News from Europe indicates that millions of Euros are being lost by Euro zone banks due to poor quality IT outsourcing. A survey run by the European Central Bank found that banks lost over €148 million in 2022 – a 360% increase in loss compared to 2021. The findings showed that many banks’ outsourcing arrangements inadequately addressed IT security requirements, which caused significant risk management issues.

Over in New Zealand, a new report by Customer Contact Network New Zealand (CCNNZ) has highlighted the unprecedented levels of verbal abuse experienced by call center staff. Several factors could be causing this, such as mass layoffs resulting in longer call waiting times, as well as increased irritation due to the rise in chatbot use. The CEO of CCNNZ is urging the public to demonstrate more compassion and civility and urging call centers to implement better training and employee wellbeing initiatives.

US-based tech giant, Microsoft, is enhancing its customer service offerings by partnering with the Danish-based mobile app and support community, Be My Eyes. The partnership has been established to develop a new app for visually impaired users. The digital visual assistant tool, Be My AI, utilizes ChatGPT-4’s vision model technology, and offers functions such as describing images and providing contextual advice.

In further AI news, autonomous customer-service platform, Siena AI, has raised US$4.7 million in seed funding for the development of an empathic AI customer service agent. The California-based company expects these developments to further revolutionize customer experience (CX), by mitigating the frustrations felt by customers when speaking with chatbots. The new empathic AI agents should be able to understand contexts and respond with empathy, like a human agent would, while also allowing merchants to establish an AI persona for their brand that uses a unique voice and style in various interactions.

Swedish-headquartered CX solutions outsourcing company, Transcom, has announced a partnership with Europe’s largest AI lab, Silo AI. The partnership will see the development of a specialized large language model (LLM) for CX, which will reduce costs, ensure data privacy and security, and enhance customer service.

Mexican startups are experiencing a boom in nearshoring activity, particularly in the logistics and e-commerce outsourcing sectors. This increase is likely due to easing inflation and potential interest-rate cuts, which startups are welcoming following 2022 challenges with high inflation and interest rates that impacted investment. Mexico has long been a top destination choice for US-based organizations, due to beneficial trade pacts and low labor costs.

In global news, experience management company Qualtrics has released a report on the top consumer experience trends for 2024. The report – based on a study from over 28,000 consumers across 26 countries – highlights key trends such as the need for human connection to be prioritized in AI strategies, the importance of quality over low prices, and the changes in the ways that consumers give feedback in the current era.

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