ARE WE THERE YET? MAPPING A PATH TO PERSONALIZATION

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We see flashy versions of it in the movies. We see pieces of it popping up here and there. But when are we ever going to see full-blown applications of it for our own personal use?

I’m talking about fully integrated, practical technology that streamlines and simplifies most every aspect of our lives—and is easy to use.

Working more efficiently

I’m a wife, mother of three, and a working professional in a fast-paced startup. Each morning I start my day, trying to identify how to maximize my time to make the most productive outcomes happen by the time the day is over. So, every chance I get to squeeze out an extra ounce of time, I’m game.

I think that’s true across the board: working professionals are busier than ever, and time is a hot commodity.

Technology and tools first seen as novelties are now becoming mainstream as a way to optimize efficiency and manage busy schedules.

Take smart phones. Not that long ago, only a few people had them. Now, nearly everyone does. And they’re taking advantage of the benefits advanced speech recognition and cloud computing provide to simplify their lives.

Learning from user interactions

I remember when I had my first encounter with Google Now on my Android.

“Welcome to Google Now,” the personal assistant said. “We can make your life more convenient.” I decided to check it out.

Within the first few days, Google Now popped up and said: “Hi, we think this location is your home. Is that correct?” Yes. Two days later: “We think this location is also important to you and is probably your workplace. Is that correct?” Yes.

With that information available, it now identifies information specific to my commute, like weather delays or accidents that are in my typical route. Able to personalize the information, it can now alert me only if there is an exception to the norm.

Building a digital profile

Then there’s Amazon Echo with its personal assistant, Alexa. This morning, while getting ready for work, I ask Alexa what’s going on today.

She proceeds to tell me every event on my calendar, what the weather will be, the day’s news and how the stock market is doing. With a few extra minutes to spare, I asked her to play some music, which she did according to my listening history.

And then a song comes on that I’ve never heard, and I thought, “Huh, I like this song.” So I say, “Alexa, what’s this song?” She tells me the name and who the artist is. To which I respond, “Alexa, I like this song.” And she responds, “Okay, noted.”

I paused for a moment, realizing I’d just had a short conversation with a machine. Yes, a machine. Alexa was making my morning more efficient and enjoyable by personalizing my morning information stream, allowing me to remain hands free to get ready for work.

Just like my interactions with Google Now and Alexa, the experience keeps getting better because of the personalization and context involved in those systems. They both know me in some fashion and are able to make my experience better because of that knowledge.

Personalizing the customer experience

When customers know you have a history of their interactions with your brand, they expect you to use that information to anticipate their needs and streamline future experiences.

Call it customer intimacy, personalization or “customerization.” It’s all about emulating those things a small shop owner does with repeat patrons on a daily basis. But in this case, you’re doing it on a mass scale using technology to fill in the gap for those personal, face-to-face encounters.

So the question is, why isn’t the typical customer experience with the contact center leveraging these same principles? Why can’t we put the same concepts into the contact centers to start revolutionizing customer experiences?

Starting with simple wins

It’s hard to believe, but a major improvement for the typical consumer would be eliminating the need to re-enter customer account information multiple times. It’s a common occurrence that frustrates us all.

It goes something like this.

You decide to troubleshoot an Internet/cable issue by logging in to your account on the web. As it turns out, you can’t resolve the problem on your own. So, you dial an 800-number to discuss the service issue with an agent.

After going through a series of menu prompts, you enter some combination of your PIN, the last four digits of your social or some other account information. Then, when you finally get to an agent, he or she asks you to provide all the same information again.

By contrast, wouldn’t it be nice if after seeing you needed help on the website, you could immediately establish a voice call, with all the data you entered transferring to the agent who answers? So, rather than start the whole process over, the agent greets you by name and understands why you’re calling based on your input and customer profile.

Well, Humach already has a solution that does just that. And many other simplifying solutions that you can check out here.

What’s next?

Personalizing service is often no more than understanding what you as a customer would want and applying technology that’s already available to make it happen.

That’s what we’re about at Humach. We’re constantly surveying the landscape of technology and pushing the envelope to improve the customer experience.

You’ll be seeing more of these types of innovation from Humach. So, check back with us soon. Or leave your email, and we’ll let you know when we have a new solution—or thought—to share.

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