Tracking the emotion of your customers through wearable technology

A few times over the last month I’ve been asked; “What is the next technology that will revolutionise customer experience?” I often struggle to answer this as the technology might not have an obvious application or have even been created yet, especially given the fast-paced innovation that is currently occurring. With this in mind I thought I’d open it up to my peers (via LinkedIn and Twitter) to see what they would like to hear about and although it was a close fought race, wearable technology triumphed.

What is wearable technology?

Wearable technology has been around for a long time but only recently has it hit the mainstream with fitness trackers first leading the way, followed by the surge in popularity for the Apple Watch. Wearable technology allows users to integrate other devices and elements from their physical world to create an enhanced experience. Forrester report that by 2018, this market will be worth an estimated 12.6 billion U.S. dollars.

How can it enhance the customer experience?

What excites me most about this technology is its ability to transform customer experiences. But with that power comes customer demand and we as brands need to act fast or risk being left behind.

Technology continues to become more intimate and a more deeply-connected aspect of everyone’s life. Wearables will only increase customers’ expectations for a personalised approach to support. They will expect support to be a seamless transition from device to device. Customers will expect that a customer support agent anticipates their needs.

– Tom Christenson, President of Contact Center Solutions at CGS

We do however have to be careful, as investing in the technology comes at a cost and without tangible results, it can be a loss leader. So how do we achieve an ROI?

A recent study from RackSpace revealed that employees who use wearable technology increased their productivity by 8.5% and their satisfaction by 3.5%.

How can it be used to measure the customer experience?

So you’ve embarked on a journey to enhance the customer experience through wearable technology, great, but how do you know whether you’re achieving it? The temptation, with all new things, is to dive straight in with no way of measuring. Just think back to the early days of social media (actually some brands are still doing this) where we dropped our tried and tested means and methods to invest in this channel. But Why? “Because everyone’s doing it so we must”. Wrong! Just because something is popular doesn’t mean it is right for your brand or your customers; your market or audience might not be ready yet and possibly never will be. But don’t let that put you off… Adopt a test and learn methodology, invest a small amount on a very specific segment and see if it works, if it doesn’t don’t give up straight away, invest another small amount, this time on a different segment until you start to see results. If you don’t then maybe this isn’t right for your customers, that’s fine, there’s no doubt something else will be right for your company and your customers.

TIP 1) Focus your test and learn methodology on your advocates as they’re more likely to give new things a go and be honest with you.

Now you need to decide on what you’re going to measure and how. This is key as measuring the wrong things can lead to miss-investment – where possible try and track it back to something that affects your bottom line.

Here’s an idea…

  • Integrate wearable technology with your existing app and start measuring your customer’s heart rates, focus on when there is a change as this could indicate a good or bad experience. When you notice a spike reach out through the app via a push notification and ask the customer for their feedback. Once you have this the trick is to show this insight alongside their purchasing habits. Did a heightened experience lead to more spend, did a bad experience lead to them not spending at all? Use this insight wisely and you could start to reap the rewards.

Sound a bit crazy? Jaguar once teamed up with Wimbledon to enable the coverage to focus on what the crowd is enjoying based on their heart rates:

Now I’m not expecting everyone to go out start measuring their customer’s heart rates but hopefully, that will help provoke other interesting ideas. If it has I’d love to hear about them, why not tweet me @yiannismaos

TIP 2: When capturing feedback just ask for a score and a comment to make it really easy and where possible gamify the mechanism.

Remember a great experience starts with your employees

I believe the best place to start with increasing customer satisfaction and service is with the frontline. These hugely important people have the ability to create wow experiences much more than technology ever will. Why not empower them by giving them wearable technology to make their lives and the lives of your customers easier.

From a customer service perspective, wearables can enable [The Frontline] to be ‘heads up and hands free,’ so they can provide customer service and not be ‘heads down,’ focused on a screen.

– Patrick Fitzgerald, EVP of Theatro

The ability to provide real-time information to consumers can be a huge differentiator for brands:

“ When a front-line worker has context-sensitive information, a customer is far more likely to say this company cares about me as an individual.”

– PWC, If Technology Made Us More Human

In Summary…

  • Understand if wearables are right for you and your customers
    – if not look into other technologies
  • Use them to enhance the customer experience
  • Measure the customer experience
  • Test, Learn & Enhance!
  • Use them to engage and empower your employees
  • Finally, have fun – be creative and experiment