Customer service forecast to increase investment in analytics

Monday, 23 August, 2021

Customer service forecast to increase investment in analytics

Investments in technologies focused on the customer are becoming a top priority for customer service and support (CSS) leaders, according to a survey released by Gartner, Inc. 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 organisations 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 were said to deliver the most value for customer service leaders.

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

The survey forecasts that in two years, the most valuable technologies will revolve around the customer, such as digital self-service platforms and understanding customer behaviour through analytics. Connor Seidenschwarz, principal researcher in the Gartner Customer Service & Support Practice, said it is crucial that leaders understand how customers interact with digital channels in order to contain customers within them, and improve overall customer service. “In fact, most customer service leaders we surveyed view investments in analytics as an investment in improving their self-service capabilities,” Seidenschwarz said.

Past challenges with analytics primarily stemmed from a lack of data, or transforming raw data into actionable insights that can be used to inform decisions. However, CSS leaders indicate that they are overcoming these challenges and anticipate that the largest 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 CSS leaders responsible for service and support strategy and leadership review core service objectives, understand customer preferences and behaviours, and conduct a thorough market scan to select and prioritise technologies for investment.

Gartner encourages CSS leaders to 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. CSS leaders should also gather data on customer behaviours and experiences to identify the technology’s current and potential role in the customer service journey. Gartner also recommends assessing 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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