When talking about how to use technology to improve the customer experience, we often think about the technology that the customer overtly interacts with – a touchscreen, for example, or an app. However, where it gets really interesting is when the technology is used in the background to create a little moment of magic that makes the customer feel special.
One of the more interesting innovations in this regard is the recent installation of facial recognition technology in the Hilton Americas Houston. This has the potential to be linked into front-office systems to allow concierge staff to be able to greet repeat customers by name (they seem to imply they will target gold card members specifically). This is a subtle usage, but a powerful one that the hotel hopes will make customers feel like they have been remembered, and are valued.
The system is reportedly 90% accurate, and raises the potential of allowing automatic recognition and check-in to hotels, restaurants and stores. This has enormous potential, but obviously also raises a number of questions about privacy.
Some users may even be turned off, finding it a bit creepy that they have been remembered despite not visiting the hotel in the past year. Used with caution and restraint, however, the potential of bypassing laborious identification stages in many customer journeys is an exciting one.