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Today I’m pleased to share a guest post by Dwayne Charrington.

Technology surrounds us in countless applications, right from the simplest of mechanical devices operated manually, like twisting a doorknob, to the most-sophisticated electronic devices, like over-the-air charging of mobile devices, to name a few.

These devices are designed to do things better, more conveniently, and perhaps quicker than before. Most of all, they are meant to enhance the user experience. The desire to seek more-advanced technology every time is there primarily because we want better experiences. Our lives are driven by this intent.

So are our businesses. Any new technology adopted in businesses is intended to be used for the betterment of work, employees, and of course, the customers. It helps in executing things in a better, more-efficient manner, leading to superior experiences both inside and outside of a business.

So, nearly two decades have passed in the 21st century, and we are standing on the verge of a transition in the way we run businesses. We are today witnessing the potential of a number of futuristic technologies that will transcend present customer experiences.

There is a lot to look forward to:
●    3D Printing
●    Artificial Intelligence
●    Virtual Reality
●    “As a service” concept
●    Drones

3D Printing to revolutionize product building
Many of us have heard a lot about 3D printing by now, and it promises to ease the availability of products by quickening the overall production process.

The application of this technology has already begun in the automotive sector by reputed companies like BMW. The German automobile manufacturer used 3D printing in 2012 to make wheelchairs for a Paralympic basketball team. Main advantages over conventional techniques were that they were lighter in weight and customized to fit right from the production stage.

After this success, BMW has since been using 3D printing for various automotive production purposes. The body of one of its latest cars, i8 Roadster, has been produced using 3D printing to achieve overall lightweight construction and enhanced precision.

AI will customize responses depending on human emotions
AI is truly a prominent, visionary technology that is gaining popularity exponentially. Its use has already begun in various business applications, and it is only going up from hereon.

Chatbot is one of its business applications that is being used to heighten the usability of live chat software, simply because a human can’t answer chats 24 hours a day. It is not as sophisticated as its potential suggests, but it’s getting the job done.

Among its many applications, AI will not only understand people’s requirements, but by analyzing human voices, words, and facial expressions, it will recognize a person’s mood and customize its responses accordingly. Consider this a necessity for using AI for creating better customer experiences because humans don’t take kindly to responses that lack empathy, and putting a machine to do it makes it worse. But AI is designed to learn, improve, and improvise, so watch out for rapid improvements.

Virtual reality to bring realism in experiencing new concepts
Today, a person may visit a nearby shopping mall to check a demo of a virtual reality headset and experience herself being in the middle of a completely computer-generated world.

Various sectors are beginning to use VR to deliver next-level experiences to their customers. In the automotive sector, companies are enabling visitors to experience automobiles in a virtual world. This is the best workaround to experience a product in its absence or something that doesn’t exist at all.

VR is making its way into other sectors, such as architecture, where people can get a realistic experience of the dimensions and scale of a room or a building. That it is capable of drastically enhancing customer experiences across industries is what makes virtual reality one of the most-anticipated technologies for the future.

Increasing use of “as a service” concept beyond software
Presently, software-as-a-service (SaaS) is the most preferred way of implementing software solutions for businesses due to its cost effectiveness.

On a related note, cloud-based services are only going to become more common, as they offer virtually limitless space when compared to local storage. For example, Google has been offering unlimited cloud storage for photos on its Android platform through its Photos app. This is on of the most-liked features in the Android community (and in the mobile industry, in general).

However, it can be expected in the future that the concept of “as a service” will expand beyond software and into physical products. Renting of services will be done even more extensively than it is today. This is not really a new concept. For example, many people are opting for cabs instead of buying a car itself. Sure, taking a cab regularly may not be cheap, but you don’t have to worry about the vehicle maintenance or parking, at least.

A very interesting application of the “as a service” concept can be found at Rent A Goat, where people can actually hire or rent goats to clear their lawns of unwanted vegetation!

Drones will take product delivery to the next level
Buying online has become quite common, and people expect things to be delivered as quickly as possible. We are even ready to pay a little extra for “within 24 hours” delivery. Logistics need to be well-organized and properly coordinated among various departments so that customers promptly receive what they have ordered within the mentioned timeline. And nothing gets lost.

The future of transportation of goods is right out of a sci-fi movie scene – drones. Like some remarkable technologies mentioned here, drones also have great potential, from being a kid’s toy to a surveillance device. And it clearly makes sense as a viable delivery option for goods in the future.

It is not science fiction anymore, even though the applications are largely at a smaller scale presently. For example, Zipline is a drone delivery service for medical supplies, serving extensively in Rwanda. The company has served 13,000,000 people since it began operating in 2014. Naturally, the company is working to rapidly expand its network.

There are, of course, challenges related to security and privacy for people in using drones at a mass scale, but these issues are being worked out because the benefits are huge. All these radical technologies must blend with universal concepts of doing business in order to be successful. These concepts are:

●    Possess a customer-centric mindset
●    Maintain privacy of customer data while personalizing experiences
●    Transform and adapt to changes with time

Customer-centric mindset
This is possibly the most-important way of doing business regardless of the scale and industry of your work. Every employee and department in your company must work with this mindset. Customer service is supposed to come naturally to businesses and shouldn’t be considered as a task assigned solely to a particular team.

Making your customers feel important each time they interact with your business creates satisfying experiences, and they feel inclined to come to you for more business.

Moreover, this mindset has a positive cascading effect down to your dedicated customer support team. The happier your customers are, the fewer complaints you’re going to deal with. Nonetheless, it should be combined with ongoing business processes to be absolutely effective, regardless of your business size.

For example, incorporating a help desk software not only helps you manage customer queries in a systematic manner but also assists you in smoothing internal, as well as external, communication regarding customer issues.

Your support software should provide a single inbox, shared by all the concerned departments, where all customer queries are saved as tickets. From there on, the tickets are managed methodically by the concerned individual or team. There’s no possibility of missing a ticket because each ticket can be assigned a status for progress tracking – no customer is left behind.

This software gives you and your employees access to various customer experience and customer service analytics. Both are used to help understand and to improve the customer experience; the customer experience analytics provides data about their journey with your business, and the customer service analytics provides data about your support teams’ performance (individual and team outcomes), allowing you to coach team members in order to improve the customer experience.

Ensure customer data privacy while personalizing experiences

When you are interacting with your customers, you are doing it at an individual level. Your purpose is to serve that particular customer to the best of your ability. Each technology, is designed to personalize customer experiences to a whole new level.

At the same time, ensuring the security of customer data shall continue to be a high priority for businesses. Your customers should feel confident in sharing information about themselves that could help you personalize experiences for them. Data security (or lack thereof) is one of those things that can easily make people skeptical of your business. For example, people now regularly discuss and debate using location services on their smartphones and how it may or may not compromise individual security/privacy.

Transform and adapt
It’s always nice to hold on to the good things. But change is inevitable, and it is the one thing that never stops. Technology makes way for more technology, it is only natural for us to move on with the times. Virtual reality, artificial intelligence, 3D printing, and drones are some of the futuristic customer experience technologies that can do wonders for your business and for your customers. Making use of each where it makes sense ensures new customer experiences that, currently, are like the tip of an iceberg.

Dwayne Charrington is a technical writer currently associated with ProProfs Help Desk. He possesses hands-on experience in writing for the customer service industry. Dwayne is insightful when it comes to industrial challenges, emerging customer service trends, and how businesses overcome related challenges. Dwayne likes drawing connections between different industries and entities while designing his blogs.

Image courtesy of Pixabay.