The Consumer Experience Paradox
Consumers are demanding more personalized service and interactivity. They are empowered with access to more information than ever before. They know what they want and exactly how they want it.
Successful companies have adjusted to meet these demands by offering greater selection and customization. The burden of educating customers has eased, however, the bar for employee aptitude has still risen. Companies must have experienced employees to address the questions, requests, and demands of a far more educated consumer base.
Successful companies hire and retain quality staff for long periods of time. Conversely, those who struggle with employee retention find it difficult to provide world-class personalized services.
We are currently in a period dubbed “The Great Resignation,” which refers to employees quitting their jobs in unprecedented numbers. Job hopping has been trending up for decades and is more than just a transitory blip. Employees are leaving companies in droves for a variety of reasons, including more pay, better benefits, and increased flexibility.
When juxtaposing the demand for personalized service with the challenges of “The Great Resignation,” we see a paradox emerge. How do we improve customer service during the absence of loyal employees?
Employers across all sectors are struggling just to fill job openings, let alone find high quality workers. This creates a chasm between consumer expectations and customer service capabilities.
Ultimately, the rise of technology will bridge this gap. Here are two technologies in their infancy that allow businesses to increase interactivity with their consumers:
Augmented Reality (AR)
This superimposes virtual images on top of a user´s actual surroundings.
For example, if a customer is shopping for a car, they could view it in the comfort of their own living room. They would have the ability to change models, colors, features, etc. They could select to open the doors and the trunk and look through every part of it. They would be able to see the car as if it is parked right in front of them, without needing to visit the dealership.
AR addresses a key part of the buying process, however, it does not on its own offer custom answers to specific questions. This is where a second technology comes in:
Artificial Intelligence (AI)
This technology involves the development of computer systems able to perform tasks that normally require human intelligence, including decision-making.
Current commercially available AI offerings are insufficient to compete with the level of service an actual person offers. However, the computing capacity of these systems is rising exponentially and there can be no doubt AI will be a big part of the customer experience in the future.
These two technologies increase interaction and provide continuity in a high-turnover environment.
Despite all of this emerging technology, don’t lose site of actual reality. We live in an increasingly fabricated world, with virtual reality and AI burrowing into our everyday life. More and more “real” experiences are being replaced with synthetic doppelgangers. In such an environment, human beings yearn for authentic interactions. Continue to prioritize retaining and developing your team of employees. Use technological advances as a co-strategy of customer engagement, not a replacement strategy. This will help you get through the bumps, both with staff turnover and with technological growing pains.