• October 28, 2021

Gartner Identifies Five Myths About Customer Service Journeys That Undermine CX Investments

Despite heavy investments in digital channels and capabilities, customer service and support leaders are still clinging to five main myths about what customers want and how they behave today, Gartner cautioned following its recent 2021 Customer Service and Support State of the Customer Survey.

To make better investments for a digitally dominant future, service leaders must understand these myths, their root cause, and the corresponding realities to effectively provide customers with great experiences and build long-term loyalty, the firm contended.

"In recent years, service leaders have accelerated investment in digital channels and capabilities to offer customers a better service experience at a lower cost to the organization," said Brent Adamson, distinguished vice president advisor in the Gartner Customer Service & Support practice. "However, as channel offerings evolve, so too do customer'' use of those channels. As a result, service organizations must keep up with customer behavior trends to better inform their future channel strategy."

Below are the five myths that Gartner identified:

Myth 1: Customers will readily adopt digital channels if provided and promoted.;

Self-service frequently offers the quickest path to resolution for many customer issues, so leaders often assume that if self-service is available and promoted, customers will consistently choose it. However, customers often revert to assisted channels used in the past, leading to avoidance and abandonment of self-service, Gartner research found.

Gartner research shows that many customers begin their service journeys online, presenting an opportunity to redirect customers into digital channels like self-service. To reduce assisted service contact volume, service organizations should use search engine optimization to redirect customers to organization-owned service pages featuring self-service capabilities.

Myth 2: Channel switching leads to poor customer experience and customer disloyalty.

The belief is that with every channel switch, customers must invest more time and effort, which will ultimately result in frustration, lower retention, and negative word of mouth. However, customers don't mind switching channels as long as the issue is resolved in one, continuous interaction, the research found.

Leading service organizations deliberately orchestrate customer journeys by guiding customers to the best-fit channel for their issues. When a channel switch or transfer is necessary, these organizations ensure that 'customers journey context is also transferred, accelerating resolution time and reducing the likelihood of a customer abandoning or requiring a separate interaction, it also found

Myth 3: Great service experiences make customers want to do more business with the organization in the future.

Most service organizations assume that if customers are highly satisfied by the service they receive and their journeys were easy, they will want to remain customers and choose to do more business with the organization in the future. But this is not always the case, according to the research.

While a good service interaction might prevent customers from leaving, it is not enough to retain them. Gartner research indicates customers ultimately display loyalty to the company's product or service offering, not the service experience itself. As a result, organizations should focus more on how to help customers derive more value from the product or service offering, the firm suggests.

Myth 4: Proactive service eliminates the need to contact customer service, reducing call volume.

Many service organizations deploy proactive service to help anticipate and resolve customer issues before customers even know they have a problem. Service organizations believe they can head off unnecessary contacts, eliminating hassle for customers. In theory, this strategy is sound, but in practice, proactive outreach has the exact opposite effect on customer behavior, Gartner maintains.

"While proactive service does not consistently reduce contact volume and cost, it does improve customer experience outcomes," Adamson said. "Proactive service is an effective strategy for improving customer loyalty, but service organizations will need to better integrate proactive service in their broader service channel strategy to manage costs."

Myth 5: Customers seek out and trust customer service channels and information above all else.

When problems arise, service leaders assume customers will instinctively reach out to customer service. However, a majority of customers view contacting customer service as the last resort. This is especially the case with millennials and Gen Z customers who increasingly turn to third-party sites to resolve their issues. Service leaders should account for the use of search and third-party channels when developing channel strategies, Gartner said.

CRM Covers
for qualified subscribers
Subscribe Now Current Issue Past Issues