Our technological landscape has conditioned us to expect constant convenience and frictionless experiences. Everything works and everything is immediately accessible. When things go wrong - or extraordinarily right - the Internet provides us with a platform to share our experiences about services and products. It offers us a possibility to compare products and services like never before.
Customers demand constant development of their experience with the brand.
Less is more, zero is everything
The next big thing in customer experiences will be the less-is-more approach. Zero UI, where the elements the customer interacts with are hidden from view, will become increasingly common in the coming years. Zero UI provides customers with a much more intuitive way to interact with digital products and services. It also represents a profound paradigm shift: where earlier we had to alter our behavior to enable us to interact with machines, zero UI places assumes that the digital service understands our natural modes of communication, from speech to gestures and even facial expressions that provide clues to our emotional state.
Zero UI might provide your customers with the ultimate experience, but there’s always a “but…”. Here the question is: how is your brand visible if the service strives to hide itself out of view? How do you leverage the effortless and smooth user experience to deepen your customers’ relationship with your brand?
The answer is to design the experience using the right channels and technologies.
Your brand’s touchpoints should provide an optimal mix of channels and approaches, and utilise the latest technologies to serve your customers. The customer experience they create should feel consistent, work smoothly and follow the processes the service consists of.
When done right, the service helps build a brand that inspires loyalty through a positive emotional connection.
In the past, the experience was the same for each customer. When designing customer experiences with new technologies and associated touchpoints, a more personalised approach is possible and, increasingly, necessary. There are new ways to create and automatically adapt these experiences to offer consumers more ways to personalise their journeys.
Emerging technologies create new opportunities
The technologies brands can leverage to create more touchpoints for customers include:
- Virtual reality: synthetic and not integrated with the physical world
- Augmented reality: a virtual layer on top of the physical world around you, often as a heads up display
- Mixed reality: augmentation interacts with and responds to the physical world
- Biometrics: adds conveniences like face recognition to update the service experience
- Voice recognition: IoT devices create individually tailored, hands-free environments
- Robotics: the next frontier, gradually giving new edge and power to new touchpoints
Artificial Intelligence, particularly deep learning, is the magician behind the curtain. It has an impact on everything and offers new ways to further automate processes.
The future of customer experience?
There is and will be more options and possibilities in this increasingly complex world, which requires more thought, design and decisions - and more emotional intelligence. The most important thing is to keep the customer - the human being - at the heart of your customer experience strategy and roadmap.
The future of customer experience lies in finding the right contextual balance between a humane approach and tech-savviness. Please contact me if you're interested in talking about how to future-proof your customer experience.
- Heli IhamäkiHead of Design, Finland