Andrew Vorster

Why Customer Experience Trumps Customer Service

Andrew Vorster is a brilliant futurist and technologist from the UK and we were both speaking at a recent Customer eXperience (CX) conference. He made the important distinction between customer service and customer experience while explaining how technology is disrupting traditional business models. I asked him how he sees the customer experience of the future. Here is his response.

"I have to start out by saying that many people I come into contact with immediately start talking about 'customer service' as soon as I say 'customer experience'. I point out that while customer service is an important facet of the customer experience, most people will only experience your customer service once they are a customer."

"But the customer experience begins way before that point in time and it's a large component of how your brand is perceived"

"Marketing departments are therefore been the early adopters of technology, constantly seeking new ways to augment and amplify engagement by using technology. Take for example this stunt pulled by Pepsi in London which is an example of people experiencing the brand, augmented by technology. The goal of a customer experience is to evoke positively memorable emotion and I think Pepsi certainly hit the mark on this occasion."

But it’s not just about a new advertising format. I constantly ask clients about how they can you use the 'Internet Of [their Company’s] Things' to enhance customer experience. There is a fantastic example of how Samsung proposes to use its own technology to save lives on the road in Argentina by rendering its trucks 'see through'. This is a incredible example of using technology to improve lives and deliver innovative customer experience."

Andrew believes this technology should be rolled-out globally and that those who lead with practical innovation that improves lives create powerful following. I asked him how he thinks it converts to revenue.

"Can you imagine the first time you experienced one of these trucks on the road? I think that the enhanced customer experience would make you think very positively about Samsung as a technology company and would quite possibly influence your next purchase decision."

"When you enhance customer experience you increase loyalty. Rather than pushing marketing messages and offers, think about how to create exceptional customer experience. Meat Pack is a trendy footwear store in Guatemala and they used a clever combination of technology including indoor location sensors and real time marketing to generate the kind of customer experience that its target market would love.  Hang in there watching this video explaining how 'Hijack' works... it has customers sprinting at break-neck speed to do business with them."

Meat Pack's “Hijack” campaign successfully created a buzz around the brand on social media through customer advocacy – who wouldn’t want to share that kind of experience with their friends? I came across a great advertising campaign in Australia the day before my opening keynote – it’s for Hahn Superdry beer and the slogan goes “if you’re not collecting experiences, you’re not living” ( The campaign is full of aspirational dreams and activities that many of us stuck in suburbia might yearn for but deem to be way out of reach. But that’s not the point. The point is that deep down, we are all “experience collectors”. How will you leverage technology in the future to give your customers an experience worth collecting?"

Andrew makes excellent points and is not saying that great customer service isn't important. He highlights that service should fit within the overall customer experience that you create well before someone becomes a client. How do people feel about you and your brand before becoming a customer. Sales and marketing must work together to innovate and create best end-to-end customer experience.

Contact Andrew here in LinkedIn and also follow his Publisher page. If you valued this article, please hit the ‘like' and ‘share’ buttons below. This article was originally published in LinkedIn here where you can comment. Also follow the award winning LinkedIn blog here or visit Tony’s leadership blog at his keynote speaker website:

Main image photo by Flickr: Craig Sunter - Some people are just never happy!

The Buy-bot Disruption of Professional Selling


I was a keynote speaker along with Andrew Vorster at a conference last month and he delivered a provocative presentation titled: The Rise of the Robots. I believe that automation is taking sales jobs away and I had a coffee with him to ask if sales people are all destined to become extinct sometime soon. Here is his response.

"I get a range of reactions but most importantly I aim to get people to think about their preconceptions so they can decide on the future they are going to create. Hollywood has done a great job over the years entrenching the idea of the inevitability of a future robot apocalypse."

"Arnie’s terminator might be a good guy in the movies but each time the franchise is rebooted, Skynet has managed to foil the pesky humans and there is some other dastardly plan to rid the earth of people and by the end...  well, you know it’s not the end and the next sequel will reveal just how futile resistance is."

But is it inevitable?

"We humans essentially all yearn for an easy life and in today’s world, robots are increasingly taking over mundane and routine tasks. The most common form of these are software robots – which most people might not even consider robots at all. As we embrace the opportunities of the Internet of Everything, we allow the software robots to remove friction from simple everyday activities. Examples in my own life are my connected thermostat that adjusts the temperature of my house depending on our habits and will turn on the heating while I commute home based on my location, or my bedroom blinds that open and close based on sunrise and sunset, or my home lighting that reacts to the music I’m playing based on my mood or my front door that unlocks as I approach the house (my next project). These small insignificant but frequent interactions begin to build a complex digital profile of me – a virtual representation of me that makes my life easier."

