Business growth will be a focus for most customer service and support leaders in 2022. A Gartner survey found that 64 percent of leaders in disciplines cite it as their most critical priority next year, which it notes indicates a significant shift towards adding value and growing existing clients for a function that has historically been viewed as a cost-center with the sole purpose of retention.

“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,” says Brad Fager, research director in the Gartner Customer Service & Support practice. “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 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.

On talent management topics, remote workforce planning was deprioritized in favor of more effective knowledge management systems. 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 more scarce. 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 more productive rep workflows.

“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,” adds Fager.

Regarding digital and self-service issues, increasing adoption and containment in self-service channels remained a top focus among service and support leaders. Gartner recommends that in 2022, leaders must look beyond simply improving their self-service channels and consider the holistic customer journeys that start on search engines and organization websites. 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.