Personalization During the Rise of the Machines

The so-called rise of the machines started by removing mundane and repetitive tasks and it is now moving more into what is often referred to as the white-collar jobs.

The key for us humans is to go beyond just reacting to change, and start getting ahead of it by paying attention to what Daniel Burris calls the “Hard Trends” – the facts that are shaping the future – so that you can anticipate the problems and new opportunities ahead of you. Burris’ advice is that we all should be focusing on being really good at the areas that computers have great difficulty understanding, including collaboration, communication, problem solving, and much more.

I think it’s great advice, it links directly with our research on the 7 Personalization Principles.

Be Authentic – pure authenticity is the exact opposite of fake. Be authentic like Starbucks. The authenticity of Starbucks’ experience is embedded in every layer of their service both internally and externally. They encourage their talent to create personalized interactions with their customers, just as senior leadership creates personalized interactions with each partner. Starbucks is one of the only coffee shops where you can personalize every aspect of your drink (and the customers in line behind you won’t be angry, because the service is still fast, friendly and hassle-free).

Be Hospitable – develop and maintain a positive, welcoming attitude. Be Hospitable like Disney. As the hit Disney classic Beauty and the Beast says, “Be Our Guest,” which is exactly how Disney treats its customers at every touch point. Their goal is to create an exceptional experience that will make their customers stay longer, buy more and tell others. They achieve this by making their guests feel comfortable and elevating their family experience to fulfill lifetime memories. It is no wonder that 70 percent of first time Disney World visitors return!

Be Empathetic – understand and share the feelings of another human being. Be Empathetic like Timbuk2. They have lots of empathy for their customers, because they are their customers.  They offer personalized, custom built bags that serve every purpose from backpacks to workout bags to diaper bags and purses. They also stand by their products with a lifetime warranty. They will replace or repair any bag if it does not live up to its quality standards. They know their customers want to invest in a bag that has a high quality and will last for many years to come.

Be Committed – show up in a positive, productive fashion, no matter what. Be Committed like Nordstrom. Nordstrom has a commitment to coaching and mentoring their employees to be great. Because of this respect internally, employees feel loyal and committed to great performance with their external customers. Not only do they feel that they are being treated fairly and being recognized, but since Nordstrom has a commitment to their development, they are committed to doing the best that they can for their company.

Be Competent – having the skills and ability to excel in your role. Be Competent like Apple. Apple demands a high level of competency from their talent, which is evident in their commitment to excellence. This high performance expectation is what keeps Apple at the top of their industry. On the retail front, there is an extremely high level of training and learning that begins when a Genius is hired. Not only are they put through a rigorous training regimen, but they are taught to understand their customer by teaching the psychology and emotion involved in a customer’s journey.

Be Friendly – be nice, positive, and authentically friendly. Be Friendly like Southwest. When hiring employees Southwest focuses on hiring for attitude and training for skills. You cannot train friendly – at least not authentic friendliness. One of the key reasons that Southwest is known as a customer experience company is because of their friendly attitudes, and their commitment to going above and beyond for their customer.

Be Fun – use humor in your daily interactions and don’t take yourself too seriously. Be Fun like Netflix. Although Netflix places high expectations for performance on their employees, they are also empowered to be themselves, have fun, be honest and open, and provide their customer with the best experience imaginable. One great example of this is of a Netflix employee having a full conversation with a customer as a Star Trek!

In my book I show how the companies mentioned above excel at each and every one of the 7 Personalization Principles. It is important to be good at all 7 principles in order to thrive in the personalization economy.

Making yourself increasingly valuable and relevant in the workplace will require you to learn how to apply the personalization principles on an ongoing basis as well as unlearn the old ways that are now holding you back.

Remember, acquiring new knowledge and developing your creativity and problem solving skills, as well as honing your interpersonal, social, and communication skills regardless of your age, you can thrive in the decades of transformational change.

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