By Tim Joyce

Tim Joyce

“The call center will change dramatically over the next decade due to the growth and adoption of automation.” – Tim Joyce, chief innovation officer for Xerox Customer Care

Customer care is getting more personal, but trends emerging in 2016 indicate that smart machines may be key in the pursuit of individualized service. Xerox has helped our clients create successful customer relationships for more than 25 years, and we’ve noticed four trends that we believe will take root in 2016:

Social Media Support Steps Up

 Today, consumers have low expectations that they can have their problems solved by contacting their preferred brand via social media. In fact, less than 5 percent of support interactions across technology, telecommunications and media sector were conducted on social channels. Clearly, consumers don’t recognize their engagement with brands on social media as support interactions.

But social networks including Facebook and Twitter are working to make their platforms more useful for customer service purposes. Brands that embrace social customer care will see a positive impact on their overall brand satisfaction and improve their customers’ experience.

The Internet of Things Enables “Machine-To-Machine” Customer Care

Consumers will soon be surrounded by connected devices that collect data, process the information and eventually analyze the knowledge. This transformation will make “machine-to-machine” care a reality where customers don’t need to initiate their own service or upgrade. Tools like Xerox’s own Virtual Agent will reside within connected devices, and will hold conversations with each other in order to correct issues – perhaps before they even become apparent to the customer.

Wearable devices that will be connected to other machines will be important to the growth of this service. While only 6.3 percent of those surveyed by Xerox currently own a wearable device, the category is poised for accelerated adoption.

Brands Become Omni-Present

Omni-presence is a distant, more refined cousin of omni-channel. It is an admission that brands cannot be effective on every single channel, but can use advanced analytics to ensure presence in the places most aligned with their customers’ preferences.

The Xerox survey found brands will need to partner with service providers that have experience in a variety of channels and an underlying knowledge management technology that connects the dots, making each support interaction a part of the same, coherent conversation.

Customer Care Agent Becomes a Career

 The call center will change dramatically over the next decade due to the growth and adoption of automation. This shift will relieve professionally-trained agents of the transactional, repetitive interactions that dominate today’s call centers, and allow them to become more emotionally invested in fewer customers who need the most support. With automated options addressing routine transactions, the customer care professional can focus on callers who require the judgment and empathy only an agent can provide.

State of Customer Service

We unearthed some fascinating insights into consumer expectations over data privacy and personalization for technology companies. For instance, 41.6 percent of those surveyed predict that by 2025, there will be no need to contact a call center.

Read our recent State of Customer Service 2015 survey to learn more.

(This article is an excerpt from this Xerox press release.)