Contact Center Solutions Featured Article

Xerox Executive Predicts a Future of Automated Customer Service

June 03, 2013

The face of customer support is changing radically. In his guest piece for Forbes, James O’Brien of Xerox related the insight that managing director for Xerox, Christina Morris, had to offer on the topic. In “The Future of Online Customer Support,” Morris proposes three categories that make the customer support “shortlist”: app-based customer support, interactive voice response and virtual device interventions.

The first of these, app-based customer support, is pretty self-explanatory: an app will allow business to communicate in real-time with customers and partners. The next, IVR, has never been met with satisfaction by consumers in the past. According to Morris, this is because it has not “been robust enough.” To work in the future, she says, “…it has to be simple and it has to work. The options have to be very clear… if you’re going to do voice recognition, it has to be with a high degree of accuracy.” Once IVR has evolved to the point that it is, in fact, satisfactory to consumers, Morris predicts that humans will take “only the most intricate and nuanced of problems.”

Morris also sees a future in which customer support will work like WebMD, allowing users to visit device-specific sites that allow users to gain insight in a revolutionary new way. O’Brien urges readers, “Imagine if you could network with a virtual device that actually diagnosed and pushed solutions through to your machine.”

While these insights (and the predicted 80 percent that companies could save on customer service) are certainly interesting, none of them sound much like anything that will do more than frustrate consumers. Already, companies committed to superior customer service and the human touch, like Zappos, are making their name based on this outstanding service. In the future that Morris predicts, it is easy to see how such companies will easily out-earn and out-survive any of the companies that take automation to an even further and more annoying point than it has already reached.

Edited by Rachel Ramsey