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Surprise: Enterprise Execs Plan to Increase Digital CX Investments This Year

Despite Macroeconomic Uncertainty and Inflation, a TELUS Survey Finds Many Executives Raising 2023 Digital CX Budgets up to 25%

Enterprise CX spending survey

With the period of economic unease continuing into 2023, many companies in the CX sector have cut staff, reduced or frozen plans for new hires, and taken other measures to rein in costs. However, according to research commissioned by TELUS International, close to three-quarters (72%) of enterprise executives surveyed will be spending more on digital CX in 2023 compared to 2022, with 68% increasing their digital CX budgets by up to 25%.

The survey, conducted in partnership with Statista, investigated where 250 enterprise leaders throughout the U.S. and Europe plan to invest in digital CX technology in 2023, and the key driving factors behind those decisions. The results indicated the globally, customer service quality (27%), followed by supporting long-term and sustainable customer loyalty (18%), will be key focus areas for leaders this year. Within the US, 35% of respondents cited customer service quality as the top focus area in 2023, reflecting the importance of keeping existing customers happy, while acquiring new ones.

“Despite brands remaining cautious in the current macroeconomic environment, the importance of digital transformation remains, especially when it comes to winning new customers and driving loyalty through differentiated customer experiences,” says Michael Ringman, Chief Information Officer, TELUS International.

Ringman notes that in a resource-constrained environment, organizations need to extract the maximum value from their digital CX investments. “All tech must be properly designed and implemented, and that means ensuring it is human-centered in order to keep the customer in mind at all points of their brand experience,” Ringman says. “This can include solving for articulated and unarticulated needs; not just incorporating customer feedback, but also making the effort to uncover needs by analyzing data and conducting market research.”

From an implementation or improvement perspective, enterprise executives surveyed said they are planning to invest in the following areas:

  • Global responses (all 250 respondents):
    • Customer relationship management (CRM) systems = 42%
    • AI/machine learning = 34%
    • Customer data and analytics = 33%
  • US-specific responses (100 respondents):
    • CRM systems = 46%
    • AI/machine learning AND customer data and analytics = both were 42%
    • Omnichannel/cloud contact center platforms = 34%

Additionally, the survey found that “work from home” and remote desktop solutions enabling their teams to connect and engage with customers easily and securely remain an investment priority (27%) among global executives, even as an increasing number of employees are being asked to return to their offices.

“In addition to a focus on elevating their customer experience, companies are simultaneously striving to achieve operational efficiencies; in other words, they are looking to do not only more, but to do better with less,” Ringman explains. “At TELUS International, we have seen that translate to an increased emphasis on digital solutions, such as AI-powered bots, intelligent automation, RPA, mobile apps, and united web interfaces. In addition to improving response times and delivering more personalized experiences, they drive operational efficiencies in many instances by providing 24/7 self-serve channels and handling repetitive, rule-based activities like password resets and providing account balance information.”

Despite the push to invest in digital CX solutions, data security and compliance (38%), limitations in tech infrastructure (36%) and budget constraints (35%) were cited as the biggest obstacles to achieving their digital CX goals in 2023.

“Tech investments in CX must be future proof,” Ringman says. “Brands must always be thinking ahead in terms of its scalability, ability to seamlessly integrate with other technologies and platforms across their IT landscape and tech stack, and its agility to accommodate disruptive market changes.” 

In recent weeks, there has been an increasing focus on the potential for using advanced chatbot technology that leverages language models, like ChatGPT, to be utilized in a customer-facing way. Ringman points to TELUS International Innovation Labs (iLabs), its R&D initiative that launched in 2020, that has been developing proprietary chatbot solutions leveraging natural language processing (NLP) and its other utilitarian tools, including speech recognition, semantic understanding, and language learning models (LLM) to build custom chatbots for our clients.

Ringman adds that “the possibilities presented by ChatGPT and other generative AI are seemingly endless,” and he notes that TELUS International’s January 2023 acquisition of WillowTree, which has started to experiment with various forms of AI in their digital build process, will help the company “standardize our coding and enable us to increase our speed to market in delivering digital solutions to our clients.”

Author Information

Keith has over 25 years of experience in research, marketing, and consulting-based fields.

He has authored in-depth reports and market forecast studies covering artificial intelligence, biometrics, data analytics, robotics, high performance computing, and quantum computing, with a specific focus on the use of these technologies within large enterprise organizations and SMBs. He has also established strong working relationships with the international technology vendor community and is a frequent speaker at industry conferences and events.

In his career as a financial and technology journalist he has written for national and trade publications, including BusinessWeek, CNBC.com, Investment Dealers’ Digest, The Red Herring, The Communications of the ACM, and Mobile Computing & Communications, among others.

He is a member of the Association of Independent Information Professionals (AIIP).

Keith holds dual Bachelor of Arts degrees in Magazine Journalism and Sociology from Syracuse University.

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