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The heart of evolution: Twenty years of customer experience

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I’ve been in a pretty reflective mood of late. I don’t know if that’s just an age thing or not, but I’ve been reflecting on my career path, in particular, the journey, the choices, and the constants. When I trace it back I can see one very clear constant – customer experience. It’s always been at the heart of the work that I do, whether that was as a programmer, a solutions architect, a business developer or a marketer, it’s always been the same topic.

But whilst the topic remains a constant, it’s also true that the language we use to describe customer interactions has transformed completely, and today’s method of connecting with customers is very different than it used to be.

Just twenty years ago, customer relationships were built on a brand’s terms. Businesses were communicating out to consumers through a bombardment of flyers, emails, calls, voicemails, and more. The extent of consumer research was reading materials a brand produced – the information brands wanted consumers to have, not necessarily the third-party insights consumers were looking for.

Today, consumers expect personalized, contextualized interactions at the right time, place, and moment, from every device. They are fully in of control of their experience from how they inform themselves (third-party websites, peer reviews) to how they interact with a brand (web, mobile, text messaging, phone). They also expect each experience on each channel to be seamless and cohesive, and each touchpoint to be individualized.

This paradigm shift isn’t just a result of consumers’ aversion to popups, (although I’m glad those days are long gone), but is due to new technologies that have transformed the speed of change and have created new models of customer outreach. As digital ecosystems evolved, the need for interconnectedness grew, moving engagement from CRM experiences to customer-centric and personalized touchpoints.

The key to providing this experience is having the right data, which I’ll explore more in a future post. For now, keep in mind, customer expectations are changing dramatically in our new digital world and to be successful, businesses need to understand their customer’s wants and needs.

To learn more about the evolution of the customer experience, check out the first episode of the SAP Hybris Live podcast. My colleague, Johann Wrede and I discuss everything from why businesses must be customer-centric to what has influenced artificial intelligence in the enterprise. You’ll learn (or at least be entertained) by our opinions on how technology and customer demand have challenged norms and brought us to a pinnacle of sophistication and flexibility today, as well as how factors like nostalgia and business processes all impact the customer experience. I hope you enjoy.

This post was originally published by Jamie via LinkedIn, and was republished with permission.

Jamie Anderson
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Jamie Anderson

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