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Digital Growth: The Pursuit of New Value Creation

Savvy vendor CEOs know that every employee that comes into contact with a customer can potentially impact new growth. And, they're raising the bar of expectations. Sixty-four percent of customer service and support leaders now report "grow the business" is their most critical priority in 2022, according to the latest market study by Gartner.

The results of Gartner's survey of customer care and support leaders, conducted in August-September 2021, indicate a significant shift towards "adding value" and growing existing clients that have become a top priority for forward-thinking organizations.

"Business growth as a goal is well-aligned with the idea of value-added customer service that creates more value for the customer beyond simply resolving their issue," said Brad Fager, research director at Gartner.

Reimagine Customer Service Value Creation

Adding value in customer service interactions can lead to new revenue streams while also protecting existing ones. As a result, strategies that focus on enhancing value are prevalent and growing. In fact, 82 percent of organizations either have or plan to implement a "value enhancement" strategy.

Gartner identified two approaches that organizations pursuing such value enhancement strategies should follow. The first approach is to look for patterns throughout the customer base to find groups that are in need of, or more open to, added value.

The second approach is mining customer data to flag individual customers in need of more value. Other notable trends in this year’s survey results include the need for effective knowledge management systems and a greater focus on self-service adoption.

Modern frontline reps encounter heightened role demands that have elevated the minimum knowledge requirements for success. However, they also operate in a remote setting where a strong knowledge source (direct interactions with peers) has become scarcer.

Service leaders are confronting this paradox and plan to focus less on operating a remote workforce in favor of more effective knowledge management systems that enable productive customer service rep workflows.

However, that approach may be unwise if employee retention is a concern during the current "Great Resignation" environment. Seeking ways to improve your remote employee experiences seems like a worthwhile exercise -- while knowing that improving online interaction with peers can be achieved.

"To foster effective knowledge management practices, customer service and support leaders should prioritize people and process ahead of decisions on a tech solution, especially in the early stages of building knowledge management," added Fager.

According to the Gartner assessment, the basics of self-service adoption remain the greatest focus for service and support leaders. In 2022, leaders must look beyond improving their self-service channels and consider the holistic customer journeys that start on search engines and end on vendor websites.

For example, optimizing the customer site navigation and transitions across channels is a significant, untapped opportunity for customer service. Leaders can design a site navigation experience that guides customers toward self-service solutions while introducing "assisted service" at strategic points in the customer journey.

Proven Digital Business Growth Strategies

There are numerous untapped opportunities that drive growth, in my opinion. Within the enterprise software market, and SaaS offerings in particular, untapped value is often hidden in complementary products and services. The key is to define all the likely points of value creation within the Total Solution that informed buyers seek from qualified vendors.

Post-sales support roles are now frequently defined as Customer Success Managers (CSMs). They are a unique hybrid role between customer service and sales teams. Their primary purpose is to enable end-users to extract the maximum benefit from the purchased solution and thereby increase SaaS subscription adoption and consumption.

Moreover, customer IT organizations and Line of Business leaders often require access to actionable information and guidance that will help their end-users remove any perceived friction from workflows, and can help to streamline operations or advance desired business outcomes with process automation. 

These are effective digital business growth drivers that will influence most customer senior decision-makers during the solution assessment and procurement process -- it's also an essential foundation for building on a successful customer-vendor relationship.

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