Gartner warns that customer service and support (CS&S) leaders must scrutinize all technology investments for their ability to deliver on customer experience (CX) goals. The analyst identified 33 must-watch technologies on the Hype Cycle for Customer Service and Support Technologies, 2020.
Drew Kraus, vice president in Gartner’s Customer Service & Support practice, says under normal circumstances, customer experience (CX) priorities change annually. COVID-19 has a separate and distinct influence on customer behaviour and preferences.
“As a result, this year’s Hype Cycle encourages service and support leaders to approach the broad range of service and support technologies as an integrated ecosystem of functionality, rather than as a set of separate, compartmentalized systems. In doing so, they can better analyse investments that will provide consistent, effortless, intelligent and holistic customer service experience,” he added.
Gartner has identified five technologies within the Hype Cycle that are generating significant interest among customer service and support leaders with ambitious CX goals (see Figure 1). They include customer engagement hubs, customer service analytics, voice of the customer, chatbots and virtual customer assistants.
Editor’s choice: Gartner outlines top 5 customer service tech trends in 2020
Figure 1: Hype Cycle for Customer Service and Support Technologies, 2020
Customer engagement hubs (CEH): CEH is an architectural framework that ties multiple systems together to engage customers optimally.
It enables proactive and reactive communication, as well as personalized, contextual customer engagement, using humans, artificial agents or sensors, across all interaction channels. For example, it can also reach and connect all departments to enable synchronization of marketing, sales and customer service processes.
Customer service analytics: Customer service analytics is the combination of interaction analytics (desktop, speech and text), customer journey analytics and next best action analytics that collectively surface real-time and historical insight into the customer service experience.
The deployment of customer service analytics has the potential to uncover a diverse range of insights that can be used to improve the performance of the operation and its advisors.
However, a challenge lies in building the business case, because often the insights (and, therefore, the ROI potential) won’t be revealed until the investment has been made.
Voice of the customer (VoC) solutions: VoC solutions combine multiple, traditionally siloed technologies associated with the capture, storage and analysis of direct and indirect customer feedback.
By integrating data from multiple VoC sources, organizations can uncover subtler insights, drive accuracy and ultimately instill more confidence in the actions taken at both the individual customer (such as an outbound call) and overarching strategic (such as a process change) levels.
This holistic approach ensures that the right insight gets to the right employees at the right time. Overall these insights can be used to help manage brand perceptions, understand the customer experience and develop future customer engagement strategies.
Chatbots: A chatbot is a conversational interface that uses an app, messaging platform, social network or chat solution for its conversations.
They vary in sophistication, from simple, decision-tree-based marketing stunts to implementations built on feature-rich platforms.
Chatbots are already in use in customer service and played a strategic role in some companies’ response to COVID-19. This might have an acceleration effect on the technology.
Virtual customer assistants (VCAs): VCA is an application that acts on behalf of an organization to engage, deliver information and/or act on behalf of a customer.
The effective use of a VCA allows organizations to scale the numbers of engagements they can handle, especially in the contact centre.
The use of a voice-enabled VCA in a kiosk or automated teller machine can alleviate the need for typed interventions, and it can help create an interesting interaction for non-traditional audiences.