The quality of and delivery of services have always been assessed on the basis of human interaction. But is this still valid? Or is technology changing the way services are designed and delivered?
Remember when only a few had credit cards? Or when we had to go to travel agencies to book your vacation?
Today, technology is increasingly influencing the way service providers interact with their customers. We explore the main trends below.
Personalized service automation and self-service
Before, when we were faced with a service delivery, we met with the service staff prepared to support us in everything regarding the customer. However, today, and in line with the emerging impact of technology, we see more and more examples of self-service and service automation.
A clear example is airline online check-in or self-service in shops, gas stations and supermarkets.
When we call customer service on the phone, we most likely encounter an automatic operator instead of a person. The same happens when you contact via email, where, in that case, intelligent software will probably answer you.
Back office service automation and self-service technologies can sometimes be considered a benefit to us as consumers. A benefit because we can receive a service in our own building, without having to waste time in queues and having the option of having our queries processed faster than ever.
In addition, as the operating costs of the companies decrease, the services can also be provided at a much lower cost.
Organisations, on the other hand, should be careful to over-force customers to use self-service or automated technologies. In fact, they will have to strive to maintain a balance in order to avoid losing the human touch characteristic of the process.
A growing portfolio of accessible services
With the emergence of the online world, a World Without Borders was also achieved. In other words, technology has extended our ability to reach global customers in an unimaginable way until not too long ago.
Whereas previously it was normal to serve local consumers, now, with one click, transactions and services can be made between countries and continents, reaching anyone with Internet access.
Global services take advantage of digital services, resulting in companies having available the space previously occupied by expensive physical inventories.
Think of service giants like Amazon or Netflix. Due to technological advances, these types of companies can offer a surprising portfolio of services at the lowest possible cost, reaching, moreover, all customers who are connected from anywhere in the world.
Increased consumer data
In self-service material, automation and an increase in online services, some critical voices are raised in support of the idea that, if this continues, the provision of services will become less and less personal. But does this mean that sooner or later we will lose that human touch?
Not necessarily. It will depend on how good we are by balancing the good things that technology brings us as well as our definition of quality of Service.
Technology brings us more than automation and the ability to provide a service at a lower price; it also gives us the opportunity to collect customer data, analyze it and use the analyzed data to better meet your needs.
As a company, we can use these discoveries and know-how to adjust and customize our service offerings, leading to an improvement in customer satisfaction and service experience.
This use of technology is already seen in other industries such as Netflix, which analyzes user behavior in order to be able to suggest new films; or as online reservation portals type Hotels.com they analyze user behavior to suggest to their users, based on their previous searches and behavior patterns, the best hotels.
Through our partnership with IBM Watson, and with the use of sensor technology, we at ISS use that data and knowledge to create more personalized service experiences tailored to the needs and well-being of each of the people who occupy a building. Now, we can understand how people move around the offices, what services they prefer and at what time, or when a service provides the most value and vice versa.
There is No doubt that using this data and having the ability to use it intelligently will be one of the keys to achieving a competitive advantage in the future.