Lately, I've been wondering a lot about the future of CX. Notably about what lies beyond our current pre-occupation with the customer's voice, journey mapping and getting better at what we should be doing anyway.
To many questions, I can't find a quality response. So I summarised the main ones in this article, in the hope that you might have some answers, or at least thoughts that could help us all to solve the puzzle.
If you do, I'd appreciate if you could share them in the comments, or even better by joining the team from Insites Consulting and myself on Customerfest. This is an online experiment where customerati from all over the world try to co-create the future of customer experience. Either way, I'd love to hear your views.
Also if you are of the opinion that I ask too many questions ;-)
I've been asking myself a lot of questions about the future of customer experience. Four, I seem to be unable to answer by myself. So I thought I'd share them in the hope that you could throw in your 2 cents to solve them.
You can do this in the comment section below. Or even better, by joining www.customerfest.eu. This is an online co-creation experiment I've set up with my friends at Insites Consulting. It's free. It’s educational and it promises to be great fun.
Either way, I'd love to hear your views. Also if you are of the opinion that I ask too many questions ;-)
Question 1: How do we pick the right technologies to enhance our customer’s experience?
A tsunami of technologial change is coming our way. Every day, new developments in AI, 3D printing, genetics, IoT and more hit our newsfeeds. But it’s not always clear how these breakthroughs benefit our customer’s experience.
So, without 20:20 foresight, how do we pick the ones that matter? How do we find out of the box use cases and combinations that will - as vendors promise - disrupt our industry?
In theory, it's simple. We need to observe our customers. Go out and experiment. Learn. Prototype. Rebuild. Design thinking and all that jazz.
But the real world doesn’t work that way. On the one hand there is opportunity overload. On the other, resource limitations exist. What's more, not everyone has reinvention skills. So, no matter how dedicated we are to exploring all avenues ahead, we will need to make choices.
But how do we choose? Is there a method? Or will success be a randomised game where the winners are the ones that guessed right?
Question 2: How do we maintain a human touch?
Whether we like it or not, the world is going digital. Supply chains will continue to automate, AI’s will respond to customer requests. Robots already greet us at airports. But, until further notice, humans are still the ones paying the bills. Regardless of machine efficiencies, our flesh & blood type still like a human touch.
So how do we design for emotion in a world of digital assistants, predictive services and robots. Do we need to give our technology a more human face? Do we need hybrid solutions where humans complement machines and vice versa? Or is there a business case to go 100% human and reject technology all together?
How do we marry technology and humanity? And where do we draw the line? Commercially, but perhaps also morally?
Question 3: How do we engage employees as machines start taking their place?
The reports are unanimous. Machines are going to replace as significant amount of humans in the workplace. Some say that this is fine. People will move to new jobs that don’t exist today. Others are more pessimistic. They press us to make work of universal basic income. Either way, we’re heading for a period of transition. This will bring job insecurity and possible employee hostility towards automation.
So, what do we do? Do we play Darwinistic hardball and let the most adaptable survive? Do we start preparing our people for a fuzzy future? And how do we keep these people motivated to deliver the best customer experience they can? Especially if some will realise that it’s only a matter of time before a machine starts gunning for their job.
How do we deal with this? We cannot take a wait and see attitude. Morality aside, today’s employees are still tomorrow’s customers.
Question 4: How do we stay in control of the coming customer experience chaos?
Big data. Personalisation. Fragmenting supply chains. Many factors are making our world a lot more complex. According to some, current developments are only the beginning. Technological change will continue to speed up. Changes in one industry will exponentially influence customer expectations in another.
How will we stay on top of this complexity and acceleration? How will we deal with big data if most companies still struggle with their CRM system? Will we outsource our thinking to AI? Are we heading towards a counter movement with radical simplification and small data?
And as individuals. How will make sure that we keep our own knowledge fresh and relevant? All while doing our regular day job?
When confronted with this barrage of questions, you may raise your hands and say I don't know. Most of the time, I do the same.
But, sooner rather than later, we will need to come up with answers. The world is changing at the speed of light. While there is still time, the customer experiences we work on today, may not exist 5 years from now. Many will definitely be gone in a decade.
So, help myself and 50 other customerati from around the world look for answers. Register for our co-creation project at www.customerfest.eu. It's free, educational and promises to be fun.
Image (cc) Jonathan Simco
About this blog
Whenever inspiration strikes, I use this space to share my thoughts on customer experience management, storytelling or what ever else crosses my mind.