Contact Center Agents Are Avoiding New Tech – Gartner

Legacy systems and tools are blocking the adoption of new technologies says a Gartner study

A new Gartner study shows CSRs are avoiding new technologies

Published: January 31, 2023

Ryan Smith

45 percent of contact center agents are avoiding adopting new technologies, according to a new Gartner study.

The online survey of 850+ agents and support specialists discovered that people avoid new technology by relying on legacy systems and tools.

Gartner states that agents who have consistent access to outdated tools tend to use them 20 percent more frequently than reps who have less access to them.

Half of the people surveyed reported that they still have access to legacy systems and tools seven to 12 months after a new technology rollout.

Melissa Fletcher, Sr Principal, Research in the Gartner Customer Service and Support Practice, said: “Many leaders believe that certain groups are less likely to adopt new technologies, such as reps who are older or work from home.

However, the survey shows that these groups are not more likely to resist new technology, and what matters instead is reps’ access to legacy systems and tools.

“Shutting down old systems is the single most impactful action that a leader can take to encourage rep adoption of new technologies, but it shouldn’t happen all at once.”

Shutting Down Legacy Systems

It is clear that to get employees to embrace the introduction of new technologies, organizations need to implement shutdown strategies to phase out legacy systems and tools.

As part of its study, Gartner has offered the following approaches that customer service and support leaders can take to ease into shutting down legacy systems:

  • Grouped Features: Organisations can assign features to groups based on the screens or systems that they are in. Then rep access to these groups can be removed one phase at a time.
  • Login Elimination: Gartner suggests removing direct logins to legacy systems and tools. Organizations can only allow legacy login for features not yet implemented in the new technology.
  • Designated User Groups: The final approach is to assign a small group of reps who will have permission to perform actions in the legacy system. Organizations then can remove access for the remaining reps who are not included in the designated user group.

Fletcher has also highlighted to organizations how they can lay the foundations for phasing out legacy systems and tools before taking the above approaches.

She added: “Prior to engaging in any shutdown strategy, customer service leaders should meet with key stakeholders in IT as well as front-line managers to set expectations around the transition period and the issues that are likely to arise.

“Cross-functional teams can better assess causes of reduced performance such as system bugs or user error and develop short-term workarounds to maintain productivity while addressing these issues.”

Despite Gartner stating that legacy systems are getting in the way of new technology, many businesses are still standing by their on-premise systems.

Indeed, during an earnings call in February 2022, NICE CEO Barak Eilam estimated that “85 percent of the market is still on-prem.”

As a result, some vendors appear to be forcing the hand of customers, with Genesys recently announcing the end of its legacy innovation.

Meanwhile, Cisco has moved in the opposite direction, making a commitment to support its legacy contact center customers.

The divergence in tactics from these two contact center stalwart tech vendors is surprising.

Yet, the main takeaway from this research is less about the overall CCaaS strategy. Instead, it seems that vendors must do more to support their clients in helping agents buy into new ways of working.


Digital Transformationhybrid workUser ExperienceWorkforce Optimization

Share This Post