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“I’m sorry Dave, I’m afraid I can’t do that.” -- Hal, 2001: A Space Odyssey

At the recent Henry Stewart DAM Conference in Los Angeles, the best and the brightest in Digital Asset Management shared their stories and showed their wares to an eager audience. The subject that recurred in presentations and many conversations was that of "personalization" and customer service in technology.

Consumers want more than just an experience -- we want a personal connection that identifies with who we are, our interests, expectations and abilities. Personalization of experience, technology and delivered results depends on accessible, comprehensive data feeding the website. Getting the right data at the right time requires understanding and effort from people, process and technology. The difficulty of providing personalization lies in leveraging the data to provide stellar customer service, inspire trust, gain efficiencies and meet expectations.

Customer Service

Customer service isn’t just a department.” -- Tony Hsieh, CEO, Zappos

The user experience starts at the beginning of a never-ending journey of discipline, work and the pursuit of higher standards. Public sites that provide a service can be initially personalized by identifying the market segment. Enterprise systems in a corporate setting also have customers, however the range of business needs can vary greatly.

In both cases, customers knows what they want and maintain expectations that the technology can get it done in a way that is familiar. Everyone's used to Google-drive search functionality, auto-fill and cookies that remember previous searches. As DAM systems progress toward design that is similar to consumer applications, it is important to set expectations to increase customer satisfaction.

Trust & Technology

People tell you who they are, but we ignore it because we want them to be who we want them to be.” --Don Draper, Mad Men

Collective actions build mutual trust among members of a community to establish knowledge-sharing opportunities, lower transaction costs, resolve conflicts and create greater coherence. The value of trust leads to the expectations of positive future interactions and encourages further interactions and participation in technology.

Beyond functionality, the meaning and purpose behind technology will impact positive experiences. The issue of trust -- with its focus on the individual and collective experience using technology -- needs to be addressed. Trust in the technology and the data flowing through the pipes will lead to greater participation, which in turn increases the value and utility of the information. For example, enterprise users of DAM are more likely to carefully contribute metadata to assets that in turn increases their value to other users. Without trust and participation, no system can produce personalized results.

Data Driven Efficiencies

Whoever is careless with the truth in small matters cannot be trusted with important matters.” -- Albert Einstein

Technology is great when it's understood that one of its goals is to transform data into information, and then information into insight or knowledge, something actionable and meaningful. Data provides the bridge where process and technology can be optimized. But if the data delivered does not match the expectations of the users, then the efficiencies of a personalized experience are lost.

With each and every click of the mouse and selection on a screen, we not only interact with the technology, but our actions are identified, recorded and organized for future use at the discretion of those “pulling the strings.” In a DAM, a carefully designed metadata schema increases the efficiency of the data collected by providing a structure by which to explain the results and contribute to efficiency gains.

Customer Expectations

You’ve got to start with the customer experience and work back toward the technology -- not the other way around.” -- Steve Jobs, Founder, Apple

Technology is ultimately a tool to improve the experience of achieving a specific goal. The functionalities of the tool is what produces satisfaction when using it to perform a particular task. Although they might look the same, every chef is passionate about the function of their favorite knife. Similarly, each user of the DAM will appreciate particular features provided by the system. Understanding the needs of users and providing those touch points like personal preferences and preferred options will increase the perception of personalization and improve the overall experience.

Increased Satisfaction is the Goal

Personalization in delivering data or digital assets requires people, process and technology to drive the design of the digital strategy. Optimization, in a business context, is the active ability to find an alternative to a function or process with the most cost-effective or highest attainable performance. Focusing on providing stellar customer service, inspiring trust, gaining efficiencies and meeting expectations are a few of the ways to achieve greater satisfaction in the DAM.

Tittle image by vuttichai chaiya / Shutterstock.