That’s the message from Shep Hyken, a customer service and experience expert, and chief amazement officer of Shepard Presentations.
“COVID accelerated the use of many of these technologies by three to five years,” Hyken said.
Hyken says touchless tech is very popular, and once everything is automated, consumers won’t want to go back to traditional payment methods.
He recently used a self-check at an airport store to buy a sandwich. This type of checkout relies on the honor system, with the business typically having one support person available.
“The newest technology that you’re going to see becoming more and more commonplace is the ability to walk into a store, pick up whatever it is you want, and walk out with it,” he said.
For example, Amazon Go, which is currently available in Seattle, New York, Chicago, and San Francisco, allows customers to use the Amazon app, take what they want in a store, and walk out when they’re done, without having to wait in line or check out.
Convenient and personalized
A new way of paying is the hybrid model, where customers order items online and then physically pick them up in the store. The risk for retailers is that this limits impulse buying because it reduces the number of customers walking the store, tempted by the items on display.
“We’re headed to a world of complete convenience,” Hyken said.
He says it’s very important for companies to suggest items during the online shopping process. For example, if a customer is buying paint online, does the website suggest buying brushes, tape, and other painting supplies?
That personalized experience relies on artificial intelligence, but it can both improve the customer’s experience and increase revenue for the company.
For companies looking to improve their payment technologies, Hyken advises looking at the competition and seeing what payment systems they have. If you like them, call the sales rep for that company.
He also suggests looking at payment systems for companies that you like, even if they’re outside your industry. Ask your employees and your customers for their opinions, too.
The bestselling author says it’s smart to offer cash and traditional payment options, at least for a while, since not everyone adopts new tech right away. Having a variety of payment options means you’ll be accessible to more customers.
While staying current on payment technologies is crucial for businesses, human customer service is still essential, too.
“An important piece to remember is you cannot completely, 100 percent automate a relationship,” Hyken said. “Even Amazon has the ability for you to talk to people when you need to talk to people.”