Kicking the bricks

One of the biggest benefits to shopping at a bricks and mortar store is actually getting hands-on customer service. With many offline stores struggling to stay profitable, apparently it’s the human touch that’s headed to the chopping block.

Imagine standing in a retail store desperately looking for help from someone, anyone, and being directed to … a computer screen. “No one here can help you,” a clerk might say. “But someone 1,500 miles away probably can.” This just might be the future of customer service. Two companies, with products named Live Agent and Live Support, hope that consumers who today wander aimlessly through store aisles looking for help would be happy to use videoconference kiosks instead. Already, shoppers in 34 Canadian Staples Business Depot stores all around the country have the option of getting video help from operators based in Toronto, according to Seattle-based Experticity, which makes the video kiosks for Staples.

Full article: The end of human help in stores?