When it comes to the customer experience (CX) industry, there’s another looming challenge to add to the burgeoning list for contact centers and BPOs: if you guessed an economic downturn, you are right.

Conversational AI and automation can significantly help companies, especially those in the travel and hospitality sector, during an economic downturn. In anticipation of a recession, companies are – at this very moment – downsizing, streamlining, cutting budgets and doing more with less. There are several advantages that conversational AI can offer in a period of economic volatility, including:

  • Utilizing AI to improve agent performance and satisfaction through targeted training
  • Assisting agents during interactions by bringing in very relevant information from disparate databases and eliminating tedious tasks
  • Finding the best talent and delivering effective training
  • Providing career growth opportunities for future managers and leaders

Our current research, “The Global State of AI,” shows that high-tech, travel and hospitality, and professional services are the top three verticals with the highest AI adoption and deployments.

While the travel industry may be booming now, a recession in the hospitality industry in 2023-24 could have a profoundly negative effect on top-line revenues and future growth. A global hotel chain, for example, utilizes advanced tools to retain their position as a leading luxury and business travel destination in the face of stiff competition. During a downturn, call centers will be inundated with reservation cancellations, itinerary changes, cancellations, and rewards inquiries. To meet the high demand for conversational AI in the travel and hospitality industry, AI solutions are available that provide intelligent self-service solutions that optimize the customer experience (CX).  Many solution providers offer products that work well across messaging, voice, and digital channels and leverage behavioral, transactional and historical data to anticipate consumer intent.

Another clear example of a recession-prone industry is retail. Retail in general also needs to up their CX game to stay vibrant and viable. Businesses such as BJ Foods Wholesale – a leading East Coast membership warehouse club chain – provides grocery, general merchandise, gasoline and ancillary services. BJ’s Wholesale Club strives to offer a differentiated shopping experience that is further enhanced by its omnichannel capabilities. AI-driven CX solutions can offer benefits to wholesale retail clients like BJ Wholesale Club to combine customer web journey, purchase history, demographics, and user persona data powered by statistical machine learning models to personalize/customize offers. In a recession, AI-driven tools help businesses attract and retain customers, create personalized, predictive and effortless customer experiences, and extend services across digital channels, without overhauling existing systems.

Michael DeSalles has extensive experience covering a broad range of sectors, leveraging long-standing working relationships with leading industry participants and senior executives in the CX industry. His areas of focus include customer care outsourcing, skills-based routing, BPO nearshore deployment, home-based agents and contact center security.

Frost & Sullivan, a leader in Growth, Innovation and Leadership for over 60 years, has rigorously tracked the CX industry for the last decade.