Customer service to significantly increase investments in chatbots, AI and analytics in next 2 years: Gartner

Gartner research signals a shift from rep-enablement technologies to increasing focus and investments in understanding customers through analytics

Customer service to significantly increase investments in chatbots, AI and analytics in next 2 years: Gartner - CIO&Leader

Investments in technologies focused on the customer are rapidly becoming a top priority for customer service and support (CSS) leaders, according to Gartner. In a survey of 89 service leaders in May-June 2021, respondents evaluated 51 technologies to assess how they are currently being used, the value they provide service organizations and what bets service leaders would place on their future importance.

Among all 51 technologies surveyed, case management, consolidated agent desktop, internal collaboration tools, online account portal and unified communications, currently deliver the most value for customer service leaders.

“Customer service and support leaders derive value from these technologies because they support an important part of their operations,” said Lauren Villeneuve, senior principal in the Gartner Customer Service & Support Practice. “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.”

In two years, the anticipated most valuable technologies revolve around the customer, through digital self-service platforms and understanding customer behavior 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,” said Connor Seidenschwarz, principal, research in the Gartner Customer Service & Support Practice. “In fact, most customer service leaders we surveyed view investments in analytics as an investment in improving their self-service capabilities.”

Past challenges with analytics stem primarily from a lack of data, or transforming raw data into actionable insights that can be used to inform decisions. However, CSS leaders indicate they are overcoming these challenges, and anticipate that the largest increases in value over the next two years will come from technologies that analyze 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 behaviors, and conduct a thorough market scan to select and prioritize 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 behaviors 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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