Over the next decade, new smart machines will enter offices, factories and homes in numbers we have never seen before. They will become integral to virtually every domain of our lives. As these machines replace humans in some tasks, and augment them in others, our greatest challenge will be to ensure our efficiencies do not compromise the emotion we humans need when experiencing a level of service.
- As customers we have too many choices, so much information to process and too little time.
- In our jobs we are encouraged in business to strive to be more efficient, more processed driven and keep on top of updating operating systems to be better, to be quicker.
- As leaders we want more data, more speed to market with our products because we know our next competitor is just around the corner.
In order for us to create fast and meaningful interactions with customers we need to remember what makes us humans unique. We are meaning makers. We have feelings and robots do not. Our social skills and emotionality will always be our number one comparative advantage in a world of automation and efficiencies and is a reminder of our sacred place alongside machines. Customers demand efficiencies and seek connections, our service must aim to address both, all the time.
It reminds me how both digital and analogue solutions are both equally required in my daily life. Fast and efficient is often solved with digital solutions – great apps, technology and innovative tools yet when I’m wanting to capture more expression and emotion ie; journaling or sense – making I’m drawn to good old fashion pencil and paper.
One critical emotion to draw upon when aiming to strike a balance of fast and meaningful service is appreciation. For employees to build relationships and connection with our customers in a world of fast passes, queues and tap & go, one of their priorities it to make sure the customers feel appreciated. Without this critical skill from our future service staff, our businesses are at risk of loosing the human connection with the customer. Fast alone will not sustain.
I conducted back in 2013 an experiment that talked right to the heart of this concept. Testing the theory of mutual appreciation for staff and customer set in one of the trendiest café hubs of Melbourne. In the video I captured different employee reactions to me (the customer) wearing a name badge as I ordered my coffee. The Objective of the experiment was to observe what happens when an employee is empowered to use the customer’s name. The ‘Say my Name’ experiment highlights mutual appreciation for employee and customer.
‘”Why serve when you can inspire”