According to the Gartner 2022 Customer Service and Support Priorities Poll, this year's top two priorities for customer service leaders are centered on supporting business growth and improving operational excellence. This indicates a significant shift toward adding value and growing existing clients for a function that has historically been viewed as a cost center with only some purview over retention.
“The past two years have been disruptive for the workplace, so it’s more difficult than ever to know if your organization is focusing on the right set of priorities,” said Brad Fager, Gartner Research Director. “The results from our annual priorities poll help customer service and support leaders ensure their 2022 plans are aligned with other organizations and current trends.”
Watch now: The Top Strategic Priorities for Customer Service Leaders in 2022
Priority No. 1: Business growth
Sixty-four percent of customer service and support leaders report “growing the business” is their most critical priority in 2022. To achieve this, it’s important to have a value enhancement strategy.
Value enhancement centers on ensuring customers achieve and appreciate maximum utility from the products or services they’ve already purchased from a supplier and feel confident in their ongoing partnership with the organization.
“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 Fager. “Adding value in customer service interactions can lead to new revenue streams while also protecting existing ones. As a result, 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:
- Look for patterns throughout the customer base to find groups that are more in need of or open to added value. For example, new customers are particularly in need of more value due to their lack of familiarity with the membership. Build a strategy to ensure they receive particular attention.
- Mine customer data to flag individual customers in need of more value. You can use the commonalities among former customers to predict current customers most at risk of attrition and tag them in your CRM. When those customers contact your organization, the expectation is that they’ll be treated differently due to their at-risk status.
Priority No. 2: Improving operational excellence
The second greatest priority for service organizations in 2022 is to improve operational excellence. To do this, leaders are focused on talent and operations management, and channel strategy and execution.
On talent and operation management topics, remote workforce planning is being 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 more scarce.
Service leaders are confronting this paradox and plan to focus more on effective knowledge management systems that enable more productive rep workflows. To foster effective knowledge management practices, prioritize people and process ahead of decisions on a tech solution, especially in the early stages of building knowledge management.
On digital and self-service topics, increasing adoption and containment in self-service channels remains a top focus. In 2022, you must look beyond simply improving your 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. Aim to design a site navigation experience that guides customers toward self-service solutions while introducing assisted service at strategic points in the customer journey.