great expectations: smart, collaborative robots and the customer experience

in rethinking robotics by Matt Fitzgerald

Smart collaborative robots - it's more than a product, it's the experience you get before, during and after the purchase.

Think about the last product you purchased.  Now think about the experience it provided.

  • Why did you choose it?  What research did you do?
  • Were your expectations met?
  • Did you find it easy and intuitive to use?
  • Did it solve the problem you need it to solve?
  • Would you recommend it to a friend or colleague?
  • Was it the right price?
  • Do you like the company you bought from?
  • Do you trust the manufacturer?
  • If you contact the company to provide feedback, good or bad, will they listen?

I’m willing to bet you either consciously or unconsciously think about some or all of these questions before you buy a product. Even if you say you don’t care, I’d still wager you have an opinion. This is what the customer experience is about. It’s not just solving your problem if you have one. That’s important, but only a small piece of the experience.  The customer experience is all about the journey before, during, and after purchase, and how satisfying it was, is and will be.

A great customer experience exceeds your expectations, provides a simple solution, and delights you with things you didn’t even know you needed.  One of my favorite examples is the Xfinity voice remote from telecom giant Comcast.   Did I just say a cable TV and Internet service provider can provide a satisfying user experience?  I consumed this Xfinity commercial several times over the winter. I sarcastically thought to myself, oh great they’re trying to get into the voice game, good luck competing with Siri or Alexa.  I was wrong.  Xfinity changed the game for me. They are solving a focused problem for me – finding the content I want to watch or record, and finding it easily with a quick, simple and delightful solution.

If you have ever struggled through archaic menus to find a show or searched for a sports event that is happening in the future so you can record it, you’ll know the pains and frustrations of sifting through listings and typing text with only arrows and an ok button. The search is nearly impossible if you don’t know the exact text of what you’re looking for.  Now I press one button, say the title, or say something related to what I’m looking for, and boom the content is presented on the TV screen. Simple. Game changing. I never thought I needed this, but now that I have it, I love it.

We changed the game when it comes to robots.  You don’t need an advanced degree or know how to write code in order to use our collaborative robots.  You show the robot what to do and the robot repeats it.  It’s that simple. Are you an engineer and want to work with your laptop?  No problem, we’ve got you covered too.  Work the way you want to work.

Look back at the questions at the top and think about them. Here at Rethink Robotics, on a daily basis we ask ourselves, our customers and our partners all of these questions, and more. It’s what drives our customer experience improvements and ensures we delight customers by transforming their experience. Our most recent example of this is our latest robotics software release, Intera 5.  Users of our robots inspired us to build it.  For our current customers, we listened to their needs and desires.

For those of you that are thinking about a cobot solution, check out our Sawyer collaborative robot in action.  As you embark on your customer experience journey with us, think about the questions listed above and hold us accountable.  It’s what we expect. And it’s what you deserve.

For more news and views about collaborative robots and manufacturing automation, check out the rest of the Rethink Robotics blog and be sure to subscribe above.



About the Author

Matt Fitzgerald

Matt Fitzgerald is the Vice President of Customer Experience at Rethink Robotics. Matt has been a member of the Rethink team since 2012 and has been integral in launching both Sawyer and Baxter collaborative robots by leading the software product management. Matt has been in software product management for over 15 years. Prior to Rethink, he served as Senior Principal Product Manager at Avid Technology.

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