The definition of a highly personalized, seamless user experience – literally, a You Experience – has been included in our TechnoVision dictionary for some time. Yet, as technology entwines itself in our daily lives, the user experience is no longer a separate discipline. It is now an integral part of how we experience life: at home, at work, when shopping, traveling, or even when enjoying leisure time. Organizations can no longer take the well-loved “customer-first” route, but must consider “employee-first,” and even “partner-first” routes too, considering user experiences from a holistic, end-to-end perspective. Loyalty, advocacy, and satisfaction remain buzz words, now in the company of talent retention, engagement, and emotional connection to boot. Here, we should take the principles from the School of Positive Computing to heart and apply well-being factors such as self-awareness, mindfulness, empathy, and compassion too. Call it Us Experience, if you like.
Having successfully busted corporate silos to infuse technology in all its business operations, a Technology Business recognizes that a user experience does not solely relate to the front-end of digital customer channels. It’s a matter of living and breathing the user experience across all aspects of the corporate value chain, including the innovative technology that enables it. This Experience2 mindset is no longer just applicable to the Customer but pertains to the Employee Experience just as much. And it’s not only bringing benefits in terms of better integrated service delivery to customers, it also helps to boost performance and productivity – even with a scarcity of human resources – and keeps employees motivated, inspired, and engaged with the organization’s societal purposes.
Having said that, have we mentioned the innovative technologies that enable a whole new wave of digital interaction and immersion? AI keeps advancing, making conversational chatbots and voice assistants worthy, emphatic partners. Our research into the art of customer-centric AI shows that customers are increasingly using AI-based systems to interact with organizations. Already more than half (54%) of customers have daily AI-enabled interactions with organizations, including chatbots, digital assistants, facial recognition, and biometric scanners – three quarters of whom fall within the 18-35 age category. Unleash the power of machine learning on all the data points gathered through this emerging “Internet of Behavior,” and the ingredients are at hand to create a truly frictionless, low-touch experience. One that seems to sense the intent – and the emotions – of the consumer or the employee even before she expresses them herself.
Next stop: the notion of virtual avatars and the Metaverse; heralded as the next incarnation of the mobile internet. It signals a further blurring of the boundaries of what we consider physical or digital, real, or fake. Originating from the world of gaming – where younger generations already make little distinction between their online digital and offline analogue identities and experiences – the phenomenon is now quickly spreading to more consumer and business contexts. It’s fascinating to envision what You, Me, and Us will look like in this brand new, unexplored experience theater.