GRENOBLE, France, March 30, 2011 -- “Just help make my work day run smoothly.” That’s what Xerox Corporation (NYSE: XRX) often hears from clients who are trying to balance the frenetic pace of business today with the need to get basic work done. Simplifying the workplace so customers can allocate more time and resources to their core business is fundamental to the innovation incubating today in Xerox’s labs – and is the purpose of prototype customer care software revealed by the company this week. The software uses Web-based 3D virtual reality imaging to give Xerox customers instant access to live support for their printer or multifunction device.
Xerox scientists say the prototype pinpoints ways to ease customer frustration, shorten customer care calls and free up workers to focus on their real business. To help develop the prototype, ethnography researchers at Xerox’s Research Centre Europe studied the way customers responded to printer issues and examined the calls coming in to service centers.
“Our hands-on research provided an in-depth understanding of the subtle nuances that keep a workplace humming and the ‘pain points’ that create unnecessary frustration,” said Sophie Vandebroek, Xerox’s chief technology officer and president, Xerox Innovation Group. "The knowledge led us to a novel approach that promises to help office workers minimize interruptions in their workday allowing our customers to focus on what matters most: getting their real work done.”
How Virtual Help Works
By pressing the ‘Help’ button on the screen of a networked multifunction system, customers can initiate a call to the support desk. As the agent accepts the incoming call, the system uploads a 3D model of the printer while gathering and displaying data on the status of the machine. The system simultaneously uploads the same 3D model on the screen at the customer site so the customer can view the image while talking to the help desk agent – leading to a real-time multimedia conversation.
Xerox is at the forefront of developing embedded and remote diagnostic services and offers several solutions including PhaserSMART®, a customer self help diagnostic tool, and Command Center, a tool that feeds information directly from the Xerox iGen4® and the Xerox Nuvera® digital printing systems to customer service technicians for faster support. This new virtual help desk prototype builds on the successful interactive capability launched with the Xerox WorkCentre® 7500 series called Xerox Online Support Assistant, which provides instant access to online support.
The virtual help desk is a research project in support of Xerox’s continued commitment to develop and incorporate the latest customer care technology in its printers.
Ethnography has been part of Xerox research expertise since the 1980s. Ethnographic researchers observe behavior in workplaces of all sizes. XRCE researchers presented the technology at the 2011 ACM Conference on Computer Supported Cooperative Work in Hangzhou, China and the IEEE Virtual Reality 2011 Conference, Singapore.