Technology is driving the customer experience into the future. In turn, many organisations have become increasingly customer-centric, but their thinking is not necessarily strategic enough.
To be radically customer-centric is to reimagine how your whole company could organise the way it creates, markets, and services around individuals. The role of data and technology is incredibly important here, but more so is your organisation’s culture, structure, processes, and incentives.
So what is shaping the future of the customer experience? I spoke with Phil Whitehouse, DigitasLBi’s APAC innovation lead, about the top drivers.
Transformative Business Models
When an experience is accompanied by an understood business model, it can create new value. Without that tangible connection to value, however, the experience will merely be seen as a cost of doing business, and a company will invest the minimum it can just to stay above a customer’s pain threshold.
“The exponential growth patterns seen in Silicon Valley and beyond are a wake-up call for traditional businesses. Huge amounts of new value are being generated, and well-established industries are being turned on their heads,” Whitehouse said. “Businesses have to evolve quickly to flourish in this new age. They need to set themselves up to identify high-potential opportunities and remove the barriers that might prevent them from capitalising on these quickly.”
An organisation’s ability to derive value and meaning from data at speed or, even better, in real time is also central to business transformation, Whitehouse explained.
“It provides businesses with a significant strategic advantage, and in an environment where everyone is in hot pursuit of these exponential benefits, laggards will find it increasingly difficult to keep up,” he said. “Those seeking transformation would be wise to put data initiatives front and centre.”
Personalised Experiences Driven By Customer Data
Customers value personalised experiences far more than generic ones, and this is where businesses have the opportunity to create real value.
“Most tier 1 businesses have successfully implemented basic personalisation on their digital properties, but there is still considerable upside to unlock,” Whitehouse said. “The challenge now is to evolve these nascent capabilities into something more strategic, connected, and valuable.
The role of customer data in creating business value can’t be underestimated. The right data integrated effectively creates an experience that mimics customer service from a person who knows you well and can anticipate what you want next. When it’s done right, a business can achieve personalisation on a scale of millions, resulting in major growth.
“While data will continue to underpin this growth, it’s essential to remember that it’s the human connections that have the greatest impact, and for many businesses the crucial connective tissue between digital and real-life experiences will continue to evolve,” Whitehouse said.
AI And Machine Learning
The interplay of transformative business models and artificial intelligence (AI) is creating big opportunities for businesses. The first wave of transformation digitised the infrastructure of organisations from its factories through to its advertising.
The processes must think, the infrastructure must think, and the people must be freed to think less about routine tasks and more about creative, human endeavours that will deliver the breakthroughs needed to kick-start the next wave of growth.
“The vast array of data sources at our disposal is already difficult to organise and process, and this challenge is only going to increase with the sheer volume of data being captured,” Whitehouse said.
That’s where AI, including machine learning, can help—eventually.
“Marketers keeping their eye on developments will be rewarded for testing these new capabilities as they emerge to find the ones that work for them,” Whitehouse added.