In his first guest blog for CSIA, John R. DeJulius discusses the importance of maintaining professional expertise and service excellence in this digital age – CSIA Editorial Team
One result is the commoditization of professional knowledge. For decades, professionals were able to charge premium fees for their expertise, which was considered a rare and valuable skill. As a result of living in a world with access to the internet, the value of expertise in many professions has been dramatically reduced. Much of what customers would have called an expert for in the past—in private banking, consulting, or even engineering, say—can be found online in a few minutes today.
This raises the question: How can professionals differentiate themselves? The marketplace is flooded with companies offering the same products, and it is nearly impossible to tell any of them apart. I believe that today the only way a company can differentiate itself is through building relationships with its employees, customers, and the community.
Technology is not the answer. Even the most highly developed machines cannot show genuine compassion and empathy or recognize customer pain points on a personal level. AI cannot engage humans emotionally. The most important asset needed to truly connect with customers is the ability to empathize, yet AI solutions are incapable of placing themselves in another person’s shoes. It is time to make the human part of the customer experience our top priority.
Our technologies are racing ahead, but our skills and organizations are lagging behind – John R. DeJulius
In their book Race Against the Machine, Erik Brynjolfsson and Andrew McAfee say, “The root of our problems is not that we’re in a Great Recession or a Great Stagnation, but rather that we are in the early throes of a Great Restructuring. Our technologies are racing ahead, but our skills and organizations are lagging behind.”
Businesses have created this situation for themselves by not focusing on the customer experience, not making it a priority, and not training customer-facing employees how to connect with customers. Yes, this is a crisis; but it’s also a potential turning point: Organizations and professionals can complain, or they can adapt to what the future holds.
HOW ARE YOU GOING TO COMPETE?
In order to dominate in the Relationship Economy, organizations have to intentionally train their employees to avoid the traps of a low service aptitude and embrace the customer’s perspective. Doing that requires real commitment on the part of a company and someone to make sure that it’s followed up by action.
John R. DiJulius is a best-selling author, consultant, keynote speaker and President of The DiJulius Group, the leading customer experience consulting firm in the nation. He blogs on customer experience trends and best practices.