I’d like to share with you the formula for elevating not only customer experiences, but experiences for all your products and people. In today’s experience-led economy, people don’t buy products, they buy experiences. Why? Because as goods and services have become commoditised, people are willing to spend more on a better experience.
After over 20 years in the customer experience (CX) industry, I’ve come to realise that the customer is only one part of delivering a total experience. There are two main parts to this - people and technology. Quite often, companies focus on one or the other, but in my experience, it’s those that can do all of them together are the ones who rise above the competition.
But doing this is hard, and here in lies the struggle - connecting these experiences together.
When we look at the companies who do this well, the formula is easy. Companies that manage to get technology to work for its people and who are customer-first, employee-first and people-first are the ones rising to the top.
There are three things you need to ensure that your experiences are being powered by people:
- Technology needs to create a safe personalised experience without being invasive
- Technology needs to empower us (set us free), not enslave us
- Technology needs to bring people closer together (customers & employees)
Right now, brands need to understand that customers are becoming incredibly wary of their privacy while at the same time expect relevant, personalised experiences. Understanding this and striking a balance between the two is key.
One way to strike this balance is to ensure that when you do capture your customer’s data, you do so by giving value back to them - only take it if it’s going to improve the experience. Netflix is a brand that does this incredibly well. Using our viewing behaviour to customise not only shows that are recommended to us, but they also use those insights to feedback into their content machine, creating the content that is trending in different markets.
We are in the middle of an amazing paradigm shift, where people are becoming more and more comfortable sharing information with machines. In a 2017 study, Hyperlab found that almost half of people would share something intimate with a bot, that they may not tell another human. This changing shift allows us to create scalable experiences that can benefit both brands and consumers. Here’s a peek at something interesting.
There is a log of fear about how AI will create more job loss. Some reports estimating as much as 800 million jobs by 2030. However, this isn’t the first time we’ve feared this. Technology has been displacing jobs for a long time. In the call centre industry, there are two sides to this story. Let’s focus on the opportunity.
A great example of a brand who is being very progressive in their approach to utilising AI is Hong Leong Bank. They recently launched a chatbot that automated repetitive enquires and offered their employees 24/7 access to their HR help desk services. It was such a success that the Helpdesk team no longer needed to remain open and the staff up-skilled and moved on to do higher value tasks in the HR department.
Unfortunately, a lot of work that enterprise still do is very administrative. If companies started looking at automating just 30% of admin work, it radically changes how your company performs. What is more people-powered then using technology to free them from mechanical and mundane tasks? That’s truly elevating the employee experience.
The most powerful thing you can do to elevate experiences in your business is to use technology to bring people closer together. Unlike other industries, where companies push call centers to reduce average handle time, Tech support is very complex and has high average handle times. It’s better to spend the time with a customer solving the problem the first time, then to have them call back.
Technology here should be used to make these experiences more human and bring your brand closer to action. I’d like to share with you a radical approach the leading Universal Smart Home Hub, Caavo, does to engage their customers.
They offer a unique white-glove service where a highly trained technician does live video chat with a customer to help them install anything in their living room. This approach has had a tremendous positive effect on their brand and customers really feel that they are getting personal support.
Taking CX to the next level takes people and technology in this day and age. And I’m not the first person to say this, Steve Jobs said it way back in 1997, "You have to put people ahead of the technology in order to truly deliver elevated experiences." We may still have a ways to go, but at least we are on the right path to creating greater experiences.