The advent of smart tech has been an incredible enabler in the service space; the way in which consumers now consume has been game changing, and created a real point of difference between service providers. Who'd have thought ten years ago we'd be able to function almost entirely from a handheld device, doing everything from renting and accessing hire cars, to booking beauty treatments?
Ease of access and payment aside, one of the most critical advantages of a digitally delivered service is how it can change the service provider's ability to deliver better customer service. Which, at the end of the day, is our primary focus. In our concerted shift to enable greater levels of customer self-service and move to omni-channel support and interaction, we're conscious that a new path is already emerging ahead of us. Tech behemoths such as Amazon and Google are already pushing the envelope on more sophisticated methods of customer interaction, and that's where we are heading.
Technology strategy was at the top of our agenda a year ago when we bought Washstation - just about everything we do on a day to day basis now has a digital interface, so why not laundry? Whilst we've made incredible steps in a short time with connected machines and a user App, our sights are set much higher: We believe that Virtual Assistants are going to become significant in service access and provision, and we are already invested in bringing this technology into our offering within a couple of years. Furthermore, we predict that we will be using AI backed Bots to take care of almost 90% of customer service needs by 2023, enabling our team to focus on developing better services and happier customers.
As we continue to build technology platform and service channels which are fundamentally agnostic - we could foreseeably connect to and provide services on just about any machine, is this the frontier where Hardware as a Service becomes Software as a Service?