The taxi driver who turned up 20 minutes late one morning to take us out on an excursion. Not his fault as the traffic had been particularly bad, but as soon he was out of the car, he walked straight over to us to apologise for keeping us waiting. By the time we sat in the car, we were assuring him that it didn't really matter.
This is no way means an end to all customer interaction. That is here to stay. This means the creation of a better approach, which moves customer interaction away from the flawed model of today towards a more useful set of interaction for both the client and the company. To achieve this would require two solutions.
Customers have been extensively using Twitter to contact brands and ask for support for at least five years so it's surprising that they took this long to improve the interface. It was only recently that they removed the need for users to be following each other to send DMs, which was a major issue for brands that wanted to support customers using Twitter.
The omni-channel and seamless shopping experience is the Holy Grail many retailers continue to seek to achieve. Companies are told that the customer expects the same level of brand engagement whether in-store, on a phone, a computer, tablet or mobile and by delivering this, the customer will remain a loyal shopper, spend more, returning again and again.
One technology attracting attention is artificial intelligence. AI and its current early form, machine learning - computers that can "think" for themselves and tailor their actions and responses to situations based on experience - is going to play an increasingly significant role in our everyday lives.
I have been reading several research reports from both sides of the Atlantic recently that talk about how customers are starting to favour the online shopping experience over the real, in-store experience. How could this be? Haven't retailers always found that some customers prefer to see and touch products before purchasing?