The Future of Customer Service Technology

Customer service technology has improved significantly over the past few decades. Instead of handwritten pieces of paper with customer concerns or complaints written on them, IT personnel now use digital ticketing systems. Long waits on customer service phone lines have been replaced with live chat services.

Naturally, it can be assumed that customer service technology will continue to change and improve over the next few years. Although no one knows for certain what the future will hold, it’s still possible to make some educated guesses. Let’s take a look at the general direction customer service technologies will take and then we’ll look at three potential ways that these new paradigms could be implemented.

Current and Future Trends in Customer Service Technology

The current direction for customer service is directly connected with the rise in remote workers the world has experienced since the pandemic began. With a computer, a cell phone, and an internet connection, contact center employees can assist customers from anywhere in the world whether it’s through phone, email, live chat, or social media.

With the advent of cloud PBX services, the cell phone part is quickly becoming a luxury instead of a necessity. With phone calls routed through digital exchanges, employees can take calls through a web or software interface.

Today, customer service is generally provided either over the phone, through written communication, or in-person, depending on the situation and the customer’s needs. In the future, however, face-to-face and telephone-based customer service could end up as the exception rather than the rule.

In the future, however, human-to-human interaction in the customer service world will greatly diminish. Instead, the first line of defense will likely be machine-generated, either through virtual reality, augmented reality, or artificial intelligence. Human customer service representatives will still be needed but will be used as a backup or failsafe in case the computer can’t solve the issue. Hardware repairs, naturally, will still require a human to conduct but only as a last resort.

Virtual and Augmented Realities

As virtual reality (VR) technology continues to improve, it will very likely soon be used to help customers. Someone who is having issues with a laptop, for example, could put on a VR headset and initiate a video chat with a repair technician who is also wearing a VR headset.

The tech can then walk the customer through simple diagnostic procedures like restarting the computer, resetting the RAM, or other quick fixes that don’t require physical repairs. They can also spot physical issues with the hardware immediately the way they would if the item had been taken in for an in-person repair.

The process could also potentially involve augmented reality. In a few years, that same technician could project an avatar that would be visible through the customer’s headset and the tech will see a 3D VR image of the laptop. This would allow the customer service agent to run the diagnostics without the customer having to do much of anything.

AI for Customer Service

“AI” has become a bit of a buzzword lately that’s starting to lose its meaning but in this case, it’s accurate. Many companies use AI now for ChatBots, which function similarly to live chats but instead of customer service representatives, the customer is speaking with a bot that uses preprogrammed phrases. And truth to be told, right now, customers are still not exactly impressed.

In the future, these ChatBot systems will truly be powered by AI and capable of thinking on their feet. They won’t rely on the strength of “the script” written by a software programmer but will incorporate technologies like ChatGPT that can understand the customer’s issues without having to be fed stock responses beforehand.

AI could also be used in tandem with AR or VR, as customers can put on their headsets and interact with an AI avatar that helps them either solve their problems or redirects them to a human representative if the AI solutions provided cannot resolve the issue. This would prove a massive benefit to customer service agents, who would interact with fewer customers and save hours of labor that would otherwise have been spent solving simple issues.

Final Thoughts

Customer service technology is rapidly evolving and the systems used 15 years from now will likely be unrecognizable compared to what’s currently used today, just as the technology used in the late 2000s seems quaint and antiquated now. Although no one can be certain what the future will hold, there is a very high probability that AR, VR, and AI technologies will be heavily involved in customer service.