5 Things That Will Not Change In 2017 (No Matter What)
Yuliya Skorobogatova 14 December 2016
The future holds some truly exciting things for us all. We’ve fought long and hard for our independence, and it seems that not all of those efforts were in vain. Millennials already wander the world as if all boundaries have been swiped away, our digitally-foreign parents shop for their Christmas gifts from the comfort of their recliners, and even our espresso machines know exactly when, how and with what to soothe our weary minds. Is it just me, or is tomorrow already here?
What Always Prevails
Yes, technologies have made us more connected, and kudos to us for enabling them so. The Internet of Things is now a question of when, not how, and only a blind person would have troubles noticing the next big change. Still, our imagination might be bigger than our common sense – even if all that’s been promised comes to be in the nearest future, a human touch is something that we’ll always be striving towards.
With that in mind, here’s why our H2H relations will stay exactly as they are in 2017 (and in many years to follow).
1. Customers Will Still Prefer Human-Based Services More Than Automated Assistance
No doubt that digitalization has opened great opportunities for aspiring online entrepreneurs and tech-savvy customers alike - when automated, customer service is more efficient, ticket resolutions are faster, and customer satisfaction is guaranteed. However, that still doesn’t help much with those who actually prefer human-based services, and the number of them is as large as ever.
What we need to understand is that, regardless of how convenient electronic payments and automated help desks are, no machine can ever replace the innate human ability to soothe frustration and solve dilemmas.
Being highly personalized, human-based service will always be better at answering unclear questions, taking care of concerns, and respecting complaints, which is why over 70% of customers feel more comfortable addressing an agent face-to-face and why these figures won’t change anytime soon.
2. Smart People Will Still Be in Higher Demand Than Smart Machines
Customer service is only one of those positions that will hardly ever be reserved exclusively for machines. A study conducted by Oxford Martin School back in 2013 predicted that 47% of jobs in America will be automated by the end of 2033, but that’s not all – having taken 702 different occupations into consideration, the same researchers agreed that there are 3 types of skills that only humans can develop: complex perception, creative intelligence and social intelligence.
The first, as you might assume, is a necessity for complex operations that “involve handling irregular objects or require tactile feedback”, like in surgery, for instance, while creative and social intelligence both depend on empirical observation and include the ability to brainstorm new, original and valuable ideas, just as well as to express them without imposition or aggression. Because of that, professions that revolve around creation, art and design, and those that require the capacity for complex social relations and the ability to lead and nurture others or negotiate with them will always be in need of incomputable, innately human skills.
3. The Same Needs Will Continue to Influence Purchasing Decisions
Nowhere has automation gone so far as in marketing. A lot has happened since Wall Street first became paperless, and businessmen are now empowered with workflow and project management tools, CRM software systems and cloud-based intelligence. Some of these serve to collect and measure data, others to make information more actionable, but none of them has a direct influence on purchasing choices the way that branding and marketing do.
Still, however potent, these systems will never change the basic psychology behind customer behaviour. People will still buy food when hungry, and high couture to feel important, which is why Maslow’s pyramid of needs will continue to direct our marketing strategies, and automation will be there only to push our brand messages further.
4. The Market Will Stay Cyclical
Though it may be hard to predict the market trend change with utmost consistency, that still doesn’t mean that patterns don’t exist. The trade market has been cyclical ever since the 1960s, at least, and even if we cannot pinpoint when, the harsh truth is that the circle is due to roll over.
The bull market is now in its 7th year, and experts have every reason to feel worried about this heavenly number: “since the Bretton Woods Agreement ended in the 1970s, there has been a financial crisis in the seventh year in three of the last four decades: 1987, 1997, 2007”. If the market does crash, the Millennial start-up culture will lack the experience needed to weather the storm.
However unfortunate, market cyclicality only confirms our conviction. Human progress is an ever-lasting battle of opposites – in art, intellect and realism reign only until emotion and impressionism overpower them, and the same principle of patterns will define us forever in business as well.
5. Personal & Professional Satisfaction Will Remain the Ultimate Motive
In 4 years’ time, 5 different generations will inhabit the workplace – while Traditionalists and Baby Boomers will be at the end of their careers, the already mature Gen Xers and Millennials will be joined by Gen Zs, thus creating a generational mashup yet unprecedented in history. With all the latest age gap talk in mind, we cannot but wonder how it will all function.
But, are notoriously self-centred Millennials really that different? Weren’t we all ruled by juvenile whims at one point or another while growing up? The phases that each individual goes through are basically the same as market cycles; once old enough to seek employment, a person leaves the same old post-adolescent instability as generations before did.
What seems like a Millennial whim is actually the long-established need for both personal and professional satisfaction that implies the ability to advance and grow. The only thing that’s different is that digital natives are somewhat louder in voicing their wants and that, for once, they have a worldwide platform to communicate them through.
Even if our computers start socializing with our vehicles and kitchen appliances and the Internet of Things opens a possibility for a Westworld-like scenario in the indefinite future, humankind will hopefully keep its innate sense of fellow feeling. Only when that is uprooted, the next big change will be inevitable; until then, the Earth will only be a better version of the same.
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