Research firm Gartner has revealed five emerging trends in technology adoption and where service organizations are getting the most return on investments (ROI) today.
“Technology plays an integral role in the operations and 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.
Service and Support Leaders Are Bullish on Technology
Customer service and support leaders are not only vocally optimistic about technology for 2020. Deployment of technologies has increased to 55 percent of respondents, up 10 percent from 2018. In addition, customer service and support leaders believe these investments will increase in value — with 80 percent of technologies deployed expected to return more value in the next two years than they do now.
Returns Aren’t Immediate
Service technologies that have been deployed for more than two years deliver the most value. This means customer service and support leaders should expect relatively lower ROI during the first two years of deployment. Amid increasing pressure to demonstrate immediate returns from significant investments, customer service and support leaders must exercise caution when setting expectations on returns.
Self-Service and Channel Optimization Command the Most Investments
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.
Rep-Facing and Back-Office Technologies Hold the Most Promise
Customer service and support leaders report seeing the highest ROI — current and anticipated — from technologies that support back-office operations and optimize rep performance. These include 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 percent, customer satisfaction increases by 11 percent and customer effort decreases by 9 percent.
Analytics Have Promise and Limitations
Despite a desire to pursue and adopt new analytics technologies such as predictive, social media, digital, text and speech, customer service and support leaders report they are often held back by staff capacity and expertise or budgetary limitations.
50 percent of customer service and support 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.