Today’s customers are not just looking to buy products or services; they want a complete and memorable experience however they choose to engage. The complete experience should be designed to strengthen the customer’s brand perception across channels (e.g. web, mobile, social) and leverage evolving technologies such as AR, virtual assistants, voice interaction, and AI/ML to elevate the customer journey. While some companies are integrating these technologies into apps and software, every enterprise should explore how these new technologies can enhance interactions across all channels and weave together a surprising and memorable experience.
New Technologies Improve the User Journey
A company’s readiness to include new technologies across channels depends on the maturity level of the technology and how each can add value to the customer experience. Yet the real opportunity for differentiation comes in how a company chooses to integrate technology for the customer’s benefit. Here are some examples.
Smart speakers and mobile devices already use touchless interaction by enabling users to perform basic functions by voice commands. These devices provide natural language communication and can control smart devices, but they can also use sensors, gestures, sound, or ambient inputs to trigger proactive actions and notifications.
Industrial manufacturing and consumer appliances already utilize apps that leverage sensor data. The future trend will be adopting human senses such as touch, gestures, and emotions, particularly as IoT accommodates more sensors for sound, light, humidity, temperature, and motion. These sensors will provide seamless experiences by connecting to a variety of devices used in industrial, healthcare, consumer appliances, and workplace environments.
An immersive experience lets the user have a physical-world engagement in a virtual or augmented environment. These experiences allow interactions with objects that are possible in the real world. Google’s ARCore and Apple’s ARKit drive consolidation and standardization that will improve this technology and help more brands explore how to provide an immersive experience for design and visualization, field inspections, remote customer support, training, and more.
AI-enabled virtual assistants (VAs) or chatbots have become integral for both internal and external customers. They enable interactions 24×7 across multiple channels and can improve the user experience throughout the customer journey. VAs use input from various factors like personalized context, content, emotional connection, and automatic feedback loops to provide the highly customized experience that today’s customers expect.
AI has already created a positive impact on our day-to-day interactions, and it continues to evolve. It can deliver personalized and improved experiences, can keep learning based on a user’s past behaviors, and can be used in conversational interactions. By leveraging ML, companies can incorporate features such as image classification, object detection, motion tracking, optical character recognition (), and face detection.
Connected Devices Ecosystem
With the move toward 5G and connected devices, mobile is at the center of most new technologies or solutions. Mobile devices are packed with hardware that can add value to a variety of solutions. But there are other devices (e.g. Alexa, Google Home, health devices, connected cars, wearables, IoT sensors/controllers) that can augment mobile devices to provide a more connected experience.
Putting it all Together
Here is an example of how important it is to integrate these new technology channels to provide a multi-experience customer journey.
A customer wants to buy a washing machine using a mobile application. Before buying, the customer leverages the try before buy augmented reality (AR) feature in the e-commerce application to explore the features. After buying the machine, the customer receives order updates on their smart device (mobile or speaker). After delivery, the setup is performed with an AR assisted guide. Built-in sensors/controllers in the washing machine provide regular updates on operation status and the customer can control the washing machine with a mobile device or smart speaker. The level of detergent is constantly monitored by the machine, placing an order when more is needed. If the customer has a specific question, a virtual assistant is available 24×7.
This scenario represents the future of a multi-experience customer journey. An array of new technologies can provide a complete, memorable, and immersive experience to create a richer engagement across channels to promote brand loyalty.
Future apps and software will have more of these new technologies embedded, regardless of device, to improve the customer journey. The key is connecting all user experiences with a brand, crossing every channel as part of a designed, seamless experience. As new technologies continue to evolve, enterprises should dare to imagine incredible journeys that surprise and delight their customers – and invest in the innovation to make it possible.