Technology Before The Customer, The Customer Before Technology

Do we know the limits of where high tech can help businesses flourish? A visit to Denmark and Sweden reminded me how whole countries and businesses continue to struggle with the convergence of technology and  a great customer experience.

  1. SAS in their infinite wisdom construed to lose a family member’s bag for 72 hours in transit from Helsinki. As a customer, your sole point of contact is an online portal, which is unbelievably ineffective. There is no human you can speak to, and unless you wish to be permanently tied to your iPhone, you might as well buy replacement clothing and so forth and bill the airline for the inconvenience.
  2. A trip to an ice cream kiosk adjacent to the beautiful white sandy beach in Falsterbo, sees a pretty twentysomething blonde girl ask for a credit card rather than cash and you wait interminably for a connection to her iPad payment system to authorise payment. You are lucky if the sprinkle laden cornet has not dissolved in your lefthand while you are forced to digitally sign with your right finger for the 30 Kronas  payment. C’mon there is convenience shopping but this is a geek’s joke. 

In your own business, do you start with a visual picture of the ideal customer or client experience (what does it feel, sense, sound or look like)? Are you clear about the ideal mode of communication (in-person, phone, email)? Are you clear about the ideal time (pre, during, post-sale)? Are you clear about the value derived for the end user from human interaction, technology or a combination of both (speed and quality of resolving issue or transferring knowledge)? Far too often it seems businesses are falling in love with the technology and the “service theory” first without thought to HOW the customer or client is better off or better served in the real world.

© James Berkeley 2014. All Rights Reserved.

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