May the Force be with you (in every customer service engagement)

The phenomenon of Star Wars: The Force Awakens has made Jedi Knights, starfighters and droids top of mind for many. I’ve realized my family could happily spend hours debating favorite movie scenes – voicing characters and reciting memorable lines. After one of these animated exchanges, it occurred to me that the Force is surprisingly relevant to customer experience. Read on to discover how Star Wars can serve as a guide in your quest to provide excellent service.
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If you listen carefully, Star Wars shares tips to embrace the future of customer service.

Star Wars: The Force Awakens is setting records with a $238 million opening weekend and the first movie to ever cross the $1 billion threshold in just 12 days. It has also captured the hearts and minds of millions of viewers – including my six-year-old nephew who is all but vibrating with anticipation. This Christmas, every item on his wish list was Star Wars-related – from stormtrooper slippers to Poe Dameron, Finn and Kylo Ren action figures. To keep up with his Star Wars obsession, my husband and I recently indulged in a movie-watching marathon, starting with The Phantom Menace and worked our way through Return of the Jedi.

While watching the Star Wars films, it occurred to me that many of the pivotal lines imparted wisdom in to those of us focused on providing intuitive customer experiences. So, without further ado, here are five fan-favorite Star Wars quotes with thoughts on how the Force can help guide your quest for excellent customer service.

 

“A long time ago in a galaxy far, far away…”

Gone are the days when customer service meant a face-to-face encounter between the hours of 8 a.m. and 5 p.m. Today, consumers expect fast, easy access to accurate answers 24/7, over whichever channel is most convenient – web, phone, email, chat, text message and more. Preference for effortless, automated experiences is on the rise. In a recent survey of American consumers, we discovered that 59 percent of consumers feel automated self-service options have improved the customer experience. We are entering a new era in which consumers expect to engage with intelligent, automated self-service solutions and, in fact, prefer them.

 

“These aren’t the droids you’re looking for…” – Obi Wan Kenobi, A New Hope

In 1977, when Star Wars first took the world by storm, a world filled with droids defined the future. In 2016 we readily interact with intelligent virtual assistants who understand what we say or type, engage us in a conversation, and help us troubleshoot and solve a wide-range of service issues. In fact, these modern-day droids are all around you: 58 percent of consumers ages 18 to 25 use a speech-enabled virtual assistant on a regular basis to interact with their smartphone. Providing a quality customer experience increasingly means providing consumers with a virtual guide to answer questions, navigate to information and walk them through complex interactions. With leading consumer-facing companies, from Dominos to Coca-Cola, offering virtual assistants, this has become a world Obi Wan would recognize.

 

“In my experience, there is no such thing as luck.” – Obi Wan Kenobi, A New Hope

There’s a high cost associated with leaving customer satisfaction to chance. A recent study by Wakefield Research revealed more than two-thirds of American consumers have ended a relationship with a company due to poor customer service. With competition only a click away, it’s critical that enterprises offer a path to problem resolution that is smooth and rapid. Companies need to provide an omnichannel service experience that anticipates customer needs and allows them to intuitively communicate with a self-service system.

 

“No, I am your father.” – Darth Vader, The Empire Strikes Back

Even if you’ve never seen the movie, I bet you can hear Darth Vader’s voice as he clarifies Luke’s parentage in this pivotal scene. It’s a plot twist for sure, but it is also a testament to the character of Darth Vader’s voice – it’s defines him as much as his black imperial officer helmet. The human voice is powerful. With more than 100 unique characteristics, each individual’s voice is as distinct as a fingerprint. Increasingly, leading global companies are using voice biometrics as a highly secure, straightforward means of authentication. Consumers simply speak a preset passphrase (far less dramatic than Darth Vader’s) to establish their identity and move forward to accomplish their task.

 

“You can’t stop change any more than you can stop the suns from setting.” – Shmi Skywalker, The Empire Strikes Back

Star Wars depicts a future world in which technology has advanced and R2-D2, C-3PO and BB-8 are helping humans accomplish everyday tasks (and defeat remnants of the Galactic Empire). In the last few years we’ve seen automated self-service become increasingly human-like – intelligent systems are able to anticipate unique user needs, personalize interactions and engage in a natural, two-way dialog to speeds the path to resolution. Greg Pal recently predicted that 2016 will be the year we see artificial intelligence deployed in the contact center in the form of self-learning systems that gain knowledge by observing and interacting with live agents. AI is gaining momentum – think of the Millennium Falcon jumping to light speed – and Nuance is inspired by its potential to transform the customer experience.

P.S. Looking for more Star Wars inspired commentary? Michelle Singletary is offering money management advice straight from Yoda himself.

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Interested in learning more about the changes in customer service?

Wave goodbye to your old customer service galaxy by learning more about how to meet the shifting expectations of customers with self-service options. Download Nuance’s Millennialization of Customer Service whitepaper for more information.

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Lynn Ridenour

About Lynn Ridenour

Lynn leads the solutions and channel marketing efforts for the Nuance Enterprise Division. She enjoys engaging with customers, learning about their businesses, listening closely to understand their challenges, and exploring how they are optimizing their customer care experiences. Lynn has spent more than 20 years working at the intersection of marketing and innovation. She’s a veteran of several venture-backed companies in the telecommunications, software, Internet and clean technology industries.