Generative AI, digital customer service, and conversational user interfaces (CUIs) are expected to transform customer service and support by 2028, according to Gartner.
The Gartner Hype Cycle for Customer Service and Support Technologies, 2023 report identifies the most important maturing technologies for supporting customers, which range from embryonic (Customer Technology Platform), to highly-hyped (generative AI). There are also mature technologies with significant adoption opportunity still remaining, such as Conctact Center as a Service.
Figure 1: Gartner Hype Cycle for Customer Service and Support Technologies, 2023
“The common theme of these three technologies are their ability to streamline the customer journey and enable customer service leaders to meet customers’ growing expectations. Within the next five years, we expect these technologies to change the face of customer service and support,” said Drew Kraus, VP Analyst in the Gartner Customer Service and Support practice.
Generative AI is the talk of the town; by the looks of it, it will only become even more integrated into every aspect of CX. According to Gartner, 80% of customer service and support organizations will be using generative AI technology in some shape or form to improve agent productivity and overall CX. Currently at the Peak of Inflated Expectations, generative AI will be mainly used for content creation, AI-supported chatbots, and automation of human work.
Indeed, customer experience will benefit from generative AI the most, as 38% of leaders see improving customer experience and retention as the primary purpose of initiatives to deploy applications trained on large language models, reveals a recent Garner poll.
“The impact of AI on the customer service function cannot be overstated. Not only do we expect organizations to replace 20-30% of their agents with generative AI, but also anticipate it creating new jobs to implement such capabilities,” added Kraus.
With the expansion of digital communication channels, customers now anticipate quick and easy customer service experiences. However, the addition of more channels can actually make it harder for customers as they switch between them. The emphasis now is on the smooth coordination of conversations across these channels through digital customer service, driven by the demand for self-service and the rise of conversational AI. This shift has led to the recognition of a fresh domain in customer care known as "digital customer service," as identified by Gartner.
Conversational User Interfaces
CUIs are human-computer interfaces that enable natural language interactions that fulfill a request, such as answering a question or completing a task. This technology allows direct control between the agent and the apps they are using while also automating support via chatbots.
“Customers increasingly expect to be able to interact with the applications they use in a natural way, and this has been accelerated by the emergence of large language model-enabled enterprise applications, such as OpenAI’s ChatGPT and Microsoft 365 CoPilot,” said Kraus. “CUIs will be vital for driving efficiency and meeting customers’ changing expectations.”