May 26, 2016
Though adoption was fairly flat compared to the 2015 data, the following categories had adoption increases over last year:
These tools, which automate the renewal process, first appeared in the Global Technology Survey in 2014, and this year saw the highest adoption gain of any category of the survey, increasing 10%, from 43% in 2014 to 53% in 2015. However, the largest percentage of adopters are using homegrown solutions, which are unlikely to contain the sophisticated capabilities included in best-of-breed solutions, such as proactive alerts and trend analysis.
These tools are used to collaborate with other employees, as well as with customers, and have expanded from use primarily within support services to include use cases from managed services, field services, education services, and customer success. Already highly adopted in 2015 by 82% of respondents, that number rose even higher to 86% in 2016, second in adoption only to CRM (89%) in the 2016 survey.
Online communities may have initially been used to create customer communities or discussion forums, but now companies routinely leverage communities for employee collaboration and knowledge sharing, and the wall between customer and employee communities is starting to come down. Community adoption rose from 71% in 2015 to 74% in 2016.
The areas with the highest planned spending in 2016-2017 are:
Selecting, implementing, and increasing adoption of customer self-service portals is a very popular inquiry topic, so it is no surprise that many companies have budget earmarked to overhaul or improve their existing customer portal. But the percent of companies planning an additional investment in customer portals is so high—50% in 2016 and 37% in 2017—that TSIA Research believes companies are under pressure to boost self-service success rates and deflection. More service organizations understand that customers prefer self-service to assisted support, and expanding self-service options to meet the needs of more customers is a win-win scenario.
These tools, used by all disciplines, measure customer sentiment at each stage of the customer journey and identify friction points that increase customer effort or otherwise impact customer satisfaction or loyalty scores. Though most voice of the customer analysis started in support services, there are new and expanding programs being introduced across every phase of marketing, sales, and service.
Tools to capture and share knowledge have always been common in support. With 65% of members indicating budget for new or additional knowledge and content management tools, we are seeing other disciplines actively working to better capture and share information across the enterprise and to expose more content to partners and customers.
While spending on online communities for customers is beginning to slow as adoption reaches critical mass, internal communities or enterprise collaboration platforms have emerged as a hot investment area. A full 63% of TSIA members are planning new or additional investments in communities and collaboration, with a chunk of this spending planned on employee collaboration tools within field services and professional services.
Thanks to everyone who took the time to complete the survey this year! I'd also like to give a special thanks to TSIA's editor, Suzanne LaBounty, who worked very hard to edit and publish the findings from this survey as well as all of TSIA's research reports in the weeks leading up to our recent Technology Services World conference so that we could share the results with our attendees. Be sure to stay tuned for more surveys like this one, where your participation directly contributes to helping us get the most accurate picture of what's happening in the industry, allowing us to provide you with more industry summaries like the 2016 Technology Services Heatmap. Until next time, thanks for reading!
John Ragsdale is the distinguished vice president of service technology research, for TSIA. His area of expertise is in creating strategies for improving the service operations and overall customer experience by leveraging innovative technology. Ragsdale drives TSIA's highly regarded technology research agenda, delivering insightful, thought-leadership research and analysis on the most pressing business issues facing services leaders to enable them to better plan and execute their service strategies. He is also author of the book, Lessons Unlearned, which chronicles his 25-year career inside the customer service industry.
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