How Technology and the Booking System is Likely to Evolve in 2018
Technological innovation happens so fast, and with such far-reaching implications to both society and the business environment, that accurate predictions for the future can be tricky to make.
A fact that doesn’t seem to stop anyone from trying.
So, we thought we’d get involved with our thoughts on what the future is likely to hold for booking systems, and how they might evolve as a business tool in the coming year (and beyond).
Another big year for big data
Client data is a currency that keeps on growing in value, and that’s extremely unlikely to be any different as we move forward. After all, the flow of information that crosses the digital channels offers opportunity for unprecedented levels of customer insight.
Businesses are investing heavily in new technology to both curate and analyse the flow of structured and unstructured data, utilising AI to spot trends and glean invaluable insight at speeds and levels hitherto impossible.
A booking system has long been a means to gather data for clients. However, as businesses further realise the potential of using these touchpoints, so there’s scope to capture ever more granular data that can be fed back into future engagement and marketing.
Personalisation is the manifestation of how this data is applied. The internet has made for a crowded and competitive corporate arena, with brands continually vying to be heard and to form long-term relationships with customers.
Delivering a personalised offering, focused on identified sales triggers and pain points, as derived by the gathering of data, has never been so acute.
The way in which high-profile players such as Netflix are already using this level of personalisation (customers will see specific film images based on past likes and habits) offers some pertinent insight as to how this is going to be a key battleground for business in the coming years.
Booking systems are likely to play a prominent role in this increasingly personalised approach to customer engagement. In retail, for instance, we’re already seeing how stores are using online scheduling making as part of their personal services. First, as a simple means to book clients into private appointments (personal tailoring or shopping, for instance). Second, as a means to find out crucial information about their clients (everything from birthdays to favourite designers) which can be fed into the personalised recommendations used both in-store and online.
Automation is already a pivotal feature of the modern booking system, but its importance as a feature within businesses is likely to gain further prominence in the coming year, with companies increasingly understanding the need to free up time for business development.
As technology develops, so the capability to automate more and more of the processes we would otherwise do manually increases, and, to continue along a theme, grows more personalised for the customer experience.
The use of automated emails and mailshots, and the development of AI powered chatbots are going to become more standard features of a business’ online architecture, to help drive improvements in productivity.
Cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin have been around for the best part of the last decade, but still operate very much on the periphery for most people, and businesses.
However, as a currency that exists purely in the digital realm, and always envisioned as a means of transaction free from third-parties such as banks and credit card providers, then it’s not beyond the realms of speculation to think that this could legitimately become a more popular method of securely paying (and indeed transparently recording) bookings and other similar online activities.
Booking processes form an integral part of many companies across many industries, be it as a practical time-saving tool in-house (an efficient meeting room system, for instance) or as a means to engage with clients, improve customer experience and capture essential data. And as with all integral factors of a business, the need to continually evolve and improve is essential.
The digital world doesn’t stand still for a second. New innovations and new ways to resolve old tasks are constantly being developed, with grand designs to make a business more productive and profitable.
The future is not written, and it would be foolhardy to say what’s going to happen with absolute certainty. But as we look at 2018 and beyond, there is a world of technological wonder waiting to be tapped into the modern booking system.