Will the fantastic customer experiences of the future exclude the human touch?
Alice Withers, Business Consultancy Researcher, People 1st
Imagine checking into your hotel, but it isn’t a person who hands over your room key; it’s a robotic dinosaur wearing a small white hat. Seems unbelievable, but at the Manna Hotel in Japan this is everyday reality. A stay at this special hotel includes a robot concierge, a small robot that delivers your room service, and robots essentially doing every job possible.
The hotel has now been open for just over a year, and has received mixed reviews. This could be down to teething problems, but maybe it‘s as simple as the hotel lacking the human touch.
While the concept of the Manna Hotel is more of a gimmick than a practical example of incorporating technology into your business, it does raise the question of how you can use technology to effectively enhance the customer experience your staff offer, rather than to replace them.
Technology is unlikely to ever replace all jobs; even at the Manna Hotel they haven’t found a robot that can change your bed sheets!
The travel industry is a good place to look for inspiration on the right way to embrace modern technology, as two major travel operators have recently demonstrated to their and their customers’ benefit.
Both Thomas Cook and TUI have recently introduced special stores where customers can not only browse for their next holiday destination, but experience the destination too. These stores use virtual reality to give customers an insight into the locations and hotels they could visit. They can take a virtual walk in 3D around a seaside town, or use the experience to explore a hotel’s facilities before they book.
This technology sits alongside and works with staff to give customers the best booking experience possible. In fact, Thomas Cook recently suggested the improved customer experience has helped them to secure more bookings.
Here at People 1st, we’re currently exploring the concept of the customer experience, with how to use technology effectively as one of the key issues.
What would you like to know about enhancing your customer experience? How has technology influenced your customer experience strategy? Is your business doing something innovative that you’d love to share?