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Beware of Shiny Object Syndrome

Posted by: Tom Asher | 07.20.2017

As you’ve heard from us on many blog posts, technology is really amazing. Its possibilities are limitless, and it seems like every day something new and remarkable is rolled out to make our lives easier.

But therein lies the problem: so much is happening so quickly, that it is easy to bounce from trend to trend and dwell on the latest, greatest thing. We like to call that “shiny object syndrome.”

This is a phenomenon that tends to occur a lot in the start-up space. In a sphere that is, by nature, focused on state-of-the-art tech developments, the tendency can be to assume that the customer experience must be as high-tech as the product itself. However, these emerging companies need to remember that they have to walk before they can run; with such novel products, start-ups should remember that with products designed for the masses, customer sales and service must be clear and simple before they are modern or high-tech. If these companies get ahead of themselves focusing on or trying to implement more complicated SMS systems, video chat, etc. before the basics are in place and functioning properly, they will see themselves, their brand, and, more importantly, their customers suffer.

How do we combat “shiny object syndrome”? The key is to remember that these new technologies are only parts of an overall customer strategy. They are not full solutions in themselves, but rather something to be used in conjunction with tried and true methods; technology is capable of many things, but it is not fully able to handle everything autonomously yet. It’s great until it doesn’t work, meaning that it can be a robust solution for many common interactions, but when something goes wrong it really goes wrong. Therefore, you must ensure that technology is only part of the way you deliver service to your customers.

The other part? Humans. No matter what developments are made, there is still no replacement for human creativity in customer experience. Humans are still the only ones able to be truly empathetic with customers and deliver not just a customized experience but a personal experience. Additionally, humans are the ones capable of fixing the inevitable errors that come up when deploying automation. We as people still have the unique ability to read situations, adapt on the fly, and find alternative ways to alleviate problem situations. It will still be a while before machines are able to replicate this, so until then, humans are still an integral part of customer experience.

While it’s great to look to the future, we must also not forget about the present. Technology will start to deliver on its promise within the next few years, but for now we cannot rely on it to meet our needs, and our customers’ needs, by itself. For now, we must blend all of these shiny new toys with human capabilities to meet customer demands.


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