The future of customer service is less about the people than it is the sound of a person or the virtual image of an individual.
Humans are just so inefficient. But they can be improved, too, through interfaces that provide them more automated capabilities.
Salefsorce.com is on the edge of this trend. It continues to acquire companies that automates an agent’s tasks to become more efficient and customers to experience a less odious way of getting their issues answered. This week it acquired GoInstant, which makes it easier for anyone in a customer experience role to share a Web page. It requires no plug-in. It’s simply a URL that connects the agent and the customer .
Other examples include Zendesk, which now provides customers with a new Facebook private messaging capability. And Twilio now says developers can create apps that send SMS messages to people in 150 countries. That also provides a a new level of automation that can be built into a customer experience environment.
“In the customer care and collaboration realm, this sort of infrastructure empowers users to designate when and how they want messages delivered to them as part of “unified communications,”said Dan Miller, senior analyst and founder at Opus Research.
What these companies are doing is just a warm up. We are entering an age of virtual agents, soothing Sir-style voice recognition and immediate verification through biometric data.
Here are three examples that Miller has been writing about on the Opus blog:
Virtual Personal Assistant: Meet Lola. She’s a Web-based virtual assistant created by the BBVA, the Spanish financial services provider. BBVA has a long history of providing customer-centric experiences. Lola is known for her human-like understanding of what customers are communicating either through typing or talking into their computers. The idea is to create a personal experience that is conversational and comes with a high degree of understanding between Lola and the people she is helping.
Siri-Like Service: Dragon ID, also by Nuance, is a voice authentication service that wakes up when it hears you talk. It can change accounts on a device based upon the voice of the person. That means a change from passwords we type to “passphrases.” The voice is the password. That has endless application in a customer centric environment. It means it make it easier to complete transactions. The voice can recognize you and complete a transaction with a mobile wallet application.
Customer experience is going through a rapid innovation cycle. It makes sense. Humans need lots of help.