Written by Vivek Jaiswal | Co-founder, Customer Guru
Do you think your customer experience strategy is in tune with the future customers?
If there is one thing that is uncertain, it is the future. It is also something that worries us. Our future seems to define our present. We live in and for the future. Any organisation with a futuristic vision is deemed progressive and arouses a lot of curiosity amongst the masses. Why else does a product like ‘Google Glass’ becomes an object of so much inquisitiveness? Why else is Elon Musk’s vision of space travel and Tesla’s futuristic cars so appreciated and anticipated?
The world and technology are growing at a motion blurring speed! It will not be an exaggeration to say that new technologies are coming into being every day and old ones are becoming obsolete quicker than ever. A few decades back, we were using the good old landline telephones. This was followed by the cordless ones, which were semi-portable. Then came the mobile phones which revolutionized the way communication was perceived. Even since mobile phones became more popular and common, there have been copious amounts of changes made to them from the buttons to the touch screen and from the bulky ones to extremely sleek ones.
What I am trying to put across is that apart from technologies growing rapidly, they are also becoming obsolete at a pace much quicker than imagined. Quite a few companies that were rigid in their strategies and did not change with changing times were forced to shut! A case in point is Eastman Kodak. In the 70s, Kodak held more than a lion’s share of the camera sales in the world. However, its inability and rigidity in not moving towards digital photography resulted in its doom and Kodak filed for bankruptcy in 2012. Similarly, Blockbuster, the American rental movie and video game provider, once thriving in the market, shut because it did not adapt to changing viewing patterns.
The formula today is pretty simple: Change or Die.
Let’s extrapolate this phenomenon to the customer experience arena. There are going to be numerous inevitable changes in this field too. A few decades back, customer experience was a phenomenon unheard of. But that has changed tremendously in the past few years. Today, customer experience is the only differentiator between products. Today, there are thousands of customer experience professionals around the world. In stark contrast, a study by Gartner states that by 2020, the customer will manage 85% of its relationship with an enterprise without interacting with a human. And that is just four years from now! Customer experience management as a practice, and the customers’ experience and expectation, like other arenas, is poised to change massively in future. Hence, it is imperative for organisations to ask themselves:
How are we going to give our customer a seamless experience in the future world?
Here are a few pointers to help you make your customer experience strategy robust for the future.
Anticipate the change
Be a visionary! Right from politics to business, visionaries have never failed to change the world for the better. Observing how and what customers purchase can give you an insight into their constantly changing needs and behaviours, thereby helping you to foresee their expectations. Regularly capturing customer feedback is also a great way to anticipate the trends and brace yourself for the changes.
Have a Plan B, and perhaps a Plan C too
Once you have anticipated a change, have a plan to adapt to the change. It is obvious that you will face some obstacles and roadblocks on your way. Ensure that you also developed some contingency plans in the event that the original plan fails.
Make yourself omnipresent
Customers are heavily dependent on omni-channel services by companies. They could want to approach you in multiple ways: physically to buy a product, over phone to lodge a complaint or through your website to make a payment. Remember that some decades back, mobile experience was non-existent. Today, mobile is the most used device for browsing. For all you know, mobiles may become extinct in the near future! You wouldn’t want to lose a customer because he could not find an easier way to get in touch with you. Hence, be available across platforms and channels.
Cameras have developed wings to become drones so that they can capture the aerial view of a wedding! IBM’s Watson takes over the post of an assistance and how! Digital transformation is the next big thing and it is a no brainer that a company’s future is directly proportional to its investment in this sector.
Brian Solis sums it up for us: “While early in its evolution, digital transformation represents the next big thing in customer experience and, ultimately, how business is done. Those companies that ‘get it’ and invest more in learning about their digital customers’ behaviours, preferences and expectations will carry a significant competitive advantage over those that figure it out later (if at all).”
In this competitive world, to evolve is to survive and to stagnate is to perish. Are there any other preventive pointers that an organization needs to make a note of to ensure that its customer experience strategy does not fail in future? Do let us know!