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Predictions for Customer Care in 2013 and Beyond

In the past year, we’ve seen how social, mobile and video have presented new opportunities to deepen the way companies and customers interact for more efficient and intelligent customer care. As we begin 2013, I wanted to offer up a few predictions on how technology innovations will continue to help organizations build strong relationships and better consumer experiences in 2013 and beyond.

This year, mobile and video will come together to simplify customer service interactions– As video is becoming commonplace, we’re seeing companies look for ways to bring in the right customer service expert instantly. Cisco is currently trialing technology to connect consumers with video experts via mobile devices both in-store or on the road. By pulling intuitive information based on location and what detail the customer has recently looked at on the web or mobile device, this technology will route customers to the right expert to help them get the additional detail they need in a simpler and more efficient manner. Imagine, accessing a paint or decorating expert with just one click in the paint aisle at your neighborhood hardware store or even while you’re outside painting your house.

In the next few years, marketing and customer service responsibilities will merge – Consumers are talking about brands all over the web in places like Twitter and Facebook, sites which have over 500 million and one billion active users respectively. Traditionally, social media has been owned by marketing but with people asking service questions in new social channels, companies will need to merge some of these responsibilities between the call center and marketing. This is akin to the shift that happened when email took off in the mid 90s as a way to talk between customers and companies. Marketing departments owned email communications at the time and started getting flooded with service requests, which forced contact centers to take on new channels and responsibilities.

In the next five to ten years, customer service will come to you – Today, more than 99 percent of things in the physical world are still not connected to the internet. In seven years though, that will drastically change as 37 billion intelligent things will be connected to the Web. So what does that mean for consumers? It means a home where devices tell you when they need service. Just think, as home devices become “smarter,” customer care can alert homeowners of a failed furnace or bad line and proactively open a ticket to schedule a maintenance appointment.

And this is only the start -- what do you think the future of customer care looks like? Feel free to share your forecast in the comments below.

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