Published on November 16, 2023, 8:31 pm

A recent online survey conducted by Gartner sheds light on the main obstacle to adopting new technologies in customer service: access to legacy systems. The survey, which involved 888 customer service representatives (CSRs) and support specialists, revealed that 45% of them avoid embracing new technologies because they rely on outdated systems and tools.

Contrary to popular belief, age or remote work status does not determine a person’s likelihood of resisting new technology adoption. According to Melissa Fletcher, a senior principal researcher at Gartner Customer Service and Support practice, what truly matters is the level of access these representatives have to legacy systems and tools.

The survey findings further demonstrate that reps with consistent access to outdated tools utilize them 20% more frequently than those with limited access. Additionally, half of the respondents reported still having access to legacy systems and tools seven to 12 months after the introduction of new technology due to the challenges associated with their removal.

To encourage representatives’ adoption of new technologies, Melissa Fletcher suggests that shutting down old systems is the most impactful action leaders can take. However, she advises against executing this change all at once. Instead, she recommends three gradual approaches:

1. Grouped features: Categorize features into groups based on their location within screens or systems. Then gradually remove rep access to these groups one phase at a time.

2. Login elimination: Restrict direct login to the legacy system and only permit legacy login for features that are yet to be implemented.

3. Designated user groups: Assign a small group of reps with permission to perform actions in the legacy system while revoking access for the remaining reps.

Fletcher emphasizes the importance of communication between customer service leaders, key stakeholders in IT, and front-line managers before implementing any shutdown strategy. This collaboration aims to establish realistic expectations during the transition period and address potential issues proactively.

By forming cross-functional teams comprising IT experts and managers alike, organizations can better assess the causes of reduced performance, such as system bugs or user error. This collaboration enables the development of short-term workarounds to maintain productivity while resolving these issues.

In conclusion, outdated legacy systems present a significant barrier to customer service modernization. To overcome this obstacle and successfully adopt new technologies, organizations should prioritize shutting down old systems gradually and engage in open communication with relevant stakeholders. By doing so, they can pave the way for embracing innovative solutions that enhance customer service and support capabilities.

The original article can be found on FutureCIO.


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