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How to use
technology
to improve
customer experience

Author: Amrita Singh

From retail to hospitality and nearly every industry in between, every business wants to find new ways for how to improve customer experience. Many companies today are increasingly using technology to improve customer experience, delivering value and convenience, and helping to create a more personalized experience

Using emerging technology to improve customer experience

Today, there’s a vast array of technology to improve customer experience. As more companies gather an ever-growing volume of customer information, customer data platforms (CDPs) can securely collect, store, analyze and deploy real-time information across digital experiences on mobile, the web and desktop. This information can help companies deliver a more personalized customer experience by organizing personal, behavioral and descriptive data, which can be used to refine marketing and product and customer service strategies.

The cloud enables companies to better manage the cost of data storage for this deluge of customer information. It also serves as the digital foundation for a host of modern tools and applications that allow companies to deliver a next-gen customer experience, such as augmented reality (AR), virtual reality (VR) and Internet of Things (IoT)-enabled devices.

With 5G network connectivity and mobile edge computing (MEC), companies can process and transmit data even faster since the data is stored closer to its intended source. This means customers can engage with various digital experiences—from immersive product demos to wayfinding in stores—without encountering slow download and upload speeds or performance issues.

AR and VR, for example, can facilitate virtual product previews from a customer’s own home with a few taps on their smartphone. 5G can drive faster data transmission that enables technicians to troubleshoot and resolve a customer service issue virtually using video support and screen sharing tools. 5G and MEC also can quickly deliver data to IoT-enabled devices and mobile apps that direct customers to where they can find the items on their shopping list in-store.

Along with modern network connectivity, artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning are transforming the customer experience to deliver a more personalized experience. This branch of computing powers emerging technology to improve the customer experience, including conversational chatbots, voice assistants, predictive analytics, speech recognition and natural language processing used in cloud-based customer contact centers.

How to improve customer experience

When looking at how to improve customer experience, the biggest advantage of all these technologies is that they drive automation and personalization. No matter how large a company is, it would be nearly impossible for its marketing, sales, product and business operations teams to process and analyze all the customer data it collects.

With cloud contact centers and emerging technologies, companies can undertake these tasks more efficiently and glean valuable insights from their data that they can use to deliver a better customer experience. For example, when looking for ways on how to improve customer experience, a home goods company can create an AR-enabled app for customers to virtually place furniture in their homes to try before they buy. Or, a hotel brand can deploy a chatbot on its website to help guests book and plan their vacations.

Technology to improve customer experience is also helping to reduce the friction out of the customer’s journey, including by leveraging analytics to personalize product recommendations, provide better service and reduce wait times when customers call into contact centers. Customer experience technology helps companies to develop a better understanding of and relationship with their customers.

As businesses leverage customer experience technology and how to improve customer experience, they also need to be cognizant of balancing the use of that technology with the human element of customer interaction.

Customer experience technology balances machines with a human touch

For all of the automation, efficiency and personalization that technology provides, there’s nothing like the human element of customer service.

Take chatbots, for example. Using natural language processing, chatbots can answer a customer’s basic questions, but they often direct customers to a service agent when they have a more complex issue. A human can listen to a customer’s frustrations, understand the nuances of the issue they face and appropriately guide the customer to a solution. Customer service agents may also have years of experience and institutional knowledge working for a company that they can use to more effectively help customers. No matter how sophisticated a piece of technology is, it can’t compete in this regard when it comes to human-to-human interaction.

To deliver the best customer experience, companies must focus on combining these two powerful forces. They can leverage the power of technology to improve customer experience—such as customer data platforms, cloud contact centers and AI-driven solutions for automation—to access analytics and craft better cross-channel digital experiences. They can then harness the talents and skills of their employees to better address customer needs as they engage with these experiences to deliver a better, more personalized customer experience.

The future of the customer experience and customer personalization will rest on a human-centered approach to technology, one that constantly evolves as customers’ needs change. The best technology to improve customer experience may involve using digital tools to allow customers to search for products or get timely information using a voice device or a voice-enabled mobile app. Customer experience technology may take the form of self-service, contactless experiences that allow hotel guests to use a digital concierge service to plan their stay, or it could be solutions that automate door-to-door delivery of personal and pet care products.

With customer experience technology, the possibilities for personalization are expanding rapidly. Even more important, these advances will help free companies to harness their most valuable resource—their employees—to handle more complex customer needs, which ultimately will strengthen their long-term relationship with customers.

Technology to improve customer experience has come a long way. Want to learn more about how to improve customer experience? Discover how Verizon’s customer experience technology can help to improve customer experience and deliver a more personalized customer experience.

Amrita Singh is Manager, Product Marketing Customer Experience and Contact Center Solutions at Verizon.