CustomerIn the age of comprehensive networking, social media and multichannel communication, it is important to meet the high demands and expectations of the customer constantly. This requires to complete the human component in the customer service with technology. As contradictory as this may sound at first, it eventually makes customer relationships more human. In fact, the entire customer care industry is at the crossroads and those who don’t make the right turn will lag behind.

The targeted use of up-to-date technology does not mean the end of the customer service staff. Of course, nobody must fear that they will only be connected to talking robots in the future. On the contrary, the vision of the smart call center employee is more that of a human "super-agent”: From the very first contact, he is fully informed about all caller's activities, knows a customer’s likes and dislikes, knows relevant communications via social networks, email etc., and can respond to questions and concerns quicker and more efficient than anybody else.

The vision of such a technical superior call center agent is made possible by the targeted use of highly developed technology. Learning machines and automation technologies are the key to future-oriented concepts that enable the smooth interaction of people and technology. And for this reason, customer-oriented companies must go through a transformation process that involves a total of four stations, which are: operate, analyze, augment and automate.

The first level represents the status quo - and only if it is to be modified, the analysis is carried out. Powerful analysis tools make the facts behind the numbers visible and generate insights that serve as the basis for new models and approaches as well as predictions for future interactions. "Augment" means, above all, the expansion of the possibilities and resources for call center employees using appropriate technology. In other words, if the relevant information from the analysis is available, it’s possible to react faster and better to customer requests, optimizing the workflow and its results at the same time.

The extensive automation of a variety of processes is the last stage of evolution on the way to future-oriented customer service. This requires a sophisticated technology that can understand and draw the right conclusions. This might sound like the perfect vision of a "virtual worker", but rest assured that there is still no intention to replace its counterpart of flesh and blood. Rather it complements it with certain standard processes that create new space for what can only be achieved by real people in the foreseeable future.

The customer service of the future is holistic and is in an automated form already integrated into more sophisticated products such as cars or smartphones. This means that the actions and interactions of the users can be captured via the various channels, and analyzed and made available as required. This creates a highly individualized and personalized customer service that knows all the facts and takes all aspects into account, giving the customer the feeling of being the center of attention with his needs and concerns.

By Daniela La Marca