Jan de Keselby Jan De Kesel  

In the new value-led service economy, customer experience (CX) is not simply a “nice-to-have” aspiration, but a benchmark of success. Consumers will dump products and suppliers after a bad experience and this intolerance is spreading to the workplace. Happily, digital service platforms can fix the clunky communications and opaque processes that are common denominators in poor customer and employee experience. 

According to Gartner’s 2018 Customer Experience in Marketing Survey*, more than two-thirds of companies now compete mostly based on CX. Statistics also show the negative impact of poor customer experience, including the 70 percent of respondents to Salesforce’s 2016 State of the Connected Customer survey who said technology makes it easier to take their business elsewhere.

Ubiquitous component approach
An ideal approach is a digital service platform that uses cheap and easy-to-use components to improve customer or employee experience by linking any physical asset to any process. The outcome is two-click interactions that operate over any legacy infrastructure and are configured using ubiquitous smartphone-plus-app together with quick response (QR) bar codes or other visual identifiers.

At the simplest level, this can take the form of an app. An employee can quickly deal with a broken printer by pointing a smartphone loaded with the app at the offending device. The app recognizes the QR code and invokes the menu of repair options contracted with the service supplier, and the user simply selects one. This cuts out tedious administrative tasks and frees up employee time for more productive and innovative work.

Affordable fix for workflow pain
Aside from facilitating optimal customer service in a multitude of similar help desk and repair scenarios, the digital service platform facilitates diverse workflow transactions between customer and supplier, or between business departmental staff. The digital service platform can simply and affordably solve the following pain points for any business in any sector:

  • Bridge boundaries and silos that exist within most organizations, hardwired by legacy workflow, and which incur cost and stunt productivity.
  • Overcome the limitations of the Internet of Things by providing the means to cheaply connect any physical device and to plug human sensing into a Total Internet of Things.
  • Quickly respond to a changing business environment or customer demand by enabling an organization to easily execute processes with new business partners and customers.

Multiple sectors benefit from compliance 
Numerous industries and organizations can benefit from simplifying transactions between customers, suppliers and staff by linking physical assets to routine workflow and processes. Hospitals can tag patients with a bracelet bearing a unique QR code, ensuring all health workers involved in their treatment follow correct processes and procedures.

Manufacturing typically entails the operation of expensive machinery, which is regulated for health and safety purposes. QR codes for individual pieces of a kit can record serial, model and unit numbers, all of which are important in the reporting process. Scanning the QR code from a smartphone invokes the relevant inspection routine and further prompts the inspector to photograph or video the equipment in action where needed.

Augmenting humans in the Total Internet of Things
The same means of augmenting staff with smartphones and QR codes to facilitate service call outs can also be deployed to plug humans into the IoT and to convey opinion. Customer experience is not just about the coffee machine working, but ensuring the flavor is good! A sensor in a coffee machine may be able to detect when coffee beans or paper cups run low, but it cannot detect when coffee tastes bad.

*Smarter with Gartner, Key Findings From the Gartner Customer Experience Survey, March 16, 2018 

Jan De Kesel is an entrepreneur and managing director of eesQ.