It’s not an understatement to suggest that technology has completely revolutionized the customer experience. Developments in software, hardware and connectivity greatly influence the way that we research and obtain a product or service.
Not so long ago, a cell phone simply existed to make and receive phone calls, as well as for text messaging- even though that took a while to catch on. Nowadays it’s common to carry a phone in your pocket that has the processing power of some computers, allowing the user to go online, anytime, anywhere and conduct their business, whether it’s buying something from eBay or simply updating their Facebook.
If technology is successfully implemented, then consumers will embrace it, although there will always be some holdouts. For example, when ATM’s became commonplace in the 1970’s, many customers were suspicious about getting money from a machine and instead opted to actually go into the bank and speak to a real person. There are many ways to use technology to maximize customer satisfaction, and a lot of that is due to the portability of many tablet devices, allowing a level of interaction that was never before possible.
Tablets and Dining
While we’re not at the point where a robot waiter can bring you your order, we are certainly in a time when a computer can take your order. Automated websites that offer a range of food home delivery options, from a vast array of restaurants, are common in many countries. The customer inputs their order, the request is sent to the restaurant in question, the food is prepared and dispatched, and the only human interaction is opening the door to the delivery person.
There are comparable developments in the experience of actually dining out. Nationwide food chain TGI Friday’s has developed an app that allows customers to use their iPhone, iPad or Android Phone to order and pay while sitting in the restaurant, almost negating the need for a server. Rajat Suri, a Boston based entrepreneur has developed Presto, a restaurant-specific tablet that sits on a restaurant table, allows you input your order, electronically pay, and even emails you an invoice. While the device is experiencing some success, it’s not unthinkable to speculate that larger computer companies might start to develop their own versions of the technology using their own tablets, should this prove to be a lucrative market.
iPads and Retail
The influential Bloomberg media group estimates that by 2015, some 85% of purchases will have some sort of electronic interaction, whether that’s by the entire purchasing process taking place online, or customers researching products online and checking stock availability at a retailer before going to the location and making a physical purchase.
While the human experience will continue to be a vital part of the retail experience, many retailers are using technology to automate some processes and enhance others. Many larger retailers have one or more iPad floor stands in their premises where a customer can search for the location and price of a product within the store, and sometimes even pay for it themselves without ever having to speak to a salesperson or cashier. This isn’t appropriate for all types of retail, but many customers seem to prefer it- supermarkets are trialing partially automated scanning devices that will register exactly what a customer has in their cart, allowing them to quickly pay and leave the store.
Some consumers will always prefer the human element- to get information about a product or service from a person, but we’re fast approaching the stage when human interaction will be completely optional.
Featured image: License: Shutterstock.com
This guest-post was written by David Kovacs who is an online marketing enthusiast from Hungary and loves to share his thoughts and articles on various channels in topics related to marketing, business and SEO. If you have any question feel free to leave a comment or follow him on Twitter.