Evolving Priorities of Customer Care Leaders in 2024

  • 16 May 2024
  • 6 Min Read
The current digital-first world has experienced a huge paradigm shift in customer expectations. Customer care nowadays is not only about resolving customer issues; it is much more than that. Gartner stated that in 2024, customer service leaders would prioritize self-service, customer journey analytics, and implementing generative AI-powered assistants. In this blog, we will explore the changing priorities of customer service leaders in 2024.

2024 could be a transformative year for customer service leaders. Apart from meeting the ever-changing customer expectations and the revenue target, you might feel pressured and challenged to prepare your organization for an AI-enabled future. Today’s digital-savvy GenZ customers expect hyper-efficient, digitized, and yet personalized care, which is enough to keep you on your toes. Different generations of customers feel comfortable communicating through different channels; for example, Gen Z picks up the phone, and baby boomers feel comfortable with chat support. Besides disrupting customer expectations and behavior, AI technology adds to your woes by reshaping the contact center from how it used to work with human agents.

A survey conducted by a leading consulting company in January and February 2022 about customer service and support revealed that 54% of the respondents used chatbot, VCA, or other conversational AI to help their customers. The same research and consulting firm predicted that around 70% of organizations will use AI-driven virtual agents to help their customers, saying that chatbots will likely become the primary customer service channel by 2027.

Customer Care Leaders Getting Prepared for AI-enabled Future

Undoubtedly, AI is driving the future of customer service, and you need to accelerate its adoption to thrive in the dynamic corporate landscape. Things become difficult when the challenges faced in 2022 still remain a concern to address. A survey conducted another pre-eminent Management Consulting company in the same year presented that the main drive for customer care leaders was to improve customer experience, reduce contact volumes, and increase revenue generation on service calls.

However, many leaders are facing a technological dilemma that is quite real. Amid all technological advancements and AI-driven chatbots replacing the conventional call center environment, what happens when the digitally enabled model underperforms? As a result, you are expected to pick up some entirely different approaches or concepts for performance improvement. It becomes more challenging when you struggle with regular customer service issues, such as increasing call volumes, employee attrition, and a constant dearth of talent.

While some of you face these challenges, others, mainly the largest consumer-facing technology companies, are reaching outstanding standards in digitally empowered customer care. Naturally, such a remarkable level of customer service has put daunting pressure on the other companies to level up their game. Such a huge paradigm shift where AI-driven agents take over customer service ruled by human agents can be quite unnerving and a major disruption in the customer care landscape.

A Strategic Shift in Central Operations

A few years back, customer service leaders had essentially one top priority: delivering exceptional customer experience. Customer experience was followed by improving operational efficiency, adapting to advanced technologies, and finally, revenue generation. Revenue generation, which existed down the list of priorities for customer service leaders, started gaining more significance with transformative evolution in the customer care landscape. Interestingly, though, in the last two years, adopting advanced technology and enhancing operational efficiency has become the trend in the corporate ecosystem. There is a rising expectation that customer care functions will not only be able to do everything but do it quite efficiently

Leaders in the current customer-centric market know that engaging your customers is crucial. Instead of aiming to reduce contact volume like a few years back, leaders in most customer-facing companies have wanted their call volumes to increase in the last couple of years. Customer service leaders worldwide acknowledge the significance of direct personal interaction, even among young digital natives. While Gen Z consumers like to use multiple channels to communicate with a brand, 75% of respondents in a survey preferred to text over the phone.

Amidst the popularity of self-service among today’s consumers, some companies have witnessed that quite a significant number of consumers prefer to call irrespective of age and internet generation. A financial company reported that many of their premium consumers pointed out that live phone support is a part of the premium service they pay for. However, it doesn’t mean we are heading toward a phone-only customer service realm. Just as personalized communication over the phone is important for consumers, they want to enjoy the flexibility of using multiple channels at their convenience.

While AI-enabled digital chat has gained popularity, email is not going anywhere, and it retains its significance among businesses and older customers. Customer service leaders face an overwhelming task to excel in customer care across multiple channels. It becomes all the more tricky when you are on a tight budget, leading companies to implement automation for increased efficiency at a lower cost and leverage outsourcing. No wonder priorities are changing constantly and rapidly for customer service leaders.

Crucial Priorities Driving Customer Service Leaders

Unlike the “good old days,” when providing amazing customer experiences used to be the only concern of customer service leaders, things are changing fast. Some major concerns of customer service leaders currently are:

  • Apart from stellar customer experience, they need to think about achieving revenue goals and technology advancements
  • Build an AI-enabled futuristic ecosystem
  • Invest in employee upskilling programs and build strong outsourcing relationship

Among the shifts in customer expectations and behavior, a Gartner survey of 246 customer service and support leaders revealed three key priorities in 2024, which include the following:

  • Offering self-service
  • Utilization of Generative AI
  • Leveraging Customer Journey Analytics [CJA]

Customers today are more digitally savvy than before, especially Gen Z customers demanding quick, hassle-free services across all channels. You can think of investing in Gen AI-empowered conversational self-service proficiently, providing human-like responses across channels like WhatsApp or Instagram Messenger. Though Gen AI drives the momentum for self-service investments, many organizations face implementation challenges, ranging from resistance within the company to scattered data.

You can use Customer Journey Analytics to better understand your customers’ needs and enhance your customer experience. It helps you analyze how your customers interact with your business across the channels over time. In the Gartner survey, 56% of customer service leaders outlined a plan to invest in a CJA within the next couple of years.

Conclusion:

Customer service is undergoing a massive transformation with constantly evolving customer expectations and an unprecedented pace of technological advancements. Thriving in this dynamic landscape would require embracing innovation, Gen AI, automation, and data-driven insights. However, customers want personalization amid AI-driven conversation, craving authentic interactions and meaningful experiences. Thus, as we navigate the evolving priorities of customer service leaders today, it is undeniable that the role of customer care leaders in shaping brand loyalty and driving business success has never been more vital.

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