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When Technology Outpaces Humanity in the Customer Experience

“When was a time your innovations were too far ahead of your customers?”

I have always been quite curious and love to learn, so I hoped this question wouldn’t be offensive to ask Horst Schulze, founder of the Ritz Carlton.

I had been thinking a lot about innovation challenges, namely - customer receptivity and emerging technology.

He was quick to answer.

“Room keys”

He went on to explain that they had the technology ready to move from physical room keys (anyone else remember back in the day when you got a literal key to unlock your door?) to electronic key cards.

They implemented the change, but the Ritz Carlton customer wasn’t ready YET.

Because they were a brand who listened well to the customer, they switched back to manual keys and later shifted again to electronic key cards when the customers were ready.

Managing the tension of emerging technology and traditional humanity is not a new topic, but it is certainly timely.

Technology and humanity.

A tension to manage, not a problem to solve.

Customers are becoming more and more adept and interested in how technology can make their process easier, AND they want elements of human interaction and care. And they want these elements in the right places at the right times in the right ways.

So what do we do?

Recently at the Service Now Knowledge23 conference I shared 4 questions that help us manage the tension and deliver experiences in the right timing for our customers:

  1. What is the ideal Customer Experience you are designing for? Define it.

  2. What transactional moments can you automate?

  3. What human moments can you elevate?

  4. How do you seamlessly integrate with employees and customers?

Ultimately, when I think about this tension to manage, I think of this:

How might we automate the transactional moments so we can elevate the human moments?

Continue learning and growing by ordering your copy of The Power of Customer Experience and the book club video series and user guide for your team.

For my Audible friends, check out the recent release of The Power of Customer Experience on Audible!


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