How far away are digital assistants that will disrupt sellers?

"When Apple introduced Siri, it seemed like a bit of a novelty but we have since seen Google, Cortana and many other “digital assistants” follow suit, all based around fairly simple search and response style constructs. A Kiwi company called MyWave have a digital assistant called Frank which expands on the concept and Frank can potentially start carrying out more complex tasks on your behalf.

Wow, could this automated buying have a disempowering impact on Business-to-business sellers as it matures?

"It's here for B2C today and B2B levels of sophistication are coming. Their demo shows how Frank can help you find a new pair of jeans, based on your brand, style and color preferences; and I have no doubt that in the future this could include an indication of who in your social network has already bought the jeans and maybe Frank could even make alternative suggestions based on what events you are attending from access to your calendar. To some people this might sound a little creepy but I think that over time the cool factor will kick in and the use of digital personal assistants will become more and more commonplace. As adoption increases, so will our expectations of the technology and we will begin to accept that in order for these assistants to become infinitely more useful, they have to become even more like us – they are going to have to “think” like us"

"Moving away from the idea of personal digital assistants, if software hardware it controls “thinks like us” then there is of course much more it can do to help us and it could potentially replace us in many walks of life. For a sobering view of what the future of work might look like, take a look at this article that highlights why men are more vulnerable than women to robot replacement."

"And here comes the warning of the “singularity” – that point in time predicted by the greatest minds on the planet when Artificial Intelligence becomes self aware – or when the distinction between humans and machines is blurred. Indeed, Ray Kurzweil (the founder of MIT’s Media Lab) predicts that by 2030 humans will be directly connected to the cloud – something that just a few short years ago would have sounded insane, but now sounds like something that for many is infinitely desirable."

"Stephen Hawking, Elon Musk and Bill Gates are among the high profile names that are warning of the possible dire consequences of future AI and they have signed an open letter published by the Future of Life Institute calling for careful consideration of the focus and control required in developing this technology."

So, the future sounds like it could be bleak but you and I are optimists. What does the future really hold?

"I’m going to answer your question with the closing statement that I used in my session –  the future is not something that happens to us, it is something that we create. If we are all wiped out by killer robots, it will be our own fault – what kind of a future are you building?"

Thanks Andrew Vorster and connect with him here in LinkedIn.

If you valued this article, please hit the ‘like' and ‘share’ buttons below. This article was originally published in LinkedIn here where you can comment. Also follow the award winning LinkedIn blog here or visit Tony’s leadership blog at his keynote speaker

Main image photo from Flickr.

Unbelievable Example Of Technology Providing Direct Access. Technology Tips!


Automation is changing everything but are you using it well? Watch this short video and be astounded at the power of the 'internet of things' when harnessed for unbelievable user experience with the world's leading technology keynote speaker!

"It even unlocks my car... and the only one with access is me!" That's the funniest advertisement I've seen this year and thanks Andrew Vorster for sharing it at a conference we were both speaking at.

But seriously, do you understand the unintended consequences of embracing technology and social media platforms? Have you methodically gone through your LinkedIn settings to ensure that your competitors cannot track your interactions with customers and prospects? Ever wondered about the 'anonymous' views you've had of your profile? It's always a recruitment consultant or competitor.

"There's always unintended consequences with new technology. But worse, there are dire consequences of ignoring the relentless march of commoditization and disruption."

Real professionals understand how to use and maintain their tools. They do the basics masterfully and they innovate to remain relevant. 90% of buyers do NOT respond to cold outreach. Less than 3% of cold calls yield a result, and e-mail marketing gets lost among all the other spam in their inbox. Achieving cut-through requires finesse. Get serious about how you use LinkedIn and other social platforms to engage and provide value.

Here's a video interview I did with the professor of social selling highlighting the dangers of a hapless approach to LinkedIn. I removed this water skiing photo from my own LinkedIn profile immediately following the interview.

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If you valued this article, please hit the ‘like' and ‘share’ buttons below. This article was originally published in LinkedIn here where you can comment. Also follow the award winning LinkedIn blog here or visit Tony’s leadership blog at his keynote speaker

Main image photo from Flickr.