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Although digital is changing the way organizations approach customer experience, the meaning behind the term has not changed.  There is a lot of discussion around technology replacing person-to-person interaction.  In my opinion, organizations should still approach customer experience the same way they always have, but look at digital solutions as added value.

I view technology as a jackpot for customer experience professionals.  The organizations that are leading in customer experience are not necessarily the most innovative.  It is the organizations that are still driving the valuable key elements of person-to-person interaction, while incorporating exciting digital solutions into their plan that are killing it.

Put yourself in the customers’ shoes.  What are your expectations?

My expectations are as follows:

• Respond

• Don’t over promise

• Listen

• Be helpful

• If you know my name, use it

• I love to meet people, so let’s chat (build rapport)

Note that I did not mention digital.  Although I say it myself sometimes that consumers are expecting digital, the truth is, the expectation isn’t high as we are only in 2014.  Digital still gets us excited, new experiences still stand out, and unique digital environments are still remembered.  This is a bonus for an organization exploring new ideas for customer experience! Although consumers aren’t expecting this and I don’t feel technology will replace person-person interaction, digital is still a must.  It is a must for organizations to touch consumers with digital experiences to find that added sense of emotion that will not only make a positive brand impact, but get them talking about your brand within their social networks.

Customer experience is more than 50% emotional; therefore emotional engagement needs to be a key focus for retailers when planning a customer experience strategy. There are multiple digital solutions out there that can help drive this emotion.  Most organizations understand the importance of using technology in their customer experience strategy, but many also feel pressure at the level of complexity that is involved.

So, what are some simple options that customer experience professionals explore to add the digital factor to their strategy?

Digital signage

Digital signs allow organizations to deliver video content, advertisements, or targeted messages to specific locations and consumers at controlled times.  Digital signage improves the overall appeal of the environment, and makes for an innovative and inviting experience.

Mobile Payments

While increasing the speed of checking customers out, mobile payments creates opportunities to track customers trends and inventory, as well as integrate incentive programs.  Not only is it convenient, but being able to quickly pay using their mobile phone makes the customer feel tech-savy.

Interactive tablet kiosks

Due to the widespread adoption of tablets, consumers are becoming more familiar with using them, which creates an opportunity for retailers.  Tablet kiosks can be used for surveys, digital product catalogues, store stock checking, or interactive gaming experiences. Scratchd.ca offers a unique “chance to win” experience for organizations to directly interact with their customers.  The emotional element of “winning” is a feeling customers love, and creates a positive interaction where customers will be open to sharing their information to “get and stay connected” with the brand.

Location based services

Location services such as geo-fencing can be built into apps to directly alert mobile users that have the app downloaded on their smartphone. Near Field Communication and Apple’s new iBeacon technology will also greatly improve how retailers are reaching consumers through mobile content while on location in the coming year.  Although some may worry about invading privacy by targeting consumers on their mobile phone, the right creative content, experience, and offer will make this an exciting mobile experience for the customer.

Augmented reality

Augmented reality creates a unique consumer mobile experience by providing a live view of a real-world environment supplemented by computer-generated sensory input such as sound, video, and graphics.  You can get very creative with augmented reality, and is often very suspenseful and fun.  It is still relatively new, which means many consumers have not yet tried it, leaving an opportunity for brands to make a very positive impact on these individuals.

Mobile POS devices to check customers out anywhere in the store

Mobile POS devices are a great customer service tool.  Getting checked out by a sales associate while shopping saves the customer from needing to stand in a line-up.  This compliments “person-to-person” piece of the customer experience strategy very well and adds a personal touch to making the customer feel looked after.

Mobile loyalty programs

Consumers carry their phone everywhere they go!  Offering a loyalty program for their mobile phone will ensure they have their “loyalty card” with them at all times.  Mobile loyalty programs allow the organization to offer unique incentives, points, prizes, and offers to reward customers for visiting, which makes them feel like a privileged customer.

Digital solutions offer an opportunity for organizations to incorporate unique emotional value into their customer experience plan. With many options available at varying price points, every customer experience professional can be confident they will find a solution that matches their digital initiatives, budget, and customer experience strategy.