Technology and Its Role in Customer Experience

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electric-lockLast week’s focus was on your business culture and how knowing your client, following some basic rules, asking questions, and learning from your past would help you take the necessary steps in creating an open culture that better serves your clients.

Building on that experience, we need to look at the other major factors that influence the customer experience….Let’s take a look at technology and its relationship to customer experience.

Invest in More than Learning Technology
If you read last week’s blog on creating a more open culture, you are probably asking yourself what technology has to do with customer experience—having the latest versions or the quickest machines is great and may even make you more money in the short run—but let’s look at our investments in technology through the prism of the customer experience.

How often do we ask ourselves as we look at investments how we are better aligning our company with our customer’s needs, while improving the workflow of our business?

Seeing is Believing with Rapid Content Development
One of the first “Aha’s” we had at Allen was around the traditional method of developing scripts in a word document—you think it looks good—send out the script to client—they think it looks good—but you reach the online media version of the course and something just does not work… the client experience is marred by unmet expectations and you are forced to compromise on your agreed upon design ideas.

What technology could you invest in that would affect this bump in the customer experience road?

Once way is to invest in technology that allows customers to immediately see their content online to catch issues or problems. Once you start scripting online first, you enhance the customer experience, push difficult issues with content to the forefront, and allow the customer to see the content on the screen. This becomes a strong win win as expectations are met: customers have an easier time working with their subject matter experts and your designers create better workflow with the graphic and media side of the business.

The reality of what a good application of technology can do for us is amazing. Customers see things in the expected modality early on. For your business, it speeds the velocity of reaction with localization and small changes. Often, scripting can be costly to customers. Take away the minutia of experience by addressing it immediately. For instance, if during a training consulting meeting, an issue comes up, your designer can change it right there and fix what is necessary. This is rapid content development, but it is not a rapid prototype.

Rapid prototype is when media is designed before content development. That is not what we are talking about here. We have found that rapid prototyping creates many of the problems earlier visualization has come to solve. The basic premise we at Allen believe in, is that good design and content are king… rushing to media before a good design phase will often change the priorities in the design itself and focus more on pyrotechnics then on the needs of the learner and the instructional challenge presented by the content.

Instead, spend time figuring out the content first and speed up the media phase. Combine writing and media phase together, at least initial online scripting, to give customers a true taste before they approve the script—then check to see that this script works well for the online experience your client is seeking. This is rapid content development; it lessens the gap between ideal and real.

A Place for Everything
Another investment in technology is to find a central repository for all the documents you are working with that everyone would have access to. By being able to place all the moving parts of a project online, it alleviates lost faxes, emails, different versions of the same document, etc. Basically, it standardizes the workflow. Creating the technology that allows for this type of online central space takes away the uncertainty and allows for greater visibility and consistency.

By providing technology that helps the customer experience, you also allow for a faster and smoother work flow on both sides. The experience then is about more than just working efficiently with you, but about working more effectively within their project.

Give Your Customers a Choice
The beauty of technology is that you can explore the many ways in which to complete a project: more expensive, less expensive, longer, shorter, faster, media rich, highly interactive, etc. By providing these choices to check off along the way, you give clients the power to trade. You explore options with them and enable them to barter the best choices for their company.

By providing a range of choices, you treat every customer equally. Whether they are a $3000 to a $300,000 client, they need, they must, and they should get the same level of attention.

Without being able to scale and deliver, you aren’t providing the best customer experience. And without the right technology and processes in place, you can’t scale and deliver.

Final Week: Processes and how they add to the customer experience.

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