Rémy Treguer, Director of customer experience at Futuroscope
When two “components” decide to live together (one plus one), they give rise to a system (which makes three). A system is a combination of components that interact according to certain rules. We can imagine that like a mobile that we hang in a child’s bedroom: the whole is balanced and each component has its place. If we move one component everything needs to be readjusted.
Contact-free tech and people, the new marriage of three.
Playing with a touch sensitive viewpoint indicator, meeting a Socibot humanoid robot, getting a makeover with a smart wardrobe, directing the robot avatar Awabot, playing in a virtual sandpit, discovering the principle of 3D printing, exploring the VR world with HTC Vive, interacting with visitors through beacon technologies, leap motion or even interactive votes, but also marketing connected products from the brand Lick. That was our field of experimentation when we launched the Futur l’Expo pavilion in 2015. We learnt things, but also assessed and studied the reactions of visitors to better understand the challenges of the “contact-free”. We knew that this technology was on the way, but not when it would be part of our daily lives. Few visitors could imagine or conceive of the future uses. That was yesterday...
We are at a key moment, contact-free technology is becoming the new “game changer” in the customer experience. It is reshuffling the deck and opening up new possibilities, it offers a much demanded freedom... The COVID crisis has been a phenomenal booster, French people are ready to go through the looking glass and explore new uses!
How can it be integrated into the pathway of a visit? How can contact-free tech facilitate the work of employees?
How does it transform our relationship with other people? How can we avoid developing functional features that are just gadgets? This goes beyond understanding expectations, one of the famous quotes from Steve Jobs is still relevant:
“It’s not the customer’s job to know what they want. Customer’s don’t know what they want until you show it to them”. It’s up to each company to design its user experience!
Are you ready?
Contact-free technology is available, efficient, it is feasible.
The entry level costs are affordable, it is viable.
The solutions are what your customers are looking for.
“I invented nothing new. I simply assembled the discoveries of other men... Had I worked fifty or ten or even five years before, I would have failed”. So said Henry Ford more than a century ago…
It is time to dive into the tank, to assemble, to innovate, to create new uses.
Just four years ago, we still drew a line between the visitors’ physical pathway (during the visit) and the digital pathway (before and after the visit), approaches were often split and in the end they were frequently complicated, difficult to implement and expensive! Our vision is now clear. At Futuroscope, contact-free technology meets a strategic value for customers, helping visitors to manage their time, facilitating access and limiting constraints. Essentially, making the day seamless, as contact-free technology reduces space-time, it gives people superpowers, the possibility of navigating from one place to another, everything is connected as if by magic!
Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi, a Hungarian psychologist, devised the concept of ‘Flow’ that we can associate with this magical aspect. Flow is a state of high concentration when an individual is entirely consumed by the task that they are performing whilst feeling happy and fulfilled. Flow is therefore an efficient method for motivating our visitors and making them feel happy about what they are doing. Digital technology contributes to increasing this joy, which is the emotion that people seek during any visit.
We have all felt this sense of pride in having completed an order, a booking or making an appointment for your Covid vaccine! Big up!
Contact-free tech already allow us to:
Improve how we welcome visitors through pre-booking and increasing their independence during their stay.
Of course, with contact-free payment there is no longer any need to handle cash, quicker financial flows and transactions reduce waiting times in shops and restaurants.
A “hands-free” experience reduces stress, the fear of losing keys or your wallet vanishing. It is also worth noting that “fear”, even if it is short lived, is the ultimate negative emotion—except of course on rides like Objecitf Mars where we are thrill seeking!
Parents can make the functional features on the RFID card secure and children have greater freedom, they can become independent and dive into the Aquapark. This management of uses and access allows Futuroscope to adapt its offering and to have customised packages, which is a source of revenue.
The data collected by the technology helps us to better understand consumer habits, and to optimise flows and traffic on the site. Which is one of the subjects that contributes to Very High Satisfaction.
Contact-free tech must above all work for visitors and their experience. It must not be just a gadget, it must contribute to the experience, plain and simple!
The famous mathematician, Mickaël Launay, tells us that there are two worlds. The additive world and the multiplicative world, contact-free tech creates a multiplicative effect.
Indeed, contact-free tech must not be an additional layer (+) or a risk of degrading the system (-); on the contrary, contact-free tech multiplies the effects (x), the combinations, the choices, it boosts the power x the experience. In that way it is a real innovation. There are several conditions for this multiplicative effect, which is why, at each key moment in a visitor pathway, the famous moments of truth, you need to ask yourself which is the best solution? Digital, Physical, Human and/or a mix of the three?
But first of all, the condition sine qua non is having a consistent software base that allows you to manage customer relationships properly. This consistency must be ensured by properly managing the connectivity between the databases and having a single account to register visitors. Indeed, managing identities and customer access (CIAM) has become a strategic necessity that makes it possible to offer users multichannel experiences that are seamless and customised, and a non-negligible source of income. The CDP (Customer Data Platform) must make it possible to create appropriate scenarios for our visitors. More than ever, customer experience is a key consideration, it must make a connection on the web of the level of quality that is expected, desired, achieved and perceived.
In addition to this technological progress, adopting the “good old recipes” can help to improve efficiency. Sometime you have to get back to basics. Handling things in the real world makes sense. We can “force” the visitor to act in a determined way. A kind of fool proofing or Poka-Yoke that we see in the industry. A solution that is often inexpensive, simple, easy to maintain, which we use for example to manage flows. Connected guidance or a specific app are add-ons, a paper map, signposting that can be seen from five metres away can complement the system. You have to cater to everybody; we have for example identified ten methods for organising a day in the parks depending on the visitor profiles.
As an additional digital solution, specific applications can complement our panel of solutions at certain times. For example, we used the Imagina app to support the “e-motions days” at Futuroscope, a soft mobility trade fair that will be held at the start of September. But applications such as Klaxoon or even Lineberty complement the system with different functional features. Our experience shows that you need to offer them for specific uses or visitor profiles. You need to find the right balance, this dosing needs to be achieved through experimentation and depends on each site.
In any case, the risk lies in making access more complicated. The three-click rule is a non-official and non-theorised rule of browsing that suggests that users must be able to find the information that they are looking for on a website in a maximum of 3 clicks The three-click rule applies in the Park, the information must be accessible and comprehensible in less than 30 seconds. That is where human contact has its full interest. This is the solution that we favour to add value. The welcome, the smile and the empathy of employees, providing information at the right time. A friendly speech at the end of a show helps to send visitors to another place without systematically using a specific app. Nothing can replace human contact when it is professional and high quality.
Employees assist and guide visitors, the quality that we look for in our staff is always people skills...
There is a future in the profession of helping people.
Do not make things complicated, keep it simple, think about how tech will be used, as the design must contribute to the experience. Innovating means paying attention to people, time, the duration, to cycles and to key moments... Essentially, we are taking baby steps and we are progressing with humility and good humour.
“There is nothing worse than entering into a society that we do not understand and that we therefore reject. And if we reject it, we fall behind.”
René Monory – the inventor of Futuroscope