How technology can improve customer interaction

Technology has transformed the customer experience enormously over the past few years – but not all of this change has been for the better. While a self-service checkout can process a much higher volume of customers (and without demanding a wage in return), it still can’t quite replicate the human touch provided by a real cashier. Thus, technological advance has been associated, often unfairly, with a diminished experience for the customer.

But there are some ways in which tech can have the opposite effect, and actually make life easier for the end-user. Let’s consider a few.

Call tracking

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Call tracking technology isn’t a new development. What’s new is that call tracking is getting smarter. Businesses are able to provide each individual visitor to a website with a unique number to call. This, in turn, allows a customer’s journey to be more precisely mapped to the things they’ve seen online, even if the action they take occurs over the phone.

This data can provide agents with some context at the start of a phone call, allowing them a better idea of the customer’s needs. The result for the end-user? Less time spent explaining the situation to confused agents, and more relevant conversations with the business.

Voice assistance

Speaking commands to a realistic voice assistant is a great deal more intuitive than typing search queries into a browser or using a mouse to navigate a website – even a well-designed one. This is particularly the case for older people, who might find struggle with more traditional input devices. A study of a retirement community in San Diego found almost universal approval of Amazon’s Alexa voice assistant, and these opinions are echoed throughout the world.

Internet of Things

The IoT has become a little bit of a marketing buzzword, which has, in turn, caused microchips to be implanted into everything from toasters to kettles to speaker systems. There are billions of IoT connected devices across the globe, and they’re providing manufacturers with vital R&D data, and making it easier to anticipate problems before they occur. That means less downtime, fewer faults, and ultimately, happier customers.

Customer support AI

Text-based chatbots are a popular tool for customer-facing businesses. Log onto many websites and you might be confronted with a chat window in the bottom corner, asking whether there’s anything that the representative can do to help.

Of course, paying for a person to ask this question to every visitor would be unfeasible – and so an AI handles the early portion of the conversation (often just the opening salvo) before handing seamlessly over to a human assistant. This ultimately means less time waiting for correspondence, and less irritation suffered by the end-user. Chatbots are getting rapidly more sophisticated, with voice-recognition technology enabling them to be put at the end of phone lines, as well as into browsers.

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