“The Robots are Coming, the Robots are Coming” Cutting-edge Service Technology Blended with a Human Service Culture
I have loved Singapore since the first time I visited more than a decade ago.
In fact, back in 2014, I wrote the following:
Guess how they are listening to customers in Singapore. I am fresh off a couple of weeks of work in Kuala Lumpur and Singapore and thought I would share some observations on the widespread use of iPad listening stations in Asia.
Lets’ take Changi airport in Singapore as a simple example, after leaving the immigration control desk (where there is a bowl of hard candy conveniently positioned) you will find a customer listening station that looks like this…
Yes, you read that correctly, leaders in Singapore actually solicit your opinion about how you were treated by immigration officers. Similarly, an iPad is positioned at the egress of bathrooms throughout the airport. The screen, like the one depicted above, shows the face of the bathroom attendant responsible for that restroom and asks you to rate the cleanliness of your experience. By the way it notes that the screen is sanitized regularly.
Ok, that was 2014, so let me give you an update! I am currently in Singapore launching a book about a preschool company that has grown meteorically across Asia and Australia. The company is MindChamps and the book is titled The MindChamps Way.
Upon arrival for this trip, I saw the same customer listening stations at the Singapore airport that I referenced back in 2014 – accompanied by a host of other customer experience advancements I’ve been watching develop here through the years. For example, premiere hotels in Singapore such as Sofitel, M Social, and the Yotel have integrated robots into customer experience delivery. This robot deployment is in its early phases but includes housekeeping services, food preparation, and even in-room delivery.
John Lim’s article for Mashable shows video examples of two robots in use by the Shangri-La Hotel group. Those robots Jena and Jeno are not only meeting guest needs, but they are also creating quite a stir on social media. John notes:
“Standing at about 3-feet tall with unmistakable pink and turquoise uniforms, Jeno and Jena moves around the hotels unmanned at a steady speed that’s reportedly half the average human walking speed. Their popularity has spilled outside of the island-nation, ever since a tweet showing Jena delivering room service went viral.”
During my many visits to Singapore, I have been impressed with the cutting-edge technologies being developed and used to make routine service tasks more automated or to garner customer feedback. I have also been impressed by the general service mindset of the country’s people.
Whether it is service staff asking “may I clear your plate” or a random passerby asking “if I need assistance” as I look lost, Singaporeans (as a rule) demonstrate an interest in the well-being of others. That may in part contribute to the strength of Singapore’s gross national product for a tiny country that has veritably no natural resources. It may also explain why Singapore has accomplished so much in what will be it’s 54thanniversary later this week.
Over the years, I have worked with a number of Singaporean brands and government agencies like the Singapore Tourism Board and MindChamps. I am honored to be launching The MindChamps Way book today at the Singapore stock exchange accompanied by David Chiem. David is the founder and CEO of MindChamps, who has launched an internationally successful company after starting life as a Vietnamese boat person who fled his homeland with his family at the end of the Vietnam war.
David’s entrepreneurial spirit is in keeping with the essence of Singapore – a desire to create value through science and service. For David, the science component involves breakthroughs in human learning and the service element is reflected in his companies’ value-based culture.
For me, the Singapore experience is inspiring and encourages me to push the limits on what is possible when we continually think of ways to add value by improving service relationships via a blend of people and technology. How well are you positioning your people and your technology to create memorable and valuable service which inspires those you serve?
I would love to talk to you about your journey to balanced and engaging service experiences – simply reach out to me via the technology of this link and I will welcome the opportunity to be of service to you personally.
Happy Birthday to Singapore. To David Chiem, may MindChamps continue to soar across the world. And to Jeno and Jena, I could use another towel!
Joseph A. Michelli, Ph.D. is a professional speaker and chief experience officer at The Michelli Experience. A New York Times #1 bestselling author, Dr. Michelli and his team consult with some of the world’s best customer experience companies.
Follow on Twitter: @josephmichelli
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