that a majority of organizations (73%) only follow a basic KPI (key performance indicator) for measuring customer experience, which only looks at the number of customers served by AI interactions. Organizations must add measurement and feedback management into AI design and development, cites the report, so that AI systems can deliver their true potential of learning and improving over time. 

The future of customer experience

Capgemini’s study from 2018 found that most organizations (93%) had less than 30% of customer interactions enabled by AI. Today, only 10% of organizations are at that low bar, with 80% saying that 30% to 50% of customer engagements are AI-enabled. According to the report, in two to three years’ time, the vast majority (80%) will have more than half of their interactions enabled by AI. 

“Usage of AI for customer experience is clearly here to stay. COVID-19 has been a catalyst in moving organizations towards AI implementation, and changes in customer behavior mandated by the crisis have created a clear opportunity to scale AI implementations,” says Darshan Shankavaram, Head of the Global Digital Customer Experience Practice at Capgemini. “However, it is integral that businesses focus on using AI to delight their customers and create better interactions and experiences, rather than simply using it to address volume or as a technology innovation. Going forward, we expect to see customer satisfaction improve and their openness to using AI further along the customer journey increase.”

To read a full copy of the report and its recommendations, click here

Research methodology

The Capgemini Research Institute surveyed 5,300 customers across twelve countries: Australia, Brazil, China, France, Germany, India, Italy, Netherlands, Spain, Sweden, the UK, and the US. It also surveyed 1,060 business leaders from large organizations with at least $1 billion in 2019 annual revenue across a range of sectors and countries. In addition, the Institute also conducted in-depth interviews with industry executives and two virtual focus group discussions with end-customers.

About Capgemini

Capgemini is a global leader in consulting, digital transformation, technology and engineering services. The Group is at the forefront of innovation to address the entire breadth of clients’ opportunities in the evolving world of cloud, digital and platforms. Building on its strong 50-year+ heritage and deep industry-specific expertise, Capgemini enables organizations to realize their business ambitions through an array of services from strategy to operations. Capgemini is driven by the conviction that the business value of technology comes from and through people. Today, it is a multicultural company of 270,000 team members in almost 50 countries. With Altran, the Group reported 2019 combined revenues of €17billion.

Visit us at www.capgemini.comPeople matter, results count. 

About the Capgemini Research Institute

The Capgemini Research Institute is Capgemini’s in-house think-tank on all things digital. The Institute publishes research on the impact of digital technologies on large traditional businesses. The team draws on the worldwide network of Capgemini experts and works closely with academic and technology partners. The Institute has dedicated research centers in India, Singapore, the United Kingdom and the United States. It was recently ranked #1 in the world for the quality of its research by independent analysts.

Visit us at https://www.capgemini.com/researchinstitute/

[1] Source: Techcrunch, “BMW makes interacting with your car’s AI system more natural,” February 2019.

[2] Context-aware use cases are defined as the use cases that customers find more personalized, empowering, and effortless to use.

Operating margin

Capgemini and Altran[3] for the same period in 2019, restated at 2020 exchange rates, was -7.7% and reflects the impact of the pandemic on the Group’s overall activity (‑6.9% on former Capgemini scope and -11.6% on former Altran scope).

Organic Free Cash Flow

The organic free cash flow* is estimated at circa €100 million in the 1st half, versus €90 million in 2019, despite the increase in 2020 in finance costs and other operating expenses with the acquisition of Altran. This confirms the quality of the Group business model.

Calendar

Group results for the first half of 2020 will be published as scheduled on September 3, 2020 at 7 a.m. (Paris time) after the completion of the review process by the statutory auditors. A conference call will be held by the Group on the same day to present and comment on these results in detail.

    • September 3, 2020      Publication of H1 2020 results

    • October 27, 2020         Publication of Q3 2020 revenues

DISCLAIMER

This press release may contain forward-looking statements. Such statements may include projections, estimates, assumptions, statements regarding plans, objectives, intentions and/or expectations with respect to future financial results, events, operations and services and product development, as well as statements, regarding future performance or events. Forward-looking statements are generally identified by the words “expects”, “anticipates”, “believes”, “intends”, “estimates”, “plans”, “projects”, “may”, “would” “should” or the negatives of these terms and similar expressions. Although Capgemini’s management currently believes that the expectations reflected in such forward-looking statements are reasonable, investors are cautioned that forward-looking statements are subject to various risks and uncertainties (including without limitation risks identified in Capgemini’s Registration Document available on Capgemini’s website), because they relate to future events and depend on future circumstances that may or may not occur and may be different from those anticipated, many of which are difficult to predict and generally beyond the control of Capgemini. Actual results and developments may differ materially from those expressed in, implied by or projected by forward-looking statements. Forward-looking statements are not intended to and do not give any assurances or comfort as to future events or results. Other than as required by applicable law, Capgemini does not undertake any obligation to update or revise any forward-looking statement.

This press release does not contain or constitute an offer of securities for sale or an invitation or inducement to invest in securities in France, the United States or any other jurisdiction.

ABOUT CAPGEMINI

Capgemini is a global leader in consulting, digital transformation, technology, and engineering services. The Group is at the forefront of innovation to address the entire breadth of clients’ opportunities in the evolving world of cloud, digital and platforms. Building on its strong 50-year heritage and deep industry-specific expertise, Capgemini enables organizations to realize their business ambitions through an array of services from strategy to operations. Capgemini is driven by the conviction that the business value of technology comes from and through people. It is a multicultural company of 270,000 team members in nearly 50 countries. With Altran, the Group reported 2019 combined global revenues of €17 billion.

Visit us at www.capgemini.comPeople matter, results count.

APPENDIX

DEFINITIONS

Organic growth, or like-for-like growth, in revenues is the growth rate calculated at constant Group scope and exchange rates. The Group scope and exchange rates used are those for the reported period. Exchange rates for the reported period are also used to calculate growth at constant exchange rates.

Operating margin is one of the Group’s key performance indicators. It is defined as the difference between revenues and operating costs. It is calculated before “Other operating income and expenses” which include amortization of intangible assets recognized in business combinations, the charge resulting from the deferred recognition of the fair value of shares granted to employees (including social security contributions and employer contributions), and non-recurring revenues and expenses, notably impairment of goodwill, negative goodwill, capital gains or losses on disposals of consolidated companies or businesses, restructuring costs incurred under a detailed formal plan approved by the Group’s management, the cost of acquiring and integrating companies acquired by the Group, including earn-outs comprising conditions of presence, and the effects of curtailments, settlements and transfers of defined benefit pension plans.

Organic free cash flow is equal to cash flow from operations less acquisitions of property, plant, equipment and intangible assets (net of disposals) and repayments of lease liabilities, adjusted for cash out relating to the net interest cost. Finance lease payments were included in repayments of borrowings until December 31, 2018. From January 1, 2019, with the adoption of IFRS 16, these payments are now included in the new definition of organic free cash flow as repayments of lease liabilities.

Covid-19: The impact of the health crisis on the consolidated financial statements at 30 June 2020 is not isolated. The definition of the above alternative performance measures is therefore unchanged and, in accordance with past practice, these financial statements include in other operating income and expenses a non-material amount of incremental and non-recurring costs related to this crisis.

[1] For the publication of half year results, the report of the statutory auditors is based on a limited review of the financial statements.

[2] When announcing on March 13, 2020, that the takeover of Altran had taken effect, the Group advised that the publication of the 2020 first half results would be pushed back from July 28 to September 3, 2020 due to Altran’s longer accounts publication cycle.

[3] 2019 reference revenues also include other small acquisitions announced in the past year, but almost the entire current period impact concerns the Altran acquisition.