Digital business champions are putting their employees front and center in a new strategy to make customer service more personal.

We’ve examined the findings of Fjord Trends 2015 and how digital technology is creating new opportunities for businesses to connect on a more personal level with their customers and prospects.

Today we’ll look at omni-colleagues—people who have been reintegrated into the interface, and otherwise known as employees!

As businesses focus on omni-channel—an entirely linked suite of channels aspiring to provide a seamless experience—they risk ditching humans for automated touchpoints. Reintroducing people (omni-colleagues) into the mix where appropriate helps to keep the business connected to its customers in a personal way.

Trend No. 6: Businesses are creating points of action to equip their omni-channel with omni-colleagues who can take meaningful action for the customer.

The shift in trend from robotic to personalized can be seen in the growth of online ratings, which now extend to the actual people providing the partially digital services we consume. A great example is ride-share program Lyft, which allows passengers to give feedback on their experience and dispute ride fares directly if their experience didn’t meet their expectations.

To further personalize customer experience, businesses are pulling back the curtain and revealing their greatest assets: their people. One example is how Telstra in Australia has launched a massive “digital first” initiative that automates all the repetitive admin tasks so its people can have more meaningful interactions with its customers. Eyewear startup Warby Parker, known for its differentiating distribution model and social impact, opened a new headquarters in Nashville to continue its high-touch customer services, including humans answering the phone without the traditional robotics of phone trees.

In insurance, ING Life, one of the leading life insurers in Poland, has created a sales app for its agents with sophisticated tools to present insurance offers and calculate premiums. The calculator, the first of its kind for group life policies in Poland, speeds up the application process and can be generated as a PDF file. There is a desktop version (off and online) of the app and one for mobile devices with Android.

Trends 2015: Trends Impacting Design & Innovation
Read the report.

The calculator was developed based on discussions with agents on important app features from the perspective of potential users. This is a good example of how big data and digital capabilities can be leveraged to assist omni-colleagues (in this case, agents) in personal discussions with customers and prospects.

To further the advance of omni-colleagues into the digital picture, Fjord recommends:

  • Training front-line employees with not only digital tools and data, but with the deep social skills to navigate a diverse group of customers.
  • Considering a new type of employee evaluation that not only measures them on speed, but on the quality of the interaction with the customer.
  • Thinking of new motivational incentives for employees, such as customer ratings that could be transmitted to other social professional spaces like a LinkedIn profile.

If the Fjord findings resonate with you, please drop me a line and share your thoughts.

For more information, download the full Fjord Trends 2015 report.

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