Bots Gain Importance in Gartner Service Technologies Bullseye

February 20, 2019

Contributor: Jordan Bryan

Service leaders expect use of AI and virtual customer assistants to gain importance in the future.

Wondering what technology your competitors are leveraging? Or where you might want to devote more resources? In the Gartner 2018 Technology Roadmap Survey, 452 service leaders from a variety of industries, business models, contact center sizes and locations provided their perspectives on 45 established and emerging technologies. This survey’s insights informed the Gartner Technologies in Service bullseye. 

The bullseye is intended to provide an objective view of technologies embedded in today’s service landscape, the impact they are having internally and externally, and how these technologies will be important to service leader and contact centers in the future.

“ Sixty-eight percent of service leaders indicate that bots and VCAs will be more important in the next two years”

The bullseye is composed of five slices of related technology. These areas include channels, voice-of-customer tools, infrastructure technology, customer engagement tools and employee engagement tools.

Channel technologies

The largest slice of the bullseye is dedicated to technologies that support live and self-service channels. Many service leaders believe the best way to serve customers is to provide more channel choices, but it’s important to recognize the benefits, costs and limitations of these channels. The bullseye provides a way to understand the landscape and benchmark technology strategy relative to peers in the service center. Gartner Service Technologies Bullseye shows current and emerging trends in technology use.

AI bots and virtual customer assistants

Bots and virtual customer assistants (VCAs) are becoming more widely adopted. They are of medium-high importance now but are expected to grow in importance in the future. These technologies act on behalf of the organization to deliver information or act on behalf of the customer to perform a transaction. Bots and VCAs can guide customers to the right resources at the right time to free up rep resources.

“Sixty-eight percent of service leaders indicate that bots and VCAs will be more important in the next two years,” says Lauren Villeneuve, senior principal, advisory at Gartner. “Service centers should seriously be considering how this technology could be integrated into current operations, in both customer-facing and rep-facing systems.”

Practical use and importance of bots

Leveraging AI bots and VCAs through web chat channels has proved successful for many service centers. Deploying bots can deliver various benefits, including:

  • Greater capability and scale. AI bots are able to solve simple issues while letting advisors focus on the more complex tasks. Additionally, bots are able to help serve a growing customer base without the necessity of adding advisors.
  • Faster chat speed. AI bots can drastically reduce customer wait time. One client reported chatbots replying with five seconds of customer contact, while typical advisors take 51 seconds.
  • Better gatekeeping. AI bots can learn to recognize other bots trying to gain access to systems, thus freeing advisors to only focus on actual customers.

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Recommended resources for Gartner clients*:

Gartner for Customer Service & Support Leaders clients can view the full Service Technology Bullseye in Current and Emerging Technologies in Service.


*Note that some documents may not be available to all Gartner clients.