Gartner Identifies Three Top Priorities for Customer Service

Reimagining self-service, piloting employee-facing generative artificial intelligence, and exploring new offerings in the customer journey analytics (CJA) market will be top priorities for customer service and support leaders in 2024, according to new research released today by Gartner.

These priorities come amid an increasing responsibility for technology strategy in their organizations.

"Advances in genAI and shifting customer preferences are pushing service and support leaders to reimagine what's possible for their organizations in 2024," said Kim Hedlin, senior principal of research, in the Gartner Customer Service & Support practice. "Leaders are focused on how they can leverage technology to accomplish their top priorities, including improving customer experience and optimizing their operations."

Seventy-nine percent of service and support leaders surveyed were knowledgeable about their companies' plans for genAI adoption. Of these leaders, 83 percent said their companies either have plans to invest in genAI or have done so already.

While much of the hype around genAI in customer service has focused on customer-facing chatbots, many service and support leaders plan to invest in employee-facing genAI assistants that will support reps in the next 12 to 18 months. Of leaders whose organizations are planning to make genAI investments, 94 percent are at least exploring employee-facing virtual assistants.

"Many leaders see employee-facing genAI as an experimental step on the way to deploying customer-facing virtual assistants," said J.J. Moncus, principal of research, in the Gartner Customer Service & Support practice. "Respondents indicated it's an important way to learn the risks of genAI while still having a human in the loop, before moving on to riskier customer-facing deployments."

To meet younger generations of customers' growing preference for self-service, many service and support leaders will experiment with new self-service capabilities in 2024, the research also found.

However, these service and support leaders face implementation challenges. Among the service and support leaders who cited self-service adoption as a priority in the survey, 51 percent also named it a significant challenge for 2024. Reasons for this ranged from organizational resistance to data disorganization.

However, early experiments with genAI have helped leaders to envision new possibilities within self-service.

"The genAI hype is providing momentum for leaders' self-service investments," Hedlin said. "Leaders have seen glimmers of a future in which conversational interfaces powered by genAI could handle more complex interactions than a traditional chatbot. That vision is helping shape leaders' self-service strategies in 2024."

Additionally, 56 percent of service and support leaders surveyed say they plan to invest in customer journey analytics in the next 12 to 18 months. CJA enables leaders to analyze customers’ interactions with their organizations over time and across channels. Of those who say they’ll be investing in CJA, 45 percent will be doing so for the first time.

"Customer service and support leaders are using CJA to gain a more holistic understanding of what customers need," Moncus said. "Customers' and executive leaders' expectations for service interactions will only continue to rise. Service and support leaders need to identify and understand significant customer touchpoints in order to deliver a better experience."