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Gartner: Businesses delivering “weak” customer service for mobile

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8th Jan 2015
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Gartner believes the key to future customer service success lies with mobile, but says that current business strategy towards delivering better service via mobile phones and tablets is “weak” and “harming customer engagement”.

In a report outlining its predictions for customer service over the coming three years, the analyst house stated that there are currently too many organisations failing to deliver adequate systems for engagement across mobile devices, and that responsibility should lie with IT leaders needing to “innovate in engaging customers on all channels and have the metrics to choose the right projects”.

"Marketing may fill the sales funnel, and the sales department can close a deal, yet it is the overall impression of the organisation generated by the quality of customer service that differentiates one company from another," says Michael Maoz, vice president and distinguished analyst at Gartner.

"Translating this general and departmental customer engagement concept into operational components across the organisation is transforming the definition of customer service from an isolated function into an enterprise objective delivered across all points where the customer "touches” the business.”

The report also specified that the need for increased customer engagement via multiple channels was likely to lead to most businesses adopting technology in the coming years to requirements for "the support of a human intermediary", and that customer service interactions that required human support was likely to be cut in half by 2017. 

Gartner’s predictions for the customer service sector over the coming three years include:

By 2017, one third of all customer service interactions will still require the support of a human intermediary

“Automation and intelligence agents are reducing the percentage of customer support interactions that require a human to solve,” Maoz adds. “However, the pace of introduction channel choice (such as sensors, virtual customer assistants, advanced search, kiosks and in-line video chat) and the focus on personalized customer experiences will require companies in most industries to retain a highly trained core of customer service professionals.

“Looking across industries and the world, nearly 60% of customer service interactions required the intervention of a human support agent in 2014. Gartner predicts that this will be cut nearly in half over the next 24 months through more radical self-service, communities, alerts and mobile devices.”

By 2018, 5% of customer service cases will be initiated by internet-connected devices, up from 0.02%  in 2014.

“The installed base of "things," excluding PCs, tablets and smartphones, will grow to 26 billion units in 2020,” says Olive Huang, research director at Gartner.

“By this time, a home could have more than 500 smart objects collaborating in a personal Internet of Things (IoT). As things, places, people and systems become increasingly connected, the ability to monitor operations, statuses, service levels and many other metrics become possible. The added connectivity, communications and intelligence of things make many of them agents for services that are currently requested and delivered through people.”

More than 100 of the 500 largest global businesses will introduce video-based chat by 2018 for customer-facing interactions.

“Driven by the fast growth of mobile devices and companies' sense of urgency to deliver excellent customer experience as a competitive differentiator, video chat for customer interactions is rapidly rising toward an innovation peak,” says Brian Manusama, research director at Gartner.

“Entering 2015, Gartner estimates that more than 50 of the 500 largest global businesses will introduce video-based chat by 2018 for customer-facing interactions. This is set to double in three years.”

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