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Annual update on evolution of AI in our customer’s business 

  • 5 min read

How has the generative AI wave that ChatGPT triggered last year changed the way businesses view and prioritize their goals and strategies?

In line with our annual practice, we once again conducted our AI and employee engagement survey during this year’s edition of Telia ACE Roadshow.

Our customer’s responses give us an intriguing glimpse into how our customers are adapting to the evolving AI landscape and what challenges and opportunities they face. By comparing the differences between this year’s and last year’s responses, we reveal how people’s perspectives and attitudes have changed over time. 

Talent retention – new top business goals for 2024 

Improving customer experience remains the top business goal for 2024, with 91% of respondents highlighting it. A notable change since last year is the rise in respondents naming attracting and retaining talent as an important goal, 51% of respondents consider it important, compared to 31% last year. 

A possible explanation to the climb in numbers is that customer service roles are becoming more complex due to technical advances and digital transformation requiring a diverse set of skills, from technological aptitude to people skills and emotional intelligence. 

Attracting and retaining talent with these skills is a top priority for many customer service managers today. Without the ability to attract the right professionals, businesses face the threat of losing customers and market share to their competitors.

Main reasons behind implementing AI solutions 

The percentage of respondents who cited hiring and retaining talent as a key purpose for adopting AI technologies has increased from 3% last year to 25% this year, indicating that implementing AI solutions is seen as a method to attract and keep employees.

A possible explanation to the increase is that many customer service jobs are held by workers belonging to a younger generation. This group is more tech-savvy and interested in innovation and in order to be an attractive employer, organizations may need to consider offering them opportunities to work with AI technologies. 

Other than talent retention, the top two reasons for implementing AI are to improve customer experience and satisfaction (75%) and to improve internal efficiency (69%). These results have not changed from last year and imply that organizations are mainly using AI to enhance their existing operations and customer relationships, rather than to create new products or services or to expand to new markets.  

A cautious yet evolving attitude towards AI

Last year’s survey taught us that a year ago 29% of respondents had implemented AI while 54% were working actively to learn more about the opportunities with AI. Looking at the figures a year later is intriguing. The number of businesses that have implemented AI remains unchanged. At the same time approximately 75% (up from 54%) of the respondents replied that they are in the observation and learning phase, increasing their awareness of AI.

We need to remember that the responses from our customers who joined our survey do not reflect the reality of society at large or the whole industry; they reveal our respondents’ approach. But our findings spotlights the early stage at which many organizations still find themselves in when it comes to implementing AI solutions such as Virtual Agents, Natural Language Processing solutions and sentiment analysis. 

The data points to a cautious, early-stage approach to AI adoption in a market where many of the developed generative AI services available in the market are still in their infancy.  And while a significant portion of the respondents say that they are not planning any AI initiatives, those who are, show a strong inclination towards conversational interfaces. 

Has ChatGPT changed our perception of AI?

However, we know that many Telia ACE customers have implemented AI-powered solutions such as chatbots and Virtual Agents, so one could speculate on whether the technological transformation brought on by ChatGPT and generative AI has come to dominate what many of us define as an AI-solution. 

Our survey results suggests that generative AI is now synonymous with AI for many people. Telia ACE, and consequently our customers, have used AI-based solutions for years, but this is not reflected in the survey results. 

Have AI-solutions become such a natural and integrated part of our customers’ businesses that when asked about their AI journey they tend to think of generative AI-solutions?

AI Implementation Challenges 

In the survey conducted last year, we identified several challenges. The most important concerns were about data privacy and security. Another big challenge was the absence of a clear and consistent AI strategy. This year we can conclude that these foundational challenges persist. 

However, today’s challenges are more multi-dimensional. A third of the respondents (33%) reported problems with getting their leaders on board and aligned with AI projects. Unclear or changing regulations and compliance rules were another common concern expressed by about the same number of repliers (31%). Also, internal silos continue to hinder adoption of AI solutions across the enterprise, 29% state this as a fact. 

Our customers cautious yet evolving attitude towards AI is evident. While foundational challenges like data privacy remain a constant, new complexities have emerged that reflect a growing but cautious embrace of AI technologies. We believe that the key to successful AI adoption lies in navigating these evolving challenges and aligning them with the organization’s broader strategic objectives. 

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