In this interview, Pedro Quintas shares his views on the development of Customer Experience and clarifies how Collab is incorporating Phygital strategies. Customer Experience is developing in a world where the physical and digital are intertwined.

This interview was originally published by CMI Customer Management Insights Magazine.

“We switch constantly across physical and digital worlds. On customer experience, the challenge is how to make that switch feel continuous”, says Pedro Quintas.

Pedro Quintas is the founder of Collab and a member of Collab’s board of administration.

CMI –   According to your experience, in which ways and how successfully companies are able to stand beside their customers always and everywhere, digitally and physically?

Pedro Quintas – In today’s competitive and fast-paced landscape, the most important thing to thrive still is a Customer Centric strategy.

Approachability, fastness and simplicity are key elements for customer experience. Brands must be present in the right channels, deliver great customer support and make the customer journey easy and memorable at every step of the way, both physically and digitally.

This fosters proximity and engagement, which will make the consumer feel more connected to the brand, generate trust, loyalty and empathy, improving the overall experience. To assure this, companies must have a functional and state-of-the-art Contact Center. The ideal Contact Center software converges all channels into a single, intuitive and browser-based interface, reinforced by Artificial Intelligence tools. It’s important to have seamless integration with CRM and other company applications so all the client’s data, preferences and history are available.

2. How is phygital approach evolving and which are the most significant implementing practices by now?

We switch constantly across physical and digital worlds. On customer experience, the challenge is how to make that switch feel continuous. We can exemplify with real examples in Collab: one about retail and other about speech recognition.

In retail, it’s possible to ally the physical shopping experience with a cloud contact center. Let’s say that a client bought an item online and chooses to collect in store. The CIH (the CRM developed by Collab) stores the information about the client and its online steps. When the customer is going to the store, a device (an iBeacon, technically speaking) detects the client by a phone Bluetooth connection. CIH syncs all that and quickly shows the staff the motives for the visit and the details of the order, allowing a faster and personalized customer service.

Another way to look at phygital is acknowledging that digital capabilities are getting closer to human ones, blurring the gap between what is digital and what is not. For instance, when we apply artificial intelligence to speech recognition, machines can process and reply to our voice, obey verbal commands and even understand emotional nuances by the tone, frequency and volume of the voice. That humanization shows how the real and the virtual are more intertwined than ever.

3. Regarding the need of a correct balance between digital and physical experience, can you find any difference depending on the age of customers or the kind of goods and services they look for?

There’s this lingering idea that digital novelties are tailored for young people only. It’s not like this. Nowadays, we are all permeable to the “phygitalization” and, in most cases, age is not sufficient to segment customers.

The “correct balance” between digital and physical experience is defined on an individual level. To address the individuality, we must consider thoughtful segmentation and personalization. Each person is unique, so we must not treat everyone the same way. Each touchpoint between the client and the business must address that.

Using a CRM (like Collab’s CIH) allows storing, crossing and leveraging information to personalize CX. Physical experiences, like shopping, asking for a budget or test a product, must be associated to the client alongside information like previous purchases. Online interactions must be stored as well. Supported by such data, contact centers can segment their audience. They can use intelligent routing to deliver each interaction to the proper line or specialized agent, personalizing the experience and assuring a continuous, seamless journey, physically and digitally.

4. Let’s focus on 2020: what will be the next steps of phygital technologies and phygital approach?

2020 and onwards are demonstrating that there is so much room for growth! Cloud adoption is now moving at full speed, even in the most conservative companies. Artificial Intelligence and automation technologies will continue to conquer territory and contribute to the humanization of technology. The digital transformation is in action.

To sum it up, technological advances will contribute to articulate physical and digital experiences. At Collab, we will be launching groundbreaking solutions that rely on Artificial Intelligence to improve the contact center’s performance, empower customer experience and leverage the phygital strategy of process continuity through Customer Insights. We want to be side by side with the customer. Let’s keep this momentum going, 2020 will be exciting!