Asian Knowledge Forum: New tech tools redefine customer experience

At the Asian Knowledge Forum in Hong Kong, CIOs and other IT professionals are aTo be successful in the digital era where innovation is king, companies must see themselves in new perspectives that are more aligned with their customers’ values, which are beyond what they need.

“When we talk about service, companies typically say they want to exceed customer expectations. But if they ask mainstream customers, who are very happy with what they have today, they won’t want something new. Customers are not capable of having this vision because they are satisfied already,” said Professor Po Chi Wu, adjunct professor, the School of Business and Management, The Hong Kong University of Science and Technology (HKUST).

Wu was among the keynote speakers at the recent concluded Asian Knowledge Forum organized by the Knowledge Management and Innovation Research Center of The Hong Kong Polytechnic University.

He urged corporate senior executives in attendance to mull over three questions in the face of disruptive innovation: how will you respond (whether positive or negative, what will you do?); what are the new tools (the history of human development has been the invention of new tools and then the application of new tools); and what are the strategies?

“When you think about what your organization has in terms of knowledge assets – that means people and technology – you have to think of these questions on a strategic level. If you get trapped in a tactical and more physical layer such as the communication stack, that would go out of date right away,” Wu said.

New tech tools are redefining customer experience

The time when companies create products and then design and control the user experience will soon come to an end, Wu predicted, specifically with the emergence of artificial intelligence (AI), augmented reality (AR) and virtual reality (VR)

“The conventional way we make products … the idea is that we – as manufacturers and marketers – try to design and control the experience the user will have. That is what it means to be an intelligent designer. Somehow, we have prepared the user with all the features embedded so that we can control the story the user will experience when they use our products and services,” he said.

The conundrum facing companies now with the emergence of new tools such as AI, AR and VR is that they will have to cede control of the customer experience.

Wu observed: “The user is now adding on something that is out of your control and you have no idea what they are adding onto… These new technologies allow the user – encourage the user – to add new elements, new components to this experience that do not have control over. So this is really exciting.”