Franchise Update Magazine Issue I, 2017 - Page 48

Remember when we used to hear Prince ’ s song “ 1999 ” and it seemed so far into the future ? Well , how about the year 2020 , which is just 3 years away ?

Today , robots assemble our cars and move Amazon fulfillment center shelves around . And , as technology advances , they ’ re spreading into other areas of our lives . For instance , many customers get irritated when speaking with customer service reps who seem to just be going through the motions , giving scripted answers , and rushing because they are trying to adhere to their allowed time per call . If you think that is bad , just wait — the future is here .
Within a few short years , we will be speaking with actual robots working in contact centers . Many companies that run outsourced call centers are working toward turning these jobs over to machines . An article in the Consumerist (“ As Expected , Robots Are Taking Over Call Center Jobs ,” June 21 , 2016 ) tells how advances in artificial intelligence will mean that call center representatives and chat representatives can be replaced with cheap and reliable workers who don ’ t need sleep or meal breaks and who don ’ t get sick or have emergencies at home .
Are you Uber-proof ? Every industry has an Uber coming . Every business is in danger of being made obsolete as a new business model , with cutting-edge technology , enters your industry and market and steals the majority of your market share . Digital disruption is the new buzzword in business , warns

Customer service

Are You Ready for 2020 ? Every industry must prepare for disruption BY JOHN DIJULIUS

CMSWire . com in an article “ Has Your Business Been Ubered ?” ( June 9 , 2016 ). This lengthy excerpt is worth thinking about as you look ahead .
We see business model after business model disrupted by the ridiculously fast evolution in mobile tech . New marketplaces are popping up all over the place , and increasingly faster communication keeps connecting buyers and sellers in new ways . Technology has truly punched the accelerator on business transformation in so many industries .
But through all of this , one immutable fact remains — the customer is king .
Customers today expect immediate answers and instant gratification . You may have a fantastic product or service , but if you don ’ t put an outstanding customer experience at the center of all your business planning , you will lose . This means the most impactful digital transformation strategy for your business centers around transforming your customers ’ experience with your company . In short : Make it easy . Make it awesome .
The more you intersperse technology between the customer and the company , the more you create complex systems prone to breakdown , and the more you remove the sense of dealing with a human being . Whether the technology is complex voicemail systems or social media , the net effect is to de-personalize contact between customer and company .
Technology can never be empathetic , build relationships , or make a brilliant comeback when your company drops the ball . Customers crave recognition and a personalized experience . In short , technology cannot provide genuine hospitality . It cannot make people feel good , take care of others , express emotions and vulnerability in a relatable way , or make people laugh .
We have subconsciously sent the wrong message to all our employees that it is about the technology : our website , apps , social media , virtual tour , iPads , kiosks , self-checkout . So our employees start using the technology as a crutch , thinking they have less importance , less of a role with the customer . They rely on the technology to provide the experience . We need to reverse that . Customer experience is 10 percent technology and people are 90 percent .
urX We need to make sure every single person working in your business knows and understands one critical thing : You Are the Experience , or urX .
Those who understand that the human touch is an indispensable part — and the most important part — of a great customer experience will make the difference . Customers and people are starving for a humanized experience , to be a person , someone who matters , with a life . It ’ s really about human connection . Whether it is face to face , ear to ear , or click to click . ■
John R . DiJulius III is the author of The Customer Service Revolution and president of The DiJulius Group , a customer service consulting firm whose clients include Starbucks , Chick-fil-A , The Ritz-Carlton , Nestle , PwC , Lexus , and many more . Email him at john @ thedijuliusgroup . com .
46 Franchiseupdate ISSUE I , 2017