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STAMFORD, Conn., October 16, 2019

Gartner Highlights Five Critical Technologies for a Unified Customer Service Experience

The 2019 Hype Cycle for Customer Service and Support Technologies Provides Insights on the Top Technologies for Customer Service and Support Leaders

The customer engagement center (CEC) and contact center (CC) have been integrating in silos for decades, with limited sharing of customer interaction channel functionality and data. This has resulted in a fragmented customer experience (CX), according to Gartner, Inc., leaving customers to guess which channel will yield the best and fastest answer.

The Gartner Hype Cycle for Customer Service and Support Technologies, 2019 (see Figure 1) describes the most critical technologies for supporting customers as they seek answers, advice and resolutions to problems, either through a variety of interaction channels or by enabling customer-facing employees to deliver resolution and advice.

“Combining the formerly separate yet closely related Hype Cycle for CRM customer service and customer engagement and Hype Cycle for contact center infrastructure, this new Hype Cycle

encourages customer service and support leaders to combine CEC and CC systems to create a broader technology ecosystem” said Drew Kraus, vice president in Gartner’s Customer Service & Support practice. “In doing so, they can leverage consistent analytics and knowledge tools for gathering, analyzing and sharing critical information and recommendations to both customers and employees.”

Figure 1: Hype Cycle for Customer Service and Support Technologies, 2019

Source: Gartner (October 2019)

Gartner has identified five technologies within the 2019 Hype Cycle that are generating significant interest among customer service and support leaders looking to deliver a holistic and unified CX. They include:

Customer journey analytics: Customer journey analytics track and analyze the way customers and prospects use a combination of available channels to interact with an organization over time. It covers all channels that customers and prospects have used — including human interactions, fully automated, customer assistance, physical locations and limited two-way interaction — providing more valuable insight than tracking by channel alone.

Virtual customer assistants (VCAs): VCAs act on behalf of an organization to engage, deliver information and/or take action on behalf of a customer. They require more infrastructure, have memory and form a relationship with customers. When used effectively, VCAs enable organizations to scale the numbers of engagements they can handle, especially in the contact center.

Chatbots: Chatbots are the No. 1 use of artificial intelligence in organizations today. They vary in sophistication, from simple, decision-tree-based marketing stunts to implementations built on feature-rich platforms. Although chatbots are already in use today, they still have a huge potential to impact the number of service agents employed by an organization, and how customer service itself is conducted.

Conversational user interfaces (CUIs): CUIs are a high-level design model in which the user and machine interact in the user’s spoken or written natural language. Examples include Amazon Alexa and Google Home. Building upon chatbots and virtual assistants, CUIs are responsible for taking the user input and determining the intention of the user.

Knowledge management: Knowledge management for customer service includes the creation, discovery and delivery of various forms of targeted content for support agents, customers, chatbots, peer-to-peer support communities and partners. This technology enables the creation, acquisition, storage, delivery and maintenance of corporate knowledge, information and data in formats that web-based, self-service or mobile applications can easily access.

Gartner Customer Service and Support Leaders clients can learn more about these technologies in the report “Hype Cycle for Customer Service and Support Technologies, 2019.”

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.

About Gartner

Gartner, Inc. (NYSE: IT) delivers actionable, objective insight to executives and their teams. Our expert guidance and tools enable faster, smarter decisions and stronger performance on an organization’s mission critical priorities. To learn more, visit