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64% of Customer Service and Support Leaders Will Focus on Business Growth in 2022 - Gartner

Sixty-four percent of customer service and support leaders report “grow the business” is their most critical priority in 2022, according to a survey by Gartner, Inc. The results of Gartner’s survey of 170 customer service and support leaders, conducted in August-September 2021, indicate a significant shift towards adding value and growing existing clients for a function that has historically been viewed as a cost-center with the sole purpose of retention.

“Business growth as a goal is well-aligned with the idea of value-added customer service that creates more value for the customer beyond simply resolving their issue,” said Brad Fager, research director in the Gartner Customer Service & Support practice. “Adding value in customer service interactions can lead to new revenue streams while also protecting existing ones. As a result, strategies that focus on enhancing value are prevalent and growing. In fact, 82% of organizations either have or plan to implement a value enhancement strategy.”

Gartner identified two approaches that organizations pursuing such value enhancement strategies should follow. The first approach is to look for patterns throughout the customer base to find groups that are in need of, or more open to, added value. The second approach is mining customer data to flag individual customers in need of more value.

Other notable trends in this year’s survey results include the need for effective knowledge management systems and a greater focus on self-service adoption.

On talent management topics, remote workforce planning deprioritized in favor of more effective knowledge management systems

Modern frontline reps encounter heightened role demands that have elevated the minimum knowledge requirements for success. However, they also operate in a remote setting where a strong knowledge source (direct interactions with peers) has become scarcer. Service leaders are confronting this paradox and plan to focus less on operating a remote workforce in favor of more effective knowledge management systems that enable more productive rep workflows.

“To foster effective knowledge management practices, customer service and support leaders should prioritize people and process ahead of decisions on a tech solution, especially in the early stages of building knowledge management,” added Fager.

On digital and self-service topics, increasing adoption and containment in self-service channels remains a top focus

The basics of self-service adoption remain the greatest focus for service and support leaders. In 2022, leaders must look beyond simply improving their self-service channels and consider the holistic customer journeys that start on search engines and organization websites.

For example, optimizing the customer site navigation and transitions across channels is a significant, untapped opportunity for customer service. Leaders can design a site navigation experience that guides customers toward self-service solutions while introducing assisted service at strategic points in the customer journey.

About Gartner for Customer Service & Support Leaders

The customer service and support function is vital to maintaining customer loyalty and influencing brand perceptions. Gartner for Customer Service & Support Leaders provides indispensable insights, advice and tools needed to achieve service and support leaders’ mission-critical priorities, specifically improving the customer experience while managing costs. Gartner’s research, advice and best practices equip customer service and support leaders to design an optimal service channel strategy; measure and reduce customer effort; and hire, develop and retain high-potential frontline talent.

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