Digital channels and infrastructure, customer service representatives, and data, voice of the customer (VoC) and customer service metrics make up the top three priorities for customer service and support leaders and their organizations’ success going into 2020, according to Gartner, Inc., which conducted a poll of service/support leaders.
“Customer service and support leaders face increased pressure from leadership on the role of the service function in improving operational excellence and growing the business,” says Lauren Villeneuve, senior principal at Gartner. “Given this environment, it’s unsurprising that customer service and support leaders’ top 2020 priorities are rooted in customer experience, service reps and data. These priorities, overall, are very similar to what we’ve seen in the past — but looking into 2020, we also see subtle, but very important, differences.”
Priority 1: Digital channels and infrastructure
To keep up with customer expectations and competitors, many service organizations add and integrate more digital self-service offerings into their portfolios, hoping these new investments will displace costlier live contacts and improve customer experience (CX). However, Gartner research shows these strategies aren’t paying off.
“The add-and-integrate strategy ends up costing organizations more money and doesn’t bring any improvement across customer experience metrics, either,” said Villeneuve. “To truly tackle this issue, service leaders must progress beyond adding new channels and capabilities to making the functional transformation into a self-service-dominant organization.”
Priority 2: Customer service representatives
Self-service channels are now resolving simple issues that reps traditionally answered, leaving reps with the more complex issues to resolve. As a result, service leaders are left wondering whom they should be hiring in this new, more complex era of customer service.
Gartner research shows that there are seven types of frontline reps currently across the customer contact function. Of these seven types, “Controller” reps outperform all other types of reps in delivering a low-effort service experience. This profile succeeds because they naturally provide what customers want in today’s complex and information-rich world — an easy and proactive resolution to their issue.
Priority 3: Data, VoC and customer service metrics
Many service organizations struggle to capture, share and generate value from VoC data. As a result, 67% of service leaders said that it is important for them to address the difficulty of capturing, sharing and generating value from VoC data in 2020. To gather and analyze VoC data to identify actionable insights and improvement opportunities for service and other functions, Gartner recommends a three-step guide:
Set clear, narrowly focused VoC objectives, and gather targeted data to generate actionable insights.
Evaluate customer data gathered from various sources to identify the root causes of customer feedback and determine corresponding improvement opportunities for service, as well as other functions.
Communicate the VoC findings with business partners and customers, and build transparency into the initiatives planned for addressing the areas of concern.
The data provide insights into key imperatives that channel partners should seek to address.