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Office of the Future - Customer experience

Strides in technology, the evolution of our own job roles and office configuration tend to dominate when we think about the future workplace, but the impact that connected technology has on customer experience will be nothing short of transformational.

The signs of this evolution are already evident. The convergence of cloud and predictive technology is leading to fast, flawless, highly personalised customer service, thereby opening up huge new growth opportunities for visionary businesses.

Liberation by AI empowered technologies

AI (artificial intelligence) will soon underpin a range of new technologies that save us time and make us more productive at work.

  • Liberated

    Virtual assistants will dynamically manage calendars, book meeting rooms and even complete expense forms, transforming our day-to-day work by as early as 2025 (1)

  • Predictive and interactive assistance

    Tasks such as writing are poised to become far quicker as predictive typing technologies cross from smartphones to office technology and voice recognition continues to improve.

  • Machine learning

    Powered by intelligent software, systems will be able to draft email responses to customer emails and technology will be able to reminds staff about client or customer preferences. The will be realised by integrating with other office technology that forms part of the virtualised work ecosystem.

  • Self-replenishment

    Smart multifunction printers can already order their own ink when it starts to run low, but adoption and configuration will increase significantly in the imminent future due to the hastening shift towards contractual methods of buying IT and print services.

All of this will save time, push workers up the value chain, liberating people to focus their efforts on providing the best imaginable service to customers or clients.

AI to become the foundation of more personalised user experiences

Increasingly powerful computer algorithms, with ever greater resources of data to interrogate, will begin to learn our individual preferences in a development that will replace efficient order fulfilment with a phase of technologically anticipated need.

Customers can begin to expect highly responsive services as ever more devices join the internet of things (IoT) and add detail to the data picture. Importantly, services will only begin to become truly seamless when everything within our homes and lives is connected.

For example, smart fridges can detect that we have run out of milk and place an order for more. However, these fridges won’t know we’re on holiday, that we’ve decided to switch to cereal bars, or indeed what else they should add to our weekly shopping order, unless technologies that manage our lives are truly connected.

Here, the adoption of interactive technologies such as Alexa, which has already made the leap to business, will gather pace. Such devices will collate information from other connected household or office sources such as email systems and calendars. Moreover, the software that has already learned our procurement preferences i.e. price, speed, nutritional value, eco credentials, will be able to consolidate our weekly needs into an order that uses predictive technology to minimise wastage.

In the office, printers with biometric pull printing capabilities will know individual worker preferences. With time-managing devices slashed, staff will be further liberated to add value and improve the customer experience.

The increasing importance of brand

While on one hand connected technologies will enable businesses to achieve new levels of service excellence, this does come with risks.

Technology that automatically places repeat orders for us in life or business will ultimately take purchasing decisions away from us, meaning that convenience will outweigh the temptation to switch between products, services or brands unless we feel let down.

This places a great deal of importance on brand perception, brand value and ethics. In this none-too-distant future, controversies will be an even more significant risk to businesses due to the ease with which consumers will be able to block them from future orders.

If used correctly however, technology will help companies build an accurate picture of operations and their supply chains by flagging data gaps, inaccuracies and concerns while underpinning customer service with ever-improving algorithm optimised processes.

One thing is sure; the unlimited ability to live by our brand values and surpass customer expectations is just around the corner.

(1) Quocirca Print 2025 Report (www.print2025.com) (pdf)