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Open UAS study unit will examine customer experience in the digital world

This study unit to be implemented in December will be taught by visiting professor Mohamed Zaki from Cambridge University.

New digital technology – the latest examples include chatbots, robots and various VR or AR applications – has revolutionised the ways companies interact with their customers. As a result of this development, the importance of customer experience has not diminished, but rather has become even more important. 

What is a good customer experience in the digital age and how is it managed? These and other questions will be examined in depth in the study unit titled Customer Experience in the Digital Era to be implemented at Laurea as the Open University of Applied Sciences’ studies at Master's level. 

Helping companies understand customers

The study unit is to be taught by Dr Mohamed Zaki, an expert in customer experience and digitalisation. Dr Zaki has studied business analytics, machine learning and their utilisation in the development of services and published articles in many of the most respected journals in the field. 

Currently, he is the head of the Cambridge Service Alliance, a research centre at the University of Cambridge. The aim of the research centre is to help businesses develop into digital service organisations.

- Today, companies have a wide range of channels through which they interact with their customers and offer a lot of data and feedback from customers, says Mohamed Zaki. 

- We try to help companies to gain access to and understand the real thoughts, experiences and feelings of customers when they interact with the company.

Digital, physical and social channels

For the Customer Experience in the Digital Era study unit, Dr Zaki will bring knowledge based on the latest research findings and collaboration with international companies. Today, digital presence and identity are extremely important for businesses, but by no means the only dimension of customer experience: 

- In this course, we will try to show that companies need not only digital channels but also physical channels and what we call social channels, Dr Zaki continues. 

- The customer experience must be in line with these three channels, and in this course we will look at how this happens.

Another important theme of the course will be the building of a delightful customer experience. It focuses on customer touchpoints where an emotional attachment occurs: 

- It is no longer enough to satisfy the needs of the customer, but to make them fall in love, Dr Zaki says.

Debate on human and non-human interaction

At Cambridge, Mohamed Zaki works at the intersection where academic and global business meet. Right now, there is a lot of debate on both sides about the relationship between human and non-human interaction. Companies are introducing brand new solutions such as chatbots and an Amazon Alexa type of services to automate and facilitate customer service. 

- How such interaction will develop in the future and how it will shape customer experience is still a mystery. In each case, the experience is different, Dr Zaki says.