Stay focused on what your customers really need. Not what you think they need

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In December of last year I was contacted by the folks at PARTTEAM & OEMKIOSKS, a Portuguese technology company who manufacture multimedia kiosks, self-service equipment, digital billboards, interactive tables and other digital solutions for all types of sectors and industries, and asked to participate in their Connecting Stories interview initiative.

I thought I’d share that interview with you:

Tell us about your personal career and professional experience over the years.

Economist, teacher, business developer, coach, (failed) entrepreneur, intrapreneur, consultant, (nearly) steel magnate and corporate venturer.
These are some of the titles that I have had over the years. As such, I don’t really think I have had a career but rather I’ve had a journey or series of adventures.

You have a column on Forbes where you regularly write about customer service and CX (customer experience). What’s the biggest challenge / responsibility you find on this task these days?

I don’t consider myself a natural writer so coming up with new ideas and connections is often hard.

While I may not enjoy parts of the process, I persist with it though as I like the thinking and communicating process behind writing and I enjoy the outcome, i.e capturing and communicating a thought or idea.

How do you think we can achieve more balance between Digital CX Solutions and the Human Touch?

For me, you have to start with strategy as too many CX initiatives are not connected to an organization’s strategy and, thus, struggle to prove their worth. Therefore, firms need to ask themselves:

“What is your experience strategy and why? And how does it enable and support your business strategy?”

Only when you have answered these questions will you be able to develop a better idea of the appropriate balance of tech and the human touch across different groups of customers and different parts of their journeys.

You have to start with strategy as too many CX initiatives are not connected to an organization’s strategy.

What would be the best advice you give to a technology company who work everyday on leveling “Human vs Machines”?

The more time you spend understanding your customers and/or the users of your technology, the greater your insight will be into how your technology can help improve their experience.

Stay focused on what your customers really need (not what you think they need), what their objectives are and how you can help. If you keep doing that you won’t go far wrong.

Building better relationships with people around us can be a very productive goal inside organisations in order to leverage the potential of a team. What would be your best advice to achieve this goal?

Two things:

  • One, before you send that next email, ask yourself if you could pick up the phone and speak to that person, could you video call them or if you could wander around to their desk to talk to them (assuming they are in the same office).
  • Two, next time you have a conversation whether face to face or over the phone… Listen more, listen harder and listen to really understand. Most people don’t do this really well because it is hard and takes time and effort. However, it’s worth it and makes a difference to everything.

PARTTEAM & OEMKIOSKS work on the premise “The more technology we have in our lives, more the human factor will make the difference”. What is your opinion about this premise?

I agree. Technology is playing an increasingly important role in all of our lives, but human contact and connection is what we want and what really matters to use as people.

Technology firms that get this and can use technology to both facilitate and support that human connection will be those that thrive.

Technology is playing an increasingly important role in all of our lives.

We provide a large portfolio of solutions for cities through digital billboards (such as programmatic advertising, charging stations and defibrillators, etc.). What do you think is the next gap that we should focus on filling?

I think the development of smart cities is interesting and exciting and worth keeping an eye on.

Thanks to PARTTEAM & OEMKIOSKS for the image.

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