Great customer service helps control costs as companies squeeze out operational efficiencies. It also fuels sustainable top-line revenue growth by providing differentiated experiences that keep customers loyal to your brand.

We just finished assessing 20 of the most important technologies in customer service in terms of their maturity and business value. Here are some of our core findings:

  • No surprise — New channels are slow to get adopted, and old channels refuse to die. 2017 saw excitement for messaging, video, and chatbot interactions. But most customer service organizations have been slow to adopt these channels. Channels like social and cobrowse still only have niche uses. On the other hand, legacy channels like email are still widely used even though other real-time channels offer better experiences.
  • AI is the driving force behind the changes in all aspects of customer service technology today. For example, AI and automation help streamline inquiry capture and resolution; automate repetitive, onerous tasks that kill agent productivity; and fuel automated customer conversations. AI-infused technology optimizes agent schedules and makes field operations more efficient.
  • AI and automation do best when connected to humans. Automation and AI are technologies that require adult supervision. Agents need to be involved in all steps of AI, from helping train models to supervising their performance and handling escalations when automation fails.
  • Workhorse technologies hang in there. The backbone of customer service operations rests on the shoulders of very mature technologies. These include contact center interaction management (CCIM), workforce management, quality management, and case management. Even though they are mature, these technologies show no signs of retiring soon.
  • Cloud is a given, not an option. Forrester finds that only about one in four customer service technology deployments remains on-premises. Enterprise concerns about the security, reliability, and scalability of cloud solutions are in the rearview mirror. Enterprises that demand on-premises solutions are now the exception rather than the rule.

Have a look here at how we evaluated these technologies, and send us feedback on your points of view.