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STAMFORD, Conn., February 11, 2021

Gartner Says Customer Service and Support Leaders Plan to Focus Budget on Digital Channels and Capabilities in 2021

New Research Provides Insight Into Customer Service and Support Priorities for 2021

Seventy percent of customer service and support leaders plan to dedicate the largest budget allocation to digital channels and capabilities in 2021, according to a recent survey by Gartner, Inc. In fact, transitioning to self-service channels and bolstering digital capabilities remains a top priority for many customer service and support leaders for the year ahead.

In October-November 2020, Gartner asked more than 80 customer service and support leaders from B2B and B2C organizations to rate their 2021 priorities based the changes and challenges they encountered in 2020. Migrating contact volume from assisted to self-service channels, upgrading legacy contact center technology and automating customer service processes — all of which fall under digital channels and capabilities were rated the top three most important priorities in 2021 (see Figure 1).

“Although 2020 challenged the operations and strategy of many service and support leaders, the focus on developing a greater digital and self-service product in 2021 remained consistent,” said Jacob Joseph-David, senior principal in the Gartner Customer Service & Support practice. “To deliver on this digital promise, service leaders must progress beyond adding new channels and capabilities to making the functional transformation into a self-service-dominant organization.”

Figure 1: Most Important Priorities for 2021

Source: Gartner (February 2021)

There is also a growing focus on the need to understand the customer’s experience through data. In the next 10 years, service leaders foresee a large shift from simply handling customers’ requests to using customer data to provide high-quality service that handles both the issue at hand and customers’ end-to-end experience.

“Collecting voice of the customer data is one the best tools service leaders can deploy to understand customer experience,” said Mr. Joseph-David. “To facilitate the shift to end-to-end experience, service and support leaders will need to benchmark their current voice of the customer data collection methods, understand value of the data currently collected via each method and the future value of the methods in the next five years.”

Gartner Customer Service and Support Leaders clients can learn more about these priorities in the report "Strategic Trends and Priorities for Service and Support Leaders in 2021".

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 most critical priorities. To learn more, visit gartner.com.

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