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Joseph's Blog

Customer Experience Speaker, Consultant, Author OR…A Robot

At first, I didn’t have the heart to place my various occupational titles in the search field. I was afraid I’d find I’d already been replaced. However, a wave of courage washed over me and I went boldly into the unknown. Whew…as an author I might be safe with a percentage just less than 4%.

In case you’re lost, you too can go to a website that predicts the likelihood your job will be replaced by a robot. That website aptly named willrobotstakemyjob.com – gives a 96% probability that original content creators like me will withstand the onslaught of AI and robots. That site (which in my view is really a computer algorithm somewhat akin to a robot) paints a less cheery picture for many other job categories.

Customer Experience Speaker, Consultant, Author VS. CASHIERS

Let’s say you are a retail cashier, your fortune (at least according to the website) is the reverse of that projected for authors. According to the site, your probability of being replaced by robots is 97%. That roughly translates to 97% of clerk jobs being replaced by robots in years ahead.

While I am convinced there is something to these predictions; I think there needs to be deeper analysis. Let’s say you are a first line supervisor of housekeeping and janitorial staff (the website predicts 94% of the jobs in your profession will be replaced by automation). In that case, it might be worthwhile to look at more “robot-proof” professions while also considering what skills will be needed to be among the 6% of remaining humans. Maybe it will require knowledge in how to oversee the efficiency of a robotic set of housekeepers or janitors.

Quite frankly, I’ve always believed we are 100% replaceable – if not by robots by other people who are poised to add more value. To mitigate against our replaceability, we have to constantly assess what produces value in an ever-changing marketplace of customer wants, needs, and desires.

I remember reading a Harvard Business Review article a number of years ago titled What Value Creation Will Look Like in the Future. In it, author Jack Hughes made three key points:

1.) Master the Machines

2.) Get Obsessed with Value

3.) Make Creativity Real

As a customer experience speaker who delivers keynotes and workshops, I’ve had to adapt to be the “master” over mobile technology. Unlike prior generations, audience members can opt-out of my live speaker content if they find something of greater interest or value on their mobile device. In that part of my business, I need to leverage and create greater value than what consumers can find through technology.

All of us, not just speakers or clerks, are competing with technology and automation to add value. When we are a provider that loses to technology we are likely to cry foul (a clerk replaced by a self-serve kiosk). On the other hand, when we are the consumer who wants self-service we are likely to complain if that self-service option is not available.

As a customer experience consultant, I am constantly working with business leaders to help them “get obsessed with value” and look for ways to provide the right mix of people and technology to deliver it. Together my clients and I look for what serves their customers best. In other words, we look for what adds the most value at each interaction point along the customer journey. Further refinements are made based on the differing needs of varied core customer segments.

I take little comfort in the prospect that my occupations might be somewhat insulated from the intrusion of AI and robotics. Instead, I spend a lot more time thinking about being creative to maximize customer value and strive to understand and gain mastery over machines whenever possible. How about you?

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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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