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Laser focus on customer-oriented tech top priority for customer service industry - report

Tue 17 Aug 2021

Customer service and support (CSS) leaders are rapidly investing in emerging customer-focused technologies, according to new research from Gartner.

In a survey of 89 service leaders between May and June this year, respondents evaluated 51 technologies to assess how they are currently being used, the value they provide service organisations and what they think the future holds for them.

According to the survey, the five most valuable technologies for CSS leaders were:

  • Case management
  • Consolidated agent desktop
  • Internal collaboration tools
  • Online account portal
  • Unified communications.

“Customer service and support leaders derive value from these technologies because they support an important part of their operations,” says Gartner senior principal for customer service and support practice Lauren Villeneuve.

“Additionally, they support new operational needs of managing a remote workforce, new demands and expectations from customers and heightened expectations for service to deliver improved customer experience and value.”

Gartner principal of research for customer service and support practice, Connor Seidenschwars, says the most valuable technologies of the last two years have revolved around the customer — through digital self-service platforms and understanding customer behaviour through analytics.

“It is crucial that leaders understand how customers interact with digital channels in order to contain customers within them, and improve their overall customer experience,” says Seidenschwars.

“In fact, most customer service leaders we surveyed view investments in analytics as an investment in improving their self-service capabilities.”

A lack of data presented analytics problems to CSS leaders in the past, resulting in an inability to transform raw data into actionable insights.

But according to Gartner, CSS leaders indicate they are overcoming these challenges — and many anticipate that the most significant increases in value over the next two years will come from technologies that analyse and leverage customer data.

As the technology landscape advances, Gartner recommends that customer service and support leaders responsible for service and support strategy and leadership take the following actions:

  • Review core service objectives, understand customer preferences and behaviours and conduct a thorough market scan to select and prioritise technologies for investment.
  • Collaborate and coordinate with other functions, including IT, marketing and finance, to understand existing plans or technology and their perspectives and identify areas of coordination.
  • Gather data on customer behaviours and experiences to identify the technology’s current and potential role in the customer service journey.
  • Assess the performance of existing technologies by evaluating usage, cost, customer experience, rep experience and strategic relevance, and how they fare against market trends.
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