New research from Pegasystems, the software company empowering digital transformation (DX) at the world’s leading enterprises, reveals Indian consumers are extremely open to artificial intelligence (AI) adoption to drive better customer experiences. Conducted by research firm Savanta, the study surveyed over 1,000 consumers in India on their views about AI as it relates to morality, ethical behavior, and empathy. Of the respondents, 74% constituted millennials and GenX.
The study found that Indian consumers generally trust new technologies like AI if they see the potential to improve their productivity and make things simpler. But at the same time, respondents still worry about the ethics behind AI and the potential for it to act with bias. In a still maturing market for technology adoption like India, it’s important for organizations to understand their customers’ perceptions, knowledge gaps, and preferences of AI to optimally implement it.
Key findings of the study for organizations to consider include:
- AI is accepted as key for better customer experience: Eighty-four percent of respondents agree AI has the potential to provide better customer experiences, improve brand reputation, and increase customer loyalty. Almost 78% said they are comfortable interacting with AI for business-related queries.
- Consumers prefer talking to machines over humans: The study found 60% of Indians are more likely to tell the truth to an AI system or chatbot as compared to a human. This could be because engaging with a neutral bot would ease people’s concerns about the embarrassment of saying the wrong thing or creating a misunderstanding given the huge variety of cultures, subcultures, and myriad of beliefs across the country.
- Many believe AI can demonstrate empathy: Seventy-five percent of those surveyed believe that machines can behave morally and thus make ‘good’ decisions based on empathetic considerations. In addition, 76% of respondents in India believe that when an organization uses AI to make relevant, appropriate, and valuable offers to their customers, it is an example of AI demonstrating empathy.
- Most believe AI acts with bias: Eighty percent of respondents believe that AI- based decisions can be biased without any human interventions. As AI models adapt and learn from experiences, only 33% of respondents believe AI will evolve to become less biased over time.
- Consumers trust companies they do business with – Eighty-five percent of those surveyed in India believe companies have a moral obligation to do what’s right (beyond what is legally required), and 79% of respondents trust companies have customers’ best interests at heart.
To maintain consumer trust, organizations must ensure they implement AI responsibly or risk losing this hard-earned loyalty. Organizations should adopt transparent and unbiased AI, which means their AI models can explain exactly why a decision was made. By combining AI-based insights with proper AI governance, organizations can more safely adopt AI while driving better customer engagements.
Suman Reddy, managing director, Pegasystems India, said, “Our study found that Indian consumers are extremely open to AI and its benefits. This presents an important opportunity for Indian companies to accelerate their AI adoption – particularly as the pandemic forces them to increase their digital engagement capabilities. By taking an empathetic and ethical approach to AI, businesses can ensure their customers’ faith in AI is rewarded with better service – which ultimately leads to an increase in customer loyalty.”