Shep Hyken\'s Customer Service Blog

Guest Blog: Digitizing the Customer Experience Without Losing the Customer

This week we feature an article by John Boccuzzi Jr. who argues that digital transformation is bringing customer experience to an entirely different level. – Shep Hyken

If you had walked into a bank, clothing store or small local grocer 50 years ago, you likely would have found the manager or even the owner greeting you at the door, and the clerks may have called you by name and asked after your spouse and children. Communities were smaller, shopping was local, and technology wasn’t there to either help or confuse the customer. Some might say it was a simpler time with a more personal touch, and in some ways they would be right.

However, I would argue that digital transformation is bringing customer experience to an entirely different level. Customers are really looking for “any channel” access to their favorite brands; one day they hit the brick and mortar, and the next day they access the app from their phone. That same small business of 50 years ago can now attract new customers both locally and globally and can keep in touch with loyal customers through several channels.

By the end of 2019, 2.7 billion* people will carry a smart phone that allows them to order anything, anytime, from just about anywhere.

Loved that special ice wine you enjoyed on vacation last year? Good news: order it online today and it will arrive in time for that dinner party on Friday. All this progress requires businesses to provide an “always on, always available” customer experience.

Brick and mortar shopping isn’t going away, it’s evolving to meet the needs of the digital customer who wants options to shop local and global. Today’s customer is more informed and fully expects an increasingly personalized service, despite the fact that most of their shopping is virtual. Every aspect of a customer’s interaction with a company, product, or service affects the user’s perception and loyalty; by harnessing new technologies, cutting-edge companies are changing – and improving – the way they approach customer and user experience. Lowe’s, for example, is using artificial intelligence to track in-store inventory, and “Lowebots” are helping customers navigate the store and tracking items for restocking.

The options are endless; the key is picking the ones that are the best fit for a specific business’ customer. Some businesses fall in love with a new technology before they know if it’s something their customers need or want; instead, successful businesses focus on their customers’ entire experience, then look for ways digital solutions can streamline and enhance that customer experience. This is what Carnival Cruise Lines did when they developed the Medallion fleet, a fully customized travel experience that connects passengers to the ship with small, wearable tokens. Carnival Medallions access passengers’ data stored in the cloud, so everything from their name, cabin number, passport information and on-board charges is instantly available, powering faster check-in and boarding and an easier, more efficient experience throughout the cruise.

ISG is bringing together customer experience experts from major brands including Twitter, Oshkosh, Lowes and Muck Rack for a two-day Customer and User Experience Summit, April 17 – 18 in San Francisco to explore digital transformation and the impact it can have on the customer experience. If you have time, I would encourage you to attend so you do not miss the latest insights into this incredibly timely and important conversation. Ignoring the impact that technology can have on customer experience is like ignoring the impact digital cameras can have on the film business…and we know how that story ended.

John Boccuzzi Jr. is the senior director of ISG Research, a leader in subscription research, advisory and strategy consulting services for senior business and IT executives, technology and software vendors and business / IT services providers. 

For more articles from Shep Hyken and his guest contributors go to customerserviceblog.com.

Read Shep’s latest Forbes article: Using KonMari Methods To Tidy Up And Spark Joy Into Customer Service

*https://www.statista.com/statistics/330695/number-of-smartphone-users-worldwide/

 

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