With artificial intelligence set to take over 50% of the functions in a company, discussions often turn to what technology companies must invest in to compete. But for businesses of the future, superior technology is not the deciding factor for success. Perhaps counterintuitively, it is an investment in human capital which will set companies apart from competitors.
A company must understand its Why before thinking about its What and How. The Why of a company is its higher purpose – its reason for existing (apart from making a profit).
1) Take an inward-out approach
To deliver an outstanding product or service, companies must take an inward-out approach to customers. In other words, the company must first assess its product from the viewpoint of the consumer. It must have a genuine and empathetic understanding of the customer’s needs, and adapt its product to suit. This is in contrast to an outward-in approach, which leads companies to develop products that suit itself (products that are easier or cheaper to produce), that it must then push onto the consumer.
A good example of the inward-out approach is provided by Airbnb. The founders saw a need for good affordable accommodation when local hotels were either overbooked or overpriced. But instead of raising capital to open yet another hotel or hostel, they chose a different business model altogether.
An inward-out approach ensures that customers’ needs are met, even though it may initially be more tiresome or costly for the company. But it translates to vastly superior products (and profit) in the longer term.
2) Treat customer service as a product
A company that thinks it will beat the competition with its product alone is barking up the wrong tree. Product parity is fast becoming the norm, with consumers unable to really differentiate between companies. That’s why 88% of consumers will choose to
One example of better experience enticing customers away from the competition comes courtesy of the banking industry. A variety of personal and business loans, savings and investment products, and different cheque and credit accounts are offered by everyone. The difference in fees is usually minimal. So, what makes a consumer choose one bank over another? The answer
While parity in products is fast becoming unavoidable, consumers are equally quick to recognise and appreciate a better overall experience. That’s why customer service is a product in itself – it sells the company better than any product can.
3) Provide the personal touch
From self-checkout terminals at grocery stores to completely self-service fast food, many businesses are seeking to reduce or eliminate human interaction on their premises. And though this may seem the quicker, cheaper option, it also makes companies which provide the human touch stand out.
When consumers are used to fending for themselves, personal service will become a premium offering. While the majority of customers will be served by artificial intelligence, human employees will cater to the discerning few. For example, while Flippy the burger-grilling robot will undoubtedly undergo many upgrades, allowing it to produce ever more burgers at a faster rate, artisanal burgers will still enjoy a loyal following. Similarly, while many insurance and investment companies are looking into chatbots to replace human call
New technology can replace many functions, but as we note in our blog ‘why profit is no longer purpose’, nothing can replace human connection. And before a customer will buy the product, it must first buy the seller. That’s why building and maintaining a relationship with clients through
4) Have a likeable personality
In addition to providing a better overall experience, customers will also be judging a company on its personality. The customer must find something appealing about the brand itself, and identify with it. This is especially important when the product or service the company offers isn’t an exciting thing in and of itself. In this case, personality must help to sell functionality.
American mattress brand Casper thoroughly understands this thinking. Rather than attempting to sway customers by focussing on mattress firmness or price, it has created a fun, witty personality that entertains customers during the day and promises a great sleep at night. Often lauded online for its sparkling
While commentators continue to bash on about the pros and cons of technology, companies that understand the value of interpersonal relationships will not need to worry, knowing full well that it’s not the former that determines success, but the latter. And for any company that wants to improve its relations with stakeholders, both internal and external – check out our blog titled’ 3 characteristics of the future-ready business’ to see why Kalido is the perfect tool to help you do so.