Gartner: Top trends vital for customer service in 2021
What are the top trends vital for customer service and support leaders to focus on this year? This hot topic will be discussed during a free live webinar from Gartner to be held at 4pm (GMT) on January 26, 2021.
Discussion topics will include strategic priorities for the coming year, key strategies and investments and challenges that service leaders need to anticipate in 2021.
Each year, Gartner surveys hundreds of customer service and support leaders worldwide to identify their strategic priorities and investments for the year ahead in a bid to help other leaders benchmark their own strategic planning decisions.
The results provide a comprehensive snapshot of which customer service trends and anticipated challenges that the service and support leaders should focus on in 2021.
The webinar will be hosted by Allegra Ubbes, Senior Specialist, Advisory and Andrew Schumacher, Senior Principal, Advisory.
“Customer service and support leaders face increased pressure from leadership on the role of the service function in improving operational excellence and growing the business,” said Ubbes.
“Given this environment, it’s unsurprising that customer service and support leaders’ priorities are rooted in customer experience (CX), managing talent and data.”
The top four priorities identified from Gartner’s survey includes:
- Digital channel and capabilities
- Driving value through a proactive service model
- VoC and customer experience across channels
- Managing talent in the digital era
All the above topics can be accessed from the link below and are presented via guides, research documents, videos and a business roadmap produced by Gartner.
One of the biggest shifts last year was remote working caused by the global pandemic which is explored by Gartner. According to recent statistics, 71% of service leaders said a total of 90% of their staff are now working from home compared to before COVID-19.
Managing talent in the digital era is one of the key priorities due to be discussed.
“Due to the spread of COVID-19 coronavirus, remote work is suddenly an overnight requirement for many and may become more common for most post-pandemic,” comment Gartner.
“Customer service and support leaders who are considering establishing a work-from-home program as part of a business continuity plan, for rewards and recognition, to contain costs or offer support can use our roadmap to help speed up the process.”
The top priority identified by Gartner in their report, 2021 Customer Service Trends and Priorities, is the importance of digital channels.
“Customer service leaders feel a distinct pressure to meet customers’ expectations for digital service channels and keep pace with competitors’ service offerings. As a result, service leaders spend a disproportionate amount of time adding or integrating channels,” said Gartner.
“However, our research finds that this creates a costlier, more complex network of channels to manage without improving the customer experience and insufficient reduction in live volume.”
To join the webinar by Gartner, click on the link below.
Marketing matters: from IBM to Kyndryl
Prior to joining Kyndryl as Chief Marketing Officer, Maria had a 25-year career at IBM, most recently as the tech giant’s CMO where she oversaw all marketing professionals and activities across North America, Canada and Latin America. She has held senior global marketing positions in a variety of disciplines and business units across IBM, most notably strategic initiatives in Smarter Cities and Watson Customer Engagement, as well as leading teams in services, business analytics, and mobile and industry solutions. She is known for her work with teams to leverage data, analytics and cloud technologies to build deeper engagements with customers and partners.
With a passion for marketing, business and people, and a recognized expert in data-driven marketing and brand engagement, Maria talks to Business Chief about her new role, her leadership style and what success means to her.
You've recently moved from IBM to Kyndryl, joining as CMO. Tell us about this exciting new role?
I’m Chief Marketing Officer for Kyndryl, the independent company that will be created following the separation from IBM of its Managed Infrastructure Services business, expected to occur by the end of 2021. My role is to plan, develop, and execute Kyndryl's marketing and advertising initiatives. This includes building a company culture and brand identity on which we base our marketing and advertising strategy.
We have an amazing opportunity ahead at Kyndryl to create a company brand that will stand apart in the market by leading with our people first. Once we are an independent company, each Kyndryl employee will advance the vital systems that power human progress. Our people are devoted, restless, empathetic, and anticipatory – key qualities needed as we build on existing customer relationships and cultivate new ones. Our people are at the heart of this business and I am deeply hopeful and excited for our future.
What experiences have helped prepare you for this new opportunity?
I’ve had a very rich and diverse career history at IBM that has lasted 25+ years. I started out in sales but landed explored opportunities at IBM in different roles, business units, geographies, and functions. Marketing and business are my passions and I landed on Marketing because it allowed me to utilize both my left and right brain, bringing together art and science. In college, I was no tonly a business major, but an art major. I love marketing because I can leverage my extensive knowledge of business, while also being able to think openly and creatively.
The opportunities I was given during my time at IBM and my natural curiosity have led me to the path I’m on now and there’s no better next career step than a once-in-a-lifetime-opportunity to help launch a company. The core of my role at Kyndryl is to create a culture centered on our people and growing up in my career at IBM has allowed me to see first-hand how to prioritize people and ensure they are at the heart of progress in everything Kyndryl will do.
How would you describe your leadership style?
I believe that people aren't your greatest assets, they are your only assets. My platform and background for leadership has always been grounded in authenticity to who I am and centered on diversity and inclusion. I immigrated to the US from Chile when I was 10 years old and so I know the power and beauty that comes from leaning into what makes you different from other people, and that's what I want every person in my marketing organization to feel – the value in bringing their most authentic self to work every day. The way our employees feel when they show up for themselves authentically is how they will also show up for our customers, and strong relationships drive growth.
I think this is especially true in light of a world forever changed by the pandemic. Living through such an unprecedented time has reinforced that we are all humans. We can't lead or care for one another without empathy and I think leaders everywhere have been reminded of this.
What’s the best leadership advice you’ve received?
When I was growing up as an immigrant in North Carolina, I often wanted to be just like everyone else. But my mother always told me: Be unique, be memorable – you have an authentic view and experience of the world that no one else will ever have, so don't try to be anyone else but you.
What does success look like to you?
I think the concept of success is multi-faceted. From a career perspective, being in a job where you're respected and appreciated, and where you can see how your contributions are providing value by motivating your teams to be better – that's success! From a personal perspective, there is no greater accomplishment than investing in the next generation. I love mentoring younger professionals – they are the future. I want my legacy as a leader to include providing value in work culture, but also in leaving a personal impact on the lives of professionals who will carry the workforce forward. Finding a position in life with a job and company that offers me a chance at all of that is what success looks like to me.
What advice would you give to your younger self just starting out in the industry?
I've always been a naturally curious person and it's easy for me to over-commit to projects that pique my interest. I've learned over years of practice how to manage that, so to my younger self I’d say… prioritize the things that are most important, and then become amazing at those things.