The 21st Century is the Experience Century – the competition from the continued seismic shift toward online experiences vs face-to-face means that operators in every industry need to ensure their customer facing colleagues are more equipped than ever to provide the best possible customer experience. We too often see new technology aimed at the consumer but not the customer service team who serve them.

According to a recent PWC survey, speed, convenience, knowledgeable help and friendly service were mentioned as core to a positive customer experience by close to 80% of consumers. In the same survey nearly 20% of US consumers said they would stop interacting with a beloved brand after one bad experience. That number jumps to around a third for respondents outside the US, and to nearly half in Latin America, specifically.

Communication is key

Companies, organisations and brands that want to connect with these consumers must be using apps and other solutions such as Virtual Reality, not just in customer engagement, but also in communicating with their own staff – immersing them in the world of the customer they serve.

That’s the key message from specialist global customer experience consultancy Ethos Farm, which – over the course of the last two years – has already won multiple awards for its innovative apps and digital learning tools, and has been shortlisted for New Business of the Year in the prestigious Lloyds Bank National Business Awards 2018.

Mat Garner, Co- Founder, Ethos Farm, says: “As Generation Z, the first digital generation, come of age, we are seeing a fundamental shift in attitudes which is impacting business on so many different levels. In the Experience Century, it’s all about connecting, and a positive customer experience has become a basic social currency that is expected not hoped for. It’s not just consumers who are changing – employees expect to be communicated with, engaged and trained in a completely different way to they did even 10 years ago.”

Enhanced service quality

Garner believes passionately that delivering enhanced service quality for companies and brands still means staff have to be aligned with corporate objectives. But, he says, the tools management teams are using to talk to employees must be digital ones, like apps, VR, AR, and online content, if they are to successfully transform staff into brand custodians.

“Businesses have focused for so long on building customer facing tech solutions and whilst this is essential, they need to ensure that the very people who serve them are not left behind,” adds Garner.

“In the retail industry for example, the average age of a retail assistant is just 22. This is the generation that expects a personalised service when they shop online or engage with social media and yet companies aren’t providing personalised workforce apps for their colleagues.

“These companies have a great opportunity to provide all of the relevant information a customer service agent may need to enhance their product knowledge and understanding of the business they serve – this, in turn, creates a frontline team who is better brand educated which improves the customer experience and leads to enhanced service levels and increased revenue. It’s simple: provide your workforce with everything they need to do a better job and the results will follow.”

Innovative new tech

Ethos Farm has already developed a range of apps and VR tools (including VR immersive training) which work alongside its face-to-face and e-learning training programmes.

Ethos Farm’s workforce app, which helps drive superlative customer experience by providing frontline teams with all the information they need at their fingertips, has already won the ‘Innovation of the Year’ award at the Global Air Rail conference as well as a Silver trophy in the Leisure & Tourism category at the UK Digital Experience Awards (DXA), the leading tech awards for the customer experience industry, voted for by an independent panel of judges.

The solution which won the UK DXA trophy delivers a range of services directly to staff’s smart devices, including:

  • Daily briefs;
  • Sales performance tracking;
  • Updates and changes to staff rosters and shift swaps;
  • Customer and colleague surveys;
  • Brand guidelines and uniform standards;
  • Internal comms notifications and material;
  • e-learning modules;
  • Operational alerts;
  • New product information;

Recognition

Ethos Farm also won the Technology Innovator of the Year category in the Frontier Awards, the leading recognition programme for the Travel Retail and Duty Free industry, as well as being a finalist in the 2018 Lloyds Bank National Business Awards in the New Business of the Year category.

Garner, former Operations and Customer Services Director of a 2,000-strong operation at Heathrow, ex-Head of Commercial for Manchester Airport Group and Passenger Services Director at Stansted Airport, is highly experienced at designing and developing technology solutions that are built with the end user in mind.

He says: “We work with some of the world’s most well-recognised brands to drive an improved customer experience via their workforce by supplying them with innovative new tech, providing everything they need in one place. Our mission is to help transform workforces into brand custodians, which is the only way companies, organisations and brands will be able to compete in the Experience Economy. It’s not just traditional service brands, like retail and leisure, that need to learn this – we are also working with rail operators, construction companies, airports, facilities management companies and airline operators to help their staff connect with the 21st Century consumer.”