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” (https://experiencecollectors.com.au/). 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.
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Main image photo by Flickr: Craig Sunter - Some people are just never happy!