Heralded on stage by a laser show of rock concert proportions, Adobe CEO Shantanu Narayen opened the largest ever Adobe Summit EMEA show in London today with a message that all businesses are now “riding the experience wave.”
“Customer experience is all or nothing, protecting the status quo is no longer an option,” he warned the 5,000 delegates from 50 countries assembled at London’s ExCel Centre.
“The next decade will be even more disruptive for how customers interact with brands. We have virtual reality, voice, and gesture. Companies have spent billions trying to harness these with legacy systems and failed. Smarter experience business needs a new central nervous system. That’s why we’ve launched the Adobe Experience Cloud. It’s designed for the modern experience business with data and machine learning at its core.”
Adobe should know, he assured. Ten years ago, the company was at the forefront of content creation, but it knew it was not enough. To remain relevant it had to move on to help customers do something with that content, it had to help with their marketing in the cloud. Now smart marketers are focusing on reimagining customer experiences, and the Adobe Experience Cloud has been born.
From Marketing To Experiences
Brad Rencher, executive vice-president and general manager of digital marketing at Adobe, was next on stage to underline how marketing had had to evolve to keep up with changing customer wants and needs. That’s why it was so vital to have the Adobe Experience Cloud to bring together all the capabilities of the Adobe Creative Cloud, Marketing Cloud, Analytics Cloud, and Advertising Cloud in one place.
The alignment will allow for new customer insights to be seamlessly transformed into new experiences, which, statistics show, result in those at the leading edge, enjoying higher sales growth, improved net promoter scores, and better share price performance. This is because experience companies see changing consumer behaviours as an opportunity to innovate.
“It’s no longer about marketers telling people what a company offers,” Rencher pointed out to delegates.
“Consumers are now telling us what they want, where they want it, when, and how. They want amazing experiences which close the gap between them, and the people, and the things that are important to them.”
Domino’s Pizza was offered as a prime example. It now finds 60% of orders are made through online channels, including the web, app, messaging, text, and social. Consumer experience is woven into the process by enabling customers to order by whichever means suits best and then tracking their pizza from going in the oven to being sent out with a delivery guy.
Carnival Cruise Line has similarly decided to up its game in providing personalised services to consumers. From November, it’s offering a smart, wearable medallion which not only unlocks state rooms but can also be used to book activities. The data revealed is going to empower the travel company to get to know its customers across several brands, as individuals, and delight them with personalised offerings.
New Direction For Autos
Becoming an experience business is not an option, it’s a requirement for any company that wants to stay at the helm of its industry, urged Rainer Feurer, senior vice-president, customer centric sales and customer experience at BMW.
He took to the stage with a video outlining how the future requirements of consumers will move on from simply buying cars to being able to hail a ride in an automated vehicle that opens the door and projects a welcoming salutation on the pavement.
“We’re a 101-year-old company moving from being in the auto industry to mobility,” Feurer explained.
“We know we need to reinvent ourselves from selling cars to being customer-centric. We needed to redefine our position now that people want mobility at their fingertips and digitisation is allowing new entrants to buy customers’ cars, sell them a new one, offer finance, or hail a ride.”
The customer-centric reorientation can already be seen in the car-buying experience.
“We’ve been live in the U.K. with the internet order for a year now, and it’s hugely popular,” he said.
“It helps customers find the right car by presenting the right information so they can decide for themselves. We find a car ordered online attracts 20% higher price because it is more highly specified. The new approach has also transformed the showroom. People don’t want to be sold to anymore, 97% are pre-informed thanks to the web. That’s why we’ve moved to experts who consult with customers, they don’t sell to them.”
Nick Drake, senior vice-president of digital at T-Mobile, took to the London stage to reveal how putting the customer first had revolutionised the mobile phone network. It started with some simple steps such as a better website and app as well as a commitment to ending all the annoying pain points in mobile contracts, including limits placed on data, voice, and text that prove expensive when breached.
However, it is in customer service Drake believes T-Mobile has truly revolutionised the mobile industry and lived up to its mantra of being “customer-obsessed.”
“Our app lets you text a real, live human so you can ask questions, there’s no listening to options while soft jazz plays in the background,” he said.
“We’re among the first companies to offer a chatbot in Facebook Messenger too, but it’s always backed up by a human where needed. We’ve just launched a trial service to get new phones to customers within three hours, and we’re averaging out at 23 minutes in our trial city of San Francisco.
“The difference is our competitors are in suits in oak-panelled board rooms, we’re run as a startup based purely around customer experience.”
If there were one message from the Keynote Session of Adobe Summit 2017 in London, it could be summed up in Adobe’s Rencher words reminding delegates that “we must all make a pledge to become experience businesses, we are all stewards on experience.”
This is not just a commitment to devise new experiences that deliver on customer wants and needs today. It’s a commitment to carrying on the work to keep up with ever-changing customer behaviours that are not delivered in a single moment but in a multitude of interactions between a customer and a brand that the entire organisation must be dedicated to provide, and improve.