Only a couple of weeks ago, I wrote a blog post on the subject of technology and how it is having such a significant influence on the customer experience. If you did not get the chance to read it, you can do so here – http://ijgolding.com/2013/10/08/facebook-is-not-even-10-years-old-how-technology-and-innovation-is-influencing-the-customer-experience/.
It is very difficult to dispute the fact that technology is advancing almost as quickly as I will complete this next paragraph! It is also not difficult to dispute that depending on your age, your children will know more about technology than you!! These two simple points suggest that it is very important to have a handle on not just HOW technology and innovation is advancing, but WHAT new technology and innovation is coming into the market place. This post will therefore focus on an example of ‘new’ technology that many of you may not even know exists.
Please allow me to introduce you to Marcio Rodrigues. Marcio is a fellow customer experience professional. Marcio is also the Customer Propositions Director for a company called Vizolution (http://www.vizolution.co.uk/). I will let him explain what they do and how clever it is…..
‘A picture is worth a thousand words’
Vizolution’s mission is to take this adage to the forefront of customer interactions and create the next generation face to face experiences, by enabling people to communicate with people in the most effective way, wherever they are – living room, garden or toilet (Uck!) (75% of mobile users use their phone in the toilet!)
Our clients face the very real problem of either serving customers in a high cost/high service approach (face to face) or low service/low cost approach (internet, call centre). We want our clients to engage their customers in a low-cost/high service approach by providing them with remote face to face tools. Our solution, vScreen, allows a telephony agent to engage with a customer using slides, images, calculators, documents etc all across a secure connection on the internet. vScreen can also completely handle fulfilment by providing electronic signatures; secure file delivery and retrieval etc.
The bottom line is that a telephony agent can genuinely provide all of the benefits of a face to face experience.
Customers are now visually connected via Smart Phones (There are more Smart Phones than Toothbrushes ), Tablets, PC’s, Smart TV’s etc. but the call centre is currently under an invisibility cloak, serving customer via voice or text.
This is the same as going to Buckingham Palace, visiting the Grand Canyon or watching David Attenborough’s Planet Earth blind folded. Yes, someone can describe it to you but you can only really fully “understand” it when you see it. Seeing is, believing!
If you are selling products and services that customers can’t experience for themselves, you should at least be able to show it to customers as well as answer their questions in a way that is convenient and fun. For simple transactions your website and App (if well designed) should do the trick, but as products and services get more and more complex and or you have a large number of options available, customers need to ask questions.
This is where Vizolution fits in. We create a shop window for call centres. This enables your people to visually engage customers in real-time wherever they are.
If you are (like most firms) currently working through your customer-centric digital transformation plan, you should include a bridge between your digital self-serve and traditional channels. This will ensure the delivery of consistent experiences. The last thing you want is for the customer to go to a competitor because they make it easier to buy from them. This means having the same capabilities available to customers via your website/app etc. and telephony channel.
This is really clever stuff – and stuff that I did not know was available until Marcio explained it to me. New technology like this enables businesses to deliver a greatly improved customer experience. Why would you not investigate the possibilities.
Let us have a look at another example of technology we may not know about. Recently I delivered a presentation on customer experience to a telecoms business, Pennine Telecom and some of its clients. One of the companies at the presentation was Motorola Technologies. They are developing some amazing things that could transform the experience for companies and customers across a number of industries. They showed me their ‘electronic badge’ technology – see the image below. This replaces current plastic badges that you ‘swipe’ to get in and out of buildings, and that show your name, picture etc.. The badges enable businesses to know where their employees are at any time, delivering real-time tasks. They are looking at getting them into hospitals (replacing pagers), and retailers.
Just imagine similar technology to this being used in a retail environment like B&Q. I can never find anything in B&Q – the store is just too big. I always have to find a friendly and helpful member of staff to point me in the right direction. It would be great if to make the experience even easier, I could type the product I am looking for into a screen at the front of the store. The screen could then tell me where to go to get the product I need. This kind of technology is (I am told) ready and waiting – implementing it will improve the customer experience.
Motorola also told me that they are close to implementing new technology to vastly improve the physical high street shopping experience – merging the physical with the online/mobile. What would you think of an experience where you could walk into a store, pick up what you want to buy, and leave again – without speaking to anyone, or removing anything from your pocket? Sound crazy? Crazy I may be, but again, this kind of thing is not far away, and all enabled through your smart phone.
It is all too easy to dismiss ‘vendors’ when they contact us. We are always too busy to speak to someone trying to ‘sell us something’. However, it is also too easy to stay stuck in the past, and to ‘miss the boat’ on new technologies that could very quickly and easily make the lives of our employees and our customers so much easier. So ask yourself the question – am I up to date with the latest technology? If the answer is ‘no’, do something about it – and quickly!
What new technology is exciting you at then moment – it would be great to know and share knowledge with the customer experience community.