How companies are using technology to boost the customer experience
Whether it's creating an app that gives customers real-time information or offering different ways for customers to make a transaction, companies are experimenting with various technologies to boost the overall customer experience, both in-store and through mobile.
Here are five ways companies are using technology to transform the customer experience:
1. Phone mobility
When customers want to make a purchase or have a question, they often reach for their phones. That's why it's so important for companies to make sure someone is always on the other side. After all, missed calls could lead to missed business opportunities.
Today, businesses are taking advantage of new features that increase phone mobility, including call forwarding, sequential ring, and simultaneous ring, as well as downloadable apps that make mobile phones virtual extensions of landline phone numbers. These features help ensure that employees can answer or transfer calls and check and manage voicemails from any location.
2. Seamless payment options
It seems as if there are now countless ways to pay for an item, which is great news for customers who leave their credit cards at home or just prefer to pay with the click of a button. With the rise of Apple Pay, Square, and more, mobile payments have become a no-brainer for many brands. In fact, mobile payments are estimated to reach $90 billion by 2017.
Additionally, brands such as Walgreens, Starbucks, and the Home Shopping Network use Visa Checkout, which stores customers' credit-card information and allows them to pay without leaving the site.
3. Touch-screen kiosks
Touch-screen kiosks are an increasingly popular technology among fast-food restaurants, as they help expedite ordering. McDonald's is the latest to roll out self-serve kiosks across the country. Through touch-screen ordering, customers can customize their burgers and create unique combinations.
Eatsa, a fast-casual restaurant in San Francisco, takes it a step further by allowing customers to not only order healthy meals - like salads and quinoa bowls- via touch-screen kiosks but also pick up their food from personalized cubbies. There's no interaction with cashiers or wait staff whatsoever.
4. 3D body scanners
Some retail manufacturers are leveraging body scanners in an incredibly useful way. Instead of relying on a limited sizing system, they're using the technology to make sure customers always have the best fit.
For example, entreDonovan - a Delaware-based boutique clothing store for female professionals - uses body scanning technology to take a customer's precise measurements and then create custom clothing based on those measurements. Linda Farquhar, entreDonovan's owner and founder, was the Grand Prize winner for Comcast's Innovations 4 Entrepreneurs (I4E) contest in 2014.
5. Mobile apps
Companies can no longer ignore that most customers are glued to their smartphones. That's why more brands are experimenting with mobile apps to connect with customers more easily and give them real-time information and product updates. Through mobile apps, brands can offer on-demand services and real-time, location-based discounts, create loyalty programs, and much more.
Starbucks' mobile app, for instance, has been wildly successful for the brand because it offers a variety of features - like digital tipping, Shake to Pay (customers can bring up their Starbucks Card in the app simply by shaking their phone), and a dashboard for their loyalty program.
When you're considering which technology your company should use, always have your customers in mind. Whether it's a mobile app, a touch-screen kiosk, or an even newer type of technology, it should give your customers the best possible experience.
This post is sponsored by Comcast Business.
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