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How tech companies are using AI to control costs amidst "year of efficiency"

Tech companies have been slashing their budgets recently, but it's not all doom and gloom. See how AI is helping reduce customer service costs and improve the customer experience.

By Sarah Olson, Staff Writer, @seolson5

Last updated May 8, 2023

In response to macroeconomic pressure, technology companies of all sizes have been tightening their belts and flattening their org structures. Meta CEO Mark Zuckerberg has called it the “year of efficiency,” while others have called it the end of the tech boom.

But despite budgetary challenges, tech companies have reason to hope. With the surge of generative AI tools coming on the market, software companies can keep pace and scale to support more customers without adding more headcount.

The AI revolution has arrived just in time. Here are three ways software and cloud services companies can use AI to control costs:

1. Reduce operational costs without degrading service quality

There’s a general consensus among technology leaders that now is not the time to scale back customer support.

According to Zendesk research, 84 percent of technology leaders agree that providing excellent customer service during an economic downturn is even more important.

84% of technology leaders agree that providing excellent customer service during an economic downturn is even more important.

Delivering exceptional CX through omnichannel support and self-service is key to increasing net retention, and AI can help by simplifying the self-service process for everyone involved.

Customers can get instant help for routine questions and processes, reducing wait times and increasing customer satisfaction. CX teams save time and control costs by letting bots handle low-value requests like, “How do I reset my password?”

How Unity saves $1.3 million with Zendesk automations + self-service

Unity, a development platform for 3D projects, responded to rising ticket volume by maximizing its CX system rather than adding new hires.

Since implementing Zendesk AI and self-service, Unity has observed higher usage but fewer tickets overall.

“Last year we deflected almost 8,000 tickets due to self-service enabled by Zendesk,” says David Schroeder, senior manager of services support at Unity. “That amounts to about $1.3M saved due to the reduction in tickets.”

2. Increase productivity without adding headcount

Tech leaders report that customer requests have been increasing, and 82 percent expect that service request volume will increase even more in the next 12 months.

Keeping up with that increase in demand requires that teams work smarter and faster. Customer service teams are already using AI to streamline agent workflows, optimize help center content, and speed up their response times.

The future of AI promises even more opportunities. If you haven’t already, now is the time to start thinking about how your organization can harness AI to deliver intelligent CX that benefits agents and customers.

Limeade enables agents to meet a 60% increase in users without adding more headcount

Before moving to Zendesk, the workforce well-being platform Limeade struggled with Salesforce’s complexity and inefficient escalation procedures.

With the Zendesk agent productivity tools, Limeade empowers its CX team with internal knowledge and training, so agents can handle customer interactions with greater confidence and ease.

Since switching to Zendesk, Limeade has increased its agent productivity metrics and reduced its escalation rate—freeing up more bandwidth for agents in the process.

  • 30% decrease in first response time

  • 35% decrease in resolution time on technical tickets

  • 50% reduction in escalation rate

3. Accelerate net retention and profitable growth with exceptional CX

Economic slowdown or not, customers still expect exceptional service—and not meeting your customers’ high standards could be costly.

According to Zendesk research, 70 percent of customers say they spend more with companies that offer seamless, conversational experiences.

70% of customers say they spend more with companies that offer seamless, conversational experiences.

CX remains a critical business differentiator, especially for tech companies. Customers can easily switch to a competitor if they aren’t happy with the caliber of service they’re receiving.

Using AI and data analysis, you can deliver personalized, high-touch experiences that go above and beyond.

How Qumu retains over 90% of its enterprise customers

Qumu offers a reliable and secure video platform for enterprise companies, but it realized its CX was not quite enterprise-grade.

Without the ability to prioritize customer requests, Qumu’s support team had no way to prioritize top-tier customers versus one-and-one tickets. They didn’t have the data they needed to capitalize on high-value customers and opportunities.

With Zendesk, they’re able to rigorously monitor customer satisfaction and stop customer churn before it happens.

“We were able to make the Qumu support team a competitive advantage, and we know for sure this wouldn’t have been possible if we had stayed with the previous solution,” says Chad Sears, VP of customer success at Qumu.

Controlling costs can be a win for customers, too

Optimizing your CX for efficiency and productivity benefits the bottom line, but it ultimately serves your customers, too.

Bots can deliver instant help for simple questions, and when your customers do have a more complex issue, human agents have the bandwidth to respond quickly. AI and data analysis can make customer service interactions less painful and time-consuming.

With the right tools, everyone wins.

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