Striking A Balance Between Customer Service And Technology

The growing expectations of mobile consumers have forced brands and retailers to adapt their service strategies around new technology trends. However, it is often hit-or-miss to assume a technology solution will solve the bigger issues at hand. By focusing on the customer need, you can build a service and technology strategy that solves a problem rather than adding more barriers.

Keep Customer Needs At Forefront

When you take a look at Millennials vs. other generations navigating in the supermarket you notice differences in behavior. Millennials spend more time looking at their phones and are less likely to ask for help finding a product. It seems like a first instinct to provide them a mobile app for that store, but what is the issue the app solves in their path to purchase? Rather than provide a quick solution, the store will have added another set of barriers to finding products. 

Reducing Friction To Purchase



Chatbot adoption is on everyone’s radar to provide personalized experiences for mobile audiences. Over the next few years we may start interacting with multiple chatbots each designed for various retailers and brands, but eventually, they will likely face the same reality as apps – too many are built without a relevant reason to exist. Dominos has found initial success by having customers skip their app completely to order pizza via social media. Not only does it reduce friction in the order process, it also helps save their favorite orders and track deliveries. 

Tech Adds to Customer Service (Not a Replacement)

In the near future, brands may decide to build a tech solution to help customers find their products in store faster. One thing to consider before making that decision is who controls the retail channel. In a supermarket environment, there may already be a chatbot for the store which makes their tech solution unnecessary, and efforts can be focused on driving customers to use it to find your products. In a brand controlled retail environment with a variety of offerings, it may make sense to build something for customers that want to minimize the time spent in store. 

Human Attention to Detail

Personal assistants are one of many advancements that attempt to leverage human conversations to help customers decide what and where to buy things. However,  the human touch may be lost from the service experience when there are limited responses programmed to answer questions. Before adopting a solution think about how would a person handle a situation. What are the barriers that they cannot address, and what can they do that a digital tool cannot handle? Another way to think of the service experience is the complexity of the product or service. For simple services a chatbot may suffice, but for something that requires dedicated help directing them to a person will almost always be more valuable. While the device/software will eventually change, the constant center of any tech strategy will be a person.

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