The results of its State of Customer Conversations 2024 report surveyed thousands of business leaders and consumers across the world about artificial intelligence (AI), automation, and chatbots are in.

Among the report’s key findings is that a significant divide — or “AI Gap” — is emerging between business leaders and consumers regarding adoption, enthusiasm, and education around AI. While organizations of all kinds are doubling down on AI and automation, the average consumer lacks clarity regarding how AI can be used to make their lives easier and more convenient, according to a news release.

Lots of Work to Do

Data from the report shows that business leaders have a lot of work to do to close the AI Gap — and ensure their investments in artificial intelligence pay off with customers:

  • While 91% of business leaders feel positive about using AI to engage with customers, only 50% of consumers say the same.
  • The AI hype is fading — 62% of consumers felt positive about engaging with AI last year before the generative AI boom and backlash took off.
  • When given the choice between interacting with a human or an AI chatbot to take care of common tasks, business leaders overestimate the percentage of consumers who say they’d choose bots for each task by an average of 19%.
  • Business leaders are much more familiar with and educated about AI, with 92% saying they’re learning to work with AI to do their jobs better, versus just 36% of consumers.

Split

This split between business leaders and their customers is emerging at the same time that brands have reached a tipping point for AI-powered customer engagement, with just over half of business leaders reporting they’re now prioritizing messaging with AI over traditional customer service channels like phone (55%), email (51%), and ticketing systems (54%).

“We’re at a pivotal moment: brands are all-in when it comes to AI, but their customers have yet to experience the true benefits of this much-hyped technology,” said John Sabino, LivePerson’s CEO. “As business leaders transition from today’s costly, frustrating call centers to the digital-first, AI-powered contact centers of the future, they must prove the value of AI to their customers now — or risk turning them against the very tech they’re investing in so heavily.”

While the AI Gap poses challenges for businesses today, consumers report they do anticipate benefits from AI over the long term, with 2 out of every 3 saying they expect how they work with businesses to improve over the next five years thanks to AI.

Age Groups

In addition to the divide between business leaders and their customers, the conversational AI trends report also found AI gaps between different age groups, with especially wide differences of opinion emerging between Gen Z and senior citizens.

  • 64% of 18-24-year-olds say they’re more comfortable using AI to engage with businesses than last year, but only 36% of people aged 65+ agree.
  • When asked if their loyalty to a company increases if they can communicate with AI for faster service, 80% of Gen Z said yes — as opposed to only 34% of seniors.
  • 84% of Gen Z prefer to buy from companies whose AI limits bias, compared to just 57% of seniors. They are also much more interested in AI that predicts what they want (64% vs. 40%) and recommends gifts for others (68% vs. 36%).
  • Every age group thinks AI will help improve how they engage with businesses over time, but Gen Z sees it coming quicker (72% say this will happen within the next year, while seniors think it will take 5 years or longer).

“With consumer expectations running longer than those of business leaders, brands that put together engaging, helpful AI-powered experiences ‘ahead of schedule’ will have a leg up over their competitors,” said Nirali Amin, SVP, of Global Solutions and Success at LivePerson. “They can do this by using AI to better understand what their customers are saying, empower their agents, save everyone time by speeding up resolutions on the channels customers prefer, and analyze data from all of the above to continuously improve.”

Traits

According to the survey data, the general consumer population is more likely to purchase from a company if its AI experiences have the following traits:

  • 73%: supervised and managed by human agents that they can transfer to as needed
  • 68%: limits bias to create more equal experiences for everyone
  • 62%: takes the direction to complete purchases
  • 53%: predicts what kinds of products and services they want

To access the full State of Customer Conversations 2024 report, click here.

About the State of Customer Conversations 2024 report
In November 2023, LivePerson commissioned a PureSpectrum online survey of 1,505 consumers ages 18 and up, as well as 504 executives at companies with more than 500 employees.

The consumer audience was based across the US, UK, and Australia. The executive audience was composed of US business leaders who recommend, purchase, implement, or sign off on customer service and marketing technologies. Approximately 50% of this audience was at the C-suite level (including CEOs, CIOs, COOs, and CMOs), with the remainder including vice president, director, and manager-level roles.

The goal of this research was to understand the attitudes of consumers toward customer engagement, digital experiences, chatbots, and AI, as well as the attitudes and plans of customer experience leaders across the enterprise. The results are summarized in the report.

Source: LivePerson