Global Research Commissioned by Verint Shows Consumers Becoming More Comfortable with Automation in Work Environments

The results of a large-scale study of more than 36,000 consumers in 18 countries by Verint®, The Customer Engagement Company™, and carried out in partnership with Opinium Research LLC, reveals that more than 70% of consumers stated there has been an increased use of automation technology—such as artificial intelligence (AI) and robots—in their workplaces.

The study also showed that consumers on the whole are becoming more comfortable with automation in the workplace. Consumers in Mexico (85%), Brazil (84%) and India (83%) reported the highest levels of automation in the workplace. Nearly 7 out of 10 (69%) U.S. consumers said processes are being automated by technology, while those in Sweden and Japan (both at 55%), and Germany, Denmark and the UK (all at 61%) reported the lowest levels of automation.

Approximately half of respondents (49%) said that technology, such as AI and robots, help them do their job more effectively. Those in countries with the highest adoption of technology were more disposed to view automation in a positive light, with 76% of Indians, 70% of Brazilians and 65% of Mexicans believing that it helps them do their job more effectively. Brits (25%), Swedes (29%), Belgians (32%) and Canadians (36%) had the lowest response to the role of technology in the workplace. In the U.S., 43% of respondents said technology helps them perform their jobs more effectively.

This fresh research raises questions about what the workplace of the future may look like and suggests the line between the workplace and home will continue to blur. More than two-thirds (67%) of respondents said they expect workplaces to be more flexible to suit employee preferences as technology improves, and 62% said technology is already making it easier for them to work from home or have more flexible work hours.

Trends expert James Woudhuysen, visiting professor of forecasting and innovation at London South Bank University, shares that “In both developed and developing economies, customer service forms a rising share of employment and GDP. Though organizations will automate many of today’s customer service tasks, there will be plenty of new jobs in this sector. These jobs will just be different. They’ll be more about what machines can’t do. In 2030, for example, direct human interaction in customer service will need to combine wisdom with the latest soundings of the public mood. In this way, companies can make the right call—a feat that technology, automation and systems won’t, by themselves, ever be able to achieve.”

“Technology continues to shape the way people engage with organizations, both as customers and employees. However, organizations must strike the right balance between technology and automation on one hand and human interactions on the other,” says Verint’s Ryan Hollenbeck, senior vice president of global marketing and executive sponsor of the Verint Customer Experience Program. “Automation technology, in particular, opens new possibilities for how people work, as well as how they meet service level requirements.”

In fact, automation can be seen as a benefit in its ability to handle mundane, repetitive tasks and processes, and manage them in a timely, compliant way. It frees employees for more meaningful activities and work in more flexible ways, while empowering consumers to self-serve through the channel, place and time of their choosing. For effective rollout strategies and adoption techniques, Hollenbeck notes that “The key will be for organizations to engage employees throughout the implementation process of automation and robotics initiatives, explaining and demonstrating the value of technology, alongside human intelligence and emotion.”

About the Research

This research was commissioned by Verint from December 27, 2017 through January 8, 2018 in association with research company Opinium Research LLP. Interviews were conducted amongst 36,014 consumers in the following countries: Australia, Belgium, Brazil, Canada, Denmark, France, Germany, Hong Kong, India, Japan, Mexico, Netherlands, Singapore, South Africa, Spain, Sweden, the United Kingdom and the United States. The research was conducted online in the local language for each country, and respondents were incentivized to participate. Sectors involved in the survey included banking, brick-and-mortar retail, credit card, insurance, mobile phone provider, online retail, telecommunications, travel and utilities.

To learn more about the research—and to view other key findings, the white paper “Defining the Human Age: A Reflection on Customer Service in 2030,” infographics, the on-demand webinar and related announcements—click here.