Where Do Humans Fit in an Increasingly Digital World?

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Customer experience is changing at lightning speed. It’s hard to keep up with what’s happening today, let alone step back and think about how to prepare for the future. So we did it for you.
We recently assembled leading customer experience experts for a video chat to discuss the future of customer experience: Don Peppers, founding partner of Peppers & Rogers Group and co-author of the One to One Future; Joe Pine, co-author of the Experience Economy; and Olaf Hermans, Ph.D., cognitive psychologist and artificial intelligence researcher.
Each brings a different perspective on the topic. From automation and simplicity to co-creation and distinctive personalization, they share their visions of the connected future. Highlights of the discussion are shared below.
Business readiness for next-gen customer experiences
humans in a digital world 
“The customer experience management discipline is very bright. Increasingly, there are examples of companies where management wants to make the experience better. But they find they’re conflicted. Their alignments don’t add up, they reward people for the wrong things, their capabilities don’t exist because they can’t even tell when a customer was on their website or called in. Their mindset is bad. As a wise sage once said, “You can’t write a line of business code to require employees to delight customers.” All of these are obstacles that companies face today. The closer we get to this as a real discipline, the more realistically companies are tackling these obstacles.” – Don Peppers
“Customers are in fact part of your organization. You need to draw them inside of what you’re doing and allow that to take hold. That’s where the innovations of the future are going to come from.” – Joe Pine
The role of human employees in a techno-centric world
“Any company that wants to have the trust of its customers needs to portray itself as human. And what is the first quality of being human? Fallibility. It doesn’t mean you make mistakes on purpose. But when you make a mistake, you admit it and you go forward. And customers will embrace that. They like that. They want to interact with companies that are like them, that are human.” – Don Peppers
“Fallibility is a sign of humanity, and humanity is a mark of authenticity. And that’s increasingly important to business. We want to buy the genuine from the real, not the fake from the phony. No matter how we interface, it’s incredibly important to be human in a digital age.” – Joe Pine
“It’s not so much making mistakes, it’s about embracing diversity. If you really want a personal experience, it means you’re meeting diversity. Everyone wants something in a different in a way.” – Olaf Hermans
Future experience preparation
“I encourage companies to realize that they can be in the business of staging experiences that are memorable, personal, and have customers view their interactions with you as time well spent. And then, you’ll be economically rewarded.” – Joe Pine
“I think we’re going to a hybrid environment where systems are being empowered with information about customers in real time. We should look at how to put information and people together in a humanized encounter, which will be really cool. The role of artificial intelligence in that will be amazing.” – Olaf Hermans