While each of you no doubt has several anecdotes to the contrary, I feel like customer service has gotten, dare I say it, better in recent years. I’m not referring to in-store customer service – that’s as hit-or-miss as ever. Rather, I’m talking about the digital realm, the web- or app-based encounters. 

There are many factors at play but it seems like companies are finally finding ways to use technology to help their CSRs deliver a better experience when customers reach out to resolve a problem or answer a question.

Early on, I was afraid that tech applications would evolve no further than the godawful bot-based customer service tools that many consumer-facing sites have, with their cutesy avatars promising to enthusiastically help you with every possible problem when in reality they’re about as useful as the product troubleshooting FAQs that urge you to “make sure the unit is plugged in.”

My hunch was that CSRs now have access to more information and therefore, crucially, have more ability to answer questions and fix those thorny problems that the bot reps cheerfully fail to understand when you type in your query.

According to results from a study released early this year, I was right about the more information part. For its CRM of the Future Survey 2021, software and services company Amdocs commissioned Coleman Parkes Research to survey 3,000 consumers, 100 CRM decision makers in Tier 1 communication companies and 150 of their customer agents to better understand how agents and the technology and systems they use interact.

Here’s the report’s take on the role of technology. Maybe things have already gone too far:

With as many as six systems in place to complete customer processes and an average of three required for every single request, digital adoption is far from seamless for contact center and retail agents. Too many systems – which are often slow and lack integration – are ...