The four biggest factors driving tech innovation in customer serviceby
Gartner has identified how customer service technology adoption is gathering pace in a number of categories.
Four factors are the driving forces behind much of the technology innovation in customer service and support (CSS), according to research house Gartner.
In its latest Hype Cycle for CSS Technologies, Gartner has concluded that factors including the need to orchestrate processes and efforts to better manage resources have become decisive in the evolution of customer service technology, and the maturing of certain tech platforms.
Gartner's Hype Cycles are used to track how technologies mature, providing a few of how technologies or applications will evolve over time, giving businesses a sense of how urgent and/or risky their adoption is within the context of specific business goals.
“Efforts to increase the use of digital channels and improve automation rates using analytics are driving customer service technology spending, despite economic headwinds,” says Drew Kraus, VP analyst at Gartner. “The technologies on this year’s Hype Cycle aim to enhance customer service, create a more seamless customer journey, and better design and direct future journeys.”
The four factors identified by Gartner are:
1. Getting connected
Creating a seamless customer journey across assisted and self-service channels is the top priority for customer service leaders in 2022, according to Gartner. For this reason, there is increasing adoption of technologies such as contact centre as a service (CCaaS).
CCaaS is a cloud-based application service platform that enables organisations to manage multichannel customer interactions holistically with prepackaged applications to support customers and employee engagement.
“Cloud enables organisations to focus on transforming customer experience (CX), rather than managing the day-to-day technology needs of users, which is fueling the 22% CCaaS market growth to $10.9 billion in 2023,” says Kraus.
Additional technologies on the Hype Cycle within this category include augmented reality for customer support, consumer messaging applications, proactive communications applications and services, and video contact centre.
2. Process orchestration
Businesses are seeking to provide increasingly personalised customer engagements, often via automation. For example, chatbots are expected to become the primary customer service channel for a quarter of organisations within five years as they evolve to handle more involved customer requests.
“Automating interactions in the enterprise has tremendous business impact that cannot be understated,” says Kraus. “The emergence of sophisticated AI voice capabilities have made large-scale call centre automation viable, with huge potential for savings and positive CX.”
Additional process orchestration profiles on the Hype Cycle include customer engagement centre (CEC), customer technology platforms and multi-experience.
3. Knowledge and insight
Innovations within this category centre around the delivery of customer and operational insights, and the recommendation of next best actions across all functional groups. Key technologies on the Hype Cycle here include customer service analytics, customer journey analytics, Voice of the Customer solutions and knowledge management for customer service.
As making better use of analytics and AI remains a top three priority for CSS leaders in 2022, many of the technologies in this category can help. One example is customer data platforms (CDPs), or software applications that support marketing and CX use cases by unifying a company’s customer data from multiple channels. CDPs optimise the timing and targeting of messages, offers and customer engagement activities, and enable the analysis of individual-level customer behaviour over time.
4. Resource management
The final category consists of technologies that are helping businesses to engage and empower employees, resulting in a stronger customer experience.
For example, workforce engagement management (WEM) solutions expand on the already mature workforce optimisation (WFO) market by accommodating complementary technologies – interaction assistance and Voice of the Employee (VoE) – that help drive employee engagement. They are expected to have a high impact on service organisations within two to five years.
“WEM brings a much-needed additional dimension to the management of contact centre employees,” says Kraus. “The increase in gig and freelance workers is putting pressure on customer service departments to ensure a high perception of employee experience, without which securing their commitment will be increasingly challenging.”
Other technologies on the Hype Cycle within this pillar include mobile field service management and field service workforce optimisation.
Click on the image below to enlarge the Hype Cycle.
Neil Davey is the managing editor of MyCustomer. An experienced business journalist and editor, Neil has worked on a variety of newspapers, magazines and websites over the past 20 years, including Internet Works, CXO magazine and Business Management. He joined MyCustomer in 2007.