smarterplanet:

The future of customer service is less about the people than it is the sound of a person or the virtual image of an individual.

Humans are just so inefficient. But they can be improved, too, through interfaces that provide them more automated capabilities.

Salefsorce.com is on the edge of this trend. It continues to acquire companies that automates an agent’s tasks to become more efficient and customers to experience a less odious way of getting their issues answered. This week itacquired GoInstant, which makes it easier for anyone in a customer experience role to share a Web page. It requires no plug-in. It’s simply a URL that connects the agent and the customer .

Other examples include Zendesk, which now provides customers with a new Facebook private messaging capability. And Twilio now says developers can create apps that send SMS messages to people in 150 countries. That also provides a a new level of automation that can be built into a customer experience environment.

“In the customer care and collaboration realm, this sort of infrastructure empowers users to designate when and how they want messages delivered to them as part of “unified communications,”said Dan Miller, senior analyst and founder at Opus Research.

What these companies are doing is just a warm up. We are entering an age of virtual agents, soothing Sir-style voice recognition and immediate verification through biometric data.