The experience economy that Gilmore and Pine described surrounds us today; we live in an experience economy. Further accelerated through digital transformation, we subscribe to video on demand platforms, we have highly personalized online experiences, and we are willing to pay more for faster delivery and better service.
Thus, it is not surprising that over the past year customer experience has become the new dividing line between winners and losers in the market. Winners know their customers and have built a trusted relationship with them. Incumbents as well as start-ups are racing to compete on engaging customer experiences.
So, what do companies need to do to compete in the experience economy in 2019?
2019 imperative: Creating a better CX in the Experience Economy
#1 Connect experience into every part of your company.
Malcolm Gladwell remarked in one of his talks at the 92nd Street Y in New York that in large organizations “people, over time, put the needs and desires of those inside the organization ahead of the needs and desires of the ones they are serving”. I fully agree with him.
Far too many people inside organizations serve internal stakeholders and processes rather than customers. It is very hard to change this unless you have experience data from customers in real-time connected into your organization. Connecting this experience data and bringing it into your internal operations will not only improve the services provided, but will also make everyone in a company focus on a more customer-centric model.
#2 Trust in personalization.
There is a crisis of trust in nearly all parts of society, and in 2018 the tech world had its own rude awakening: Trust in tech hit an all-time low. My own presentation at SAPPHIRE NOW included the line “don’t be creepy” and besides my pronunciation of the word, the feedback was remarkable. Many agreed that online experiences are indeed creepy, yet we all want highly personalized services.
The onus will be on all of us in the tech industry together with our customers, partners, and governments to jointly define the management of customer data and to ensure great experiences can be delivered while privacy is protected. Recognizing this challenge, SAP, Microsoft, and Adobe started the Open Data Initiative in 2018, and, as GDPR is becoming a global standard, the implementation and action against these standards will need to be a major focus in 2019 and beyond.
#3 Go beyond CX.
In speaking with many clients and consumers, it is clear that the experience of the customer-facing workforce in serving customers is tremendously important. One customer shared with me their model of the reversed pyramid where every customer-facing employee is at the top of the pyramid and the CEO is at the bottom. One of the reasons for this model is that these customers want to ensure that their employees are trained well and have the tools to deliver remarkable experiences to their customers.
For too long, CRM solutions increased work loads for sales and marketers by asking for data for controlling purposes rather than helping them become more effective by focusing more time to build trusted customer relationships. Through artificial intelligence (AI) and smarter solutions, we