“The customer is king” is an inspirational quote that has been around for a while now, and for good reason. An American Express survey claims that up to 68% of customers reported to have the will to spend more for the company that delivers excellent customer service. One of the most prominent methods to offer exceptional service and customer interactions is by having a thorough understanding of your customer. Data collection and analysis has helped businesses understand their customers better. However, it must be noted that this data collection and analysis had been a common practice even before the new-age technologies helped the cause.
The advent of advanced technologies such as big data and analytics, AI, ML, and advanced robotics, has transformed customer interactions, and real-time tracking became easier. However, even now, data accumulation remains an intrusive process that largely involves queries and physical feedback. In the digital age, the ultimate customer experience will depend on proactive and not reactive measures.
To approach customer experience and customer interactions in a fundamentally transformed manner, businesses are starting to experiment with various innovations and emergent technologies of data collection and analysis, such as AR/VR and cognitive computing. More recently, facial expressions and emotions are being analyzed for immediate feedback indexing rather than relying on traditional channels of feedback.
The Need for Facial Expression Recognition
There is a wide spectrum of expressions and micro-expressions that can denote specific emotional responses. So, the potential to register the facial movements and analyze them against a set benchmark data is quite huge. Some tests have even reported an astounding accuracy rate of 95% which can be considered impressive by any measure.
The technological innovations have provided us with better and more efficient measures that can be utilized to record customer feedback. So far, customer feedback collection has depended on tried and tested traditional measures such as filling out forms, evaluating services and experiences on a scale of five or 10, pressing buttons on consoles, or responding to questions asked by providers or aggregators. However, this approach is progressively turning redundant and underproductive as consumer endpoints drastically increase in number. Therefore, businesses are trying to collect data from facial expressions and reactions, and evaluate their products, services, and overall customer experience.
One of the primary aspects of facial expression recognition is that it offers a non-intrusive alternative to asking for customer feedback. On the other hand, filling out surveys or rating experiences physically may be considered a tedious task by customers, thereby affecting the ratings. Additionally, facial expressions are reactionary and, in most cases, involuntary. This ensures that the true reaction or feedback is registered based on the experiences delivered thereby ensuring a higher authenticity of customer data.
Evaluating feedback is an integral process of product and service enhancements. They are also crucial for marketing campaigns. It is therefore paramount for businesses to gain as much authentic insight as possible. As mentioned, facial expressions are the most authentic reactions and hence a reliable form of feedback and recognizing facial expressions for feedback also remarkably reduces the time taken compared to the survey model of feedback. It also makes it easier for customers as they do not need to consider giving feedback as a task.
Facial expressions are the most authentic reactions and hence a reliable form of feedback and recognizing facial expressions for feedback also remarkably reduces the time taken compared to the survey model of feedback.
In this highly competitive market, customer experience is fast becoming the key differentiator. It is therefore important for businesses to be proactive in their approach and gain feedback from facial expressions. While facial expression recognition-based feedback cannot be as exhaustive as a survey-form feedback, the technique is in its nascence and in conjunction with emergent technologies and smarter devices; it will be the foremost form of data collection in the future owing to its non-intrusiveness and other associated advantages.
Another aspect of consideration is that this process offers real-time insights without any risk of data security. In the long run, this method will show remarkable progress by improving performance while reducing cost and time.
The Way Forward
Technology, however, should not be used for technology’s sake. Ultimately the outcome is to provide an exceptional customer experience leveraging the insights generated by the recorded data. This empowers organizations to provide improved services that ultimately enhances the customer experience manifold.
With the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, leveraging technology to enable businesses to function has become the new normal. In this paradigm, advancements in facial expression recognition have the potential to revolutionize the interaction between businesses and customers. And on a fast track to a digital future, this promises a definite way to elevate customer experience to newer heights.