Artificial intelligence (AI) is already revolutionizing the way business gets done, particularly impacting the customer journey, according to a Wednesday report from MIT Technology Review and Genesys. Of the 600 executives across 18 countries surveyed, 90% said their firms now use AI solutions to improve the customer experience, the report found.

Implementing AI has dramatically improved the efficiency, processing speed, and transaction volume of customer interactions, the report found. Nearly 90% of companies using AI in the customer journey reported faster complaint resolution, and more than 90% said the technology boosted call volume processing.

On average, between 25% and 50% of all customer inquiries are now completely resolved through automated channels, freeing up customer service agents to handle more complex tasks, the report found.

SEE: IT leader’s guide to the future of artificial intelligence (Tech Pro Research)

Using AI for customer service interactions also has financial benefits, the report found: 70% of respondents who have implemented AI said they have seen increased revenue. More than half of those surveyed cited increases in overall revenue of more than 5%, while about 30% said they saw revenue growth of more than 10%.

“Businesses win big when they deploy AI to handle simple, repetitive tasks, saving human resources for more complicated or emotional customer needs,” Merijn te Booij, chief marketing officer for Genesys, said in a press release. “Pairing automation and machine learning with live agents leads to happier customers, more satisfied employees and–not to mention– financial rewards.”

Large companies with more than 30,000 employees were more than 50% more likely to have made major investments in AI for front-line customer interactions and analytics. North American companies are also more likely than others to have adopted automation technologies early, the report found. More than 90% said their firms leverage AI across all stages of the customer journey. Nearly half of North American executives said their firms resolve at least 25% of customer queries without a human agent–among the highest rates in the survey.

The majority of executives (67%) are not just using AI to make the customer experience more efficient, but also to create deeper relationships with customers, the report found. Some 74% of those surveyed said AI allows human agents to spend more quality time with customers. And more than two-thirds of respondents said they use automated self-service channels, instant messaging chatbots, and sentiment analysis to create more personalized experiences to improve customer relationships.

“While investments in AI are primarily driven by efforts to improve efficiency, the technology’s ability to help companies understand and connect with their customers in more meaningful ways cannot be understated,” te Booij said in the release. “Not only do businesses from across the world benefit from day-to-day improvements in contact center performance, they also achieve significant gains in customer loyalty and revenue.”

The big takeaways for tech leaders:

  • 90% of global executives said their firms now use AI solutions to improve the customer experience. — MIT Technology Review and Genesys, 2018
  • On average, between 25% and 50% of all customer inquiries are now completely resolved through automated channels. — MIT Technology Review and Genesys, 2018