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Is technology a CX superdrug or a placebo?

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Is technology always the answer? Co-founder and president of ImprintCX, Ed Murphy, uses the findings of a recent PWC report as a lens to explore CX's over-reliance on technology.

15th Dec 2022
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The recent PWC report “Experience is everything: Here’s how to get it right” validates many of the principles that leading global CX authority Lior Arussy has consistently expressed long before others spoke about them.

Almost a decade ago we used to joke and say, “A fool with a tool is still a fool.” In most cases we were referring to Voice of Customer (VOC) programmes and how companies viewed VOC as being customer-focussed or having a CX strategy.

That same phrase still holds true, in that, some people still view a VOC as having a CX strategy. But unfortunately, too many firms have defaulted to believing a technology-based solution alone will either fix, improve or deliver exceptional customer experiences.

For many organisations, technology is an experience placebo – it makes them feel good that they are using technology, they are keeping up with the competition, they may even be patting themselves on the back as it reduces costs.

'64% of US consumers and 59% of all consumers feel that companies have lost touch with the human element of customer experience'

But too often the utilisation of technological solutions has little to no positive long-term effect on the customer experience. PWC reports that “64% of US consumers and 59% of all consumers feel that companies have lost touch with the human element of customer experience”.

Furthermore, the report states 55% of US consumers and 43% of all consumers strongly disagree that once technology becomes advanced, we won’t need people for great experiences.

In recent years we have seen a shift to DIY models, as companies further develop technology and AI. However, the importance of human interactions to support and enhance experiences will only increase.

The DIY model is excellent for many types of interactions, but when the model doesn’t fit, if a link is broken or whatever the reason may be, knowledgeable, well-trained human support must always be available. And through technology, they should have up-to-date information on your customer and their issue.

Technology has the potential to be an experience super drug, but only if the technology is designed by a cross-functional team with a focus on the customer and an understanding that the customer must have the ability to easily speak with a person throughout their transaction.

Technology has the potential to be an experience super drug, but only when it coexists with human support.

In today's environment, technology – just like human support – cannot successfully operate in a vacuum. They need to coexist and support each other, so that customers can benefit from the combination of the two have the best possible experience.

The PWC describes the CX technology challenge as the need to: “use technology with purpose to make experience feel more human – without creating frustration for customers while empowering employees”.

This is partially accurate; for technology to be an experience super drug the challenge is to fuse technology with human experiences – without creating frustration for customers, all while empowering employees. Fusion is about understanding the customer journey, and designing experiences that deliver the right level of technology and human interactions to deliver a seamless experience.

When technology is fused correctly with human interactions, employees can focus on empathy, building relationships, and delivering human experience with customers getting the best digital and human experience.

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