“Technology plays an integral role in the operations and future strategy of service organizations — from self-service to improving the customer service rep experience,” said Lauren Villeneuve, senior principal in Gartner’s Customer Service & Support Practice.
The latest research revealed the top five tech trends most important to service and support professionals.
Bullish on technology
Gartner research shows that customer service and support (CS&S) leaders are not only vocally optimistic about technology for 2020, they are backing their optimism with action. This is evident in the increased use of technologies by 55% of respondents, up 10% from 2018.
CS&S leaders also believed these investments will increase in value — with 80% of technologies deployed expected to return more value in the next two years than they do now.
Delayed ROI is ok
Despite growing pressure to demonstrate immediate returns from significant investments, CS&S leaders must exercise caution when setting expectations on returns, suggested the analyst.
Where to focus investment
Gartner says technologies that command the most investments are those related to customer-facing channels, such as self-service, and channel optimization.
Investments continue to grow in web chat, chatbots/virtual customer assistants (VCAs) and video conference, as well as technologies that optimize channels such as search engine optimization, voice biometrics or co-browsing/collaborative interfaces.
Where highest returns will come
CS&S leaders report seeing the highest ROI — current and anticipated — from technologies that support back-office operations and optimize rep performance, including technologies such as workforce management/scheduling software, assistance and task management, learning management systems and unified communications.
When customer service reps feel the systems or tools they use enhance their ability to handle customer issues and simplify their day-to-day work, their productivity can increase by up to 20%, customer satisfaction increases by 11% and customer effort decreases by 9%.
The good and bad of analytics
Despite a desire to pursue and adopt new analytics technologies (predictive, social media, digital, text and speech), CS&S leaders report they are often held back by staff capacity and expertise or budgetary limitations.
Gartner says 50% of CS&S leaders indicate there are analytics technologies that they view as being potentially valuable to their operations, but they have no current plans to implement them due to limitations.
“Knowing which technologies to invest in and when is critical for customer service and support leaders, especially those managing ever tightening budgets,” concluded Villeneuve.