Image by: jisc infonet
By Michael Sterling
Everything we’ve seen in science fiction movies is becoming more and more real, and it’s showing itself through contextual technology. Mobile devices, wearable technology, Bluetooth low energy, app communication, social network activity and everything else are only the beginning stages of “intelligent” machines.
Though it might seem creepy, it’s all up to interpretation. As a business man there’s no denying the fact that the digital age is going to take a giant leap forward this year. What you need to do is try and catch up. To do so you must first learn how to collaborate technology with your customers, and it’s easier than you think.
#1) More Data = More “Awesome”
Think about companies like Uber and Lyft. What makes them so fascinating to customers? It’s not the drivers, the availability or even the cheap price. It’s the data they have on your location, driver location and the ratings. Together, this builds trust and an “awesome” factor. The ranking system alone is enough to make people feel safe which keeps them coming back.
The very idea that “intelligent” technology is arriving faster than we think drives the entire philosophy of companies like Apple, whose customers desperately await the latest gadgets every year. It’s clear that consumers are tech-crazy which is why countless of startups are now implementing data as a spectacle tool to bring in customer’s interest.
Just how “cool” can your product be? That’s the 2014 philosophy and it’s only picking up more steam. Add the data, add the cool.
*Tip: Depending on what kind of service your company provides, consider adding small pieces of data, i.e. geo-location services, delivery driver-tracking, maybe even have a hidden camera in the car/kitchen so the customer can have a more personalized experience. These simple additions, though it does nothing for the actual product, will increase your company’s “awesome” factor which might spark interest.
#2) Sophisticated Customer Service
Contextual technology is slowly beginning to replace people with apps. Let me give you an example. Right now, there are hotels whose staff rummages through guests’ trash so they can write down what type of wine, water bottle brands, candy, etc. are left behind so they will have them ready during their next visit. Soon, this will all be replaced by apps.
Apps will be able to talk to apps while systems connect to social networks and any data source that can make the customer’s experience better. In essence, everything will be digital. No more rummaging for the poor old maids since the idea of labor will be a 20th century idea.
Google is getting a head start. Currently they’re working on technology that can share information between their apps. Their mission is to create gadgets with sophisticated ways of collecting data from the individual consumer, ultimately making their lives easier. Google Glass is only the beginning of this venture.
Imagine walking wearing a Nike Fuelband that tracks your nutrient deficiency. Now, picture it sending that information to your “intelligent” refrigerator which will have a replenishing drink waiting for you when you get home. Personalized, sophisticated, and automatic is where customer service is heading.
#3) Privacy Will Be The Hook
It’s so hard for customers to trust nowadays. Sure, data will make the experience all the more better, but the fact that it enables businesses, networks, and search engines to know everything about us makes us feel a bit uneasy. And let’s face it. If a customer feels like their privacy is being taken advantage of, all they need to do is delete the app.
One of the most important things you as a business owner need to push is the promise of privacy. No one wants to put a picture of themselves or their personal phone number on an app or service they feel will make it public somehow.
Within the next year, consider making your collection and use of data as transparent as possible not only to ease your customers’ minds, but as a strategic hook in gaining their trust. Add that to an already great experience and your company will stay afloat as you enter the new age of contextual technology.