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Does the use of technology improve the customer experience?

Friday 4th October 2019


As we have seen over more recent years, technology is becoming more prominent and plays a huge role within everyone’s lives. Everyday technology is improving, newer methods are being optimised and new products are being created; even leading brands are integrating the use of technology as means to communicate with their customers.

The question is, is the heavy usage of technology a positive thing and does this impact on the customer experience?

There are many ways brands use technology. Examples include internet shopping, using iPads in-store, ticket machines, e-receipts and much more. A few examples have been discussed in detail below. 

INTERNET SHOPPING

The majority of people will have made a purchase online at some point in their lives. Whether this is for their weekly food shop or a new outfit for the weekend. Internet shopping is a convenient way to shop as it means you get the products quickly (especially with the option of next day delivery) without having to leave your house. Online retailer giant, Amazon, has a patent for ‘anticipatory shipping’ which pre-emptively ships products it expects customers will buy before they have clicked ‘purchase’. These items are held at shipping hubs close to the specific area ready for dispatch in an effort to reduce delivery times even more. On the other hand, isn’t there something about physically going into a shop? You can see real people, receive great service and browse the clothing range before trying it on in person (without the hassle of online returns!). Although it has benefits, internet shopping can create a barrier and remove that human interaction piece which should come so natural to us.

VIRTUAL REALITY

The automotive sector has introduced virtual reality showrooms as a method customers’ can use to configure their dream car, exploring features in realistic detail. This provides a dynamic and interactive buying experience for the customer, transferring the process from a digital tablet to something much more immersive. However, technology is still experimental and systems can fail. The human element of a sales person delivering a static demonstration of a vehicle is removed and the experience will be standardised for every customer rather than personalised to the customers needs.

AUGMENTED REALITY

A method that has been optimised by opticians is the use of augmented reality which provides a cross over between the digital and the real world. The online frame styler tool enables the customer to browse the range and try on a pair of glasses. In principle, this is a great way to find a pair of glasses that suit you without the hassle of walking around numerous stores trying to find the perfect pair. On the flip side, there is no ability to interact with a trained professional who is readily available to answer any medical related questions you may have. Further to this, when your glasses are delivered by the postman, they may not appear to be the frames you thought you had ordered or had in mind!

There is a common theme which runs throughout; although the use of technology can hold many great advantages for brands and their customers, removing that human element can have a huge impact on the customer experience. Therefore, technology should be used within face-to-face customer service environments to aid the customer experience. If technology is the only method customers are using to make purchases, there is a risk the world will become less human with no face to face interaction or jobs for people to go to.

Mystery Shopping | Training | Audits | Customer Surveys

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