In 2011 consumers took to mobile and social to communicate with brands at increasing rates. This movement clearly represents an evolution in customer engagement fueled by the shift in power from the company to the customer.

The increase in customers’ control of their experiences will continue to challenge the processes, organizational structures, and systems that companies have put in place to communicate with customers, and will require a change in corporate mind-sets, as well. Companies must adapt to the new ways in which customers want brands to serve them.

Consequently, experts predict that trends such as social customer communities, multichannel knowledge management, virtual agents in mobile and social, and natural language processing will have the biggest impact on the customer service experience in 2012. Brands that don’t innovate around these trends—and that fail to serve customers where, when, and how they want to be served—may not be around long enough to worry about trends in 2013.

Here, several industry insiders offer their predictions on key customer service trends and how companies can harness them in 2012.

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