Technology Is Changing the Customer Service Landscape

call center technology visualTechnology is reimagining the inbound customer service experience.  Take Amazon’s Mayday button, provided for free on all new Fire HDX tablets, for example.  The company initially projected that Mayday would respond to queries within 15 seconds, but Amazon has recently reported that that actual response time is a mere 9.75 seconds.  


To understand how technology can help deliver a better customer experience, it might be helpful to start with an understanding of what customers want.  In a Biz Tech article, customer service trainer Adrian Swinscoe suggested four aspects of customer expectations and desires that can be addressed by technology:

1. Customers want to talk to people.

Indeed, technology is changing the customer service game.  But research shows that 79% of customers still prefer to speak with a customer service representative via the phone.  But as the number of calls goes up, companies face the prospect that customers will be put on hold for long periods of time.  In this regard, technology can be used to let customers know how long they’ll be on hold, which can ease frustration and keep the customer engaged.

2. Customers lose stuff.  

Consumer affinity for loyalty cards continues to grow, but with this growth comes the burden of carrying and keeping track of numerous loyalty cards.  Technology is coming to the rescue in the form of loyalty card mobile apps:

  • Loyalli and Belly are two of the newest apps that are able to serve as digital replacements if the original plastic card is lost or damaged.

3. Customers like easy payments. 

Payment is being set free from traditional point-of-sale systems.  Mobile technology is allowing businesses of all sizes and across all industries to move from cash-only operations to ones that can take card payments, better aligning themselves with many of their customers’ cashless lives.

4. Customers like to help themselves. 

This is not as much about new technology in itself. but how technology-related advances are helping with the customer service experience.  Customers want self-service options that allow them to research a company or solve problems on their own.


Technology is obviously great for creating efficiencies and streamlining processes.  But in the customer service world, the focus is on using technology to enhance the experience through more personalized care-- which has quickly become the fastest emerging trend in the industry.  

Mayday is one example of how technology can be harnessed to personalize and improve support and service calls, but the most compelling advancement in personalized customer service is the Intelligent Virtual Assistant (IVA).  

IVA is an interface that allows machines to use conversation to understand a user’s intent and transform an interaction into an intuitive experience.  

The most notable IVA is Apple’s Siri which allows iPhone users to control their phones by speaking a command in natural language, thereby reducing the time needed to complete simple tasks.  As IVAs evolve, they will enhance the customer experience on a number of levels:

  • They can serve thousands of customers at once
  • They are on the clock 24/7.
  • They can work across any channel, in any language
  • They navigate users directly to the content they need

Another fascinating advance in service technology comes by way of technology provider In The Chat.  It’s a new text message tool that routes text message queries from customers to an appropriate agent within one second of a text being sent.  Writing in Internet Retailer, Amy Dusto gives an example of how the new technology will work

“Someone in a home improvement store look for a power washer could text a number posted in the aisle to ask where the produce is and in seconds receive a response to head to aisle 7.  The text message tool uses geolocation technology to provide a shopper’s location to call a call center agent, who can look up the store floor plan.”

Inbound customer service is about much more than an agent taking a phone call.  It’s about businesses using the most advanced technology to engage with customers on a variety of different levels.

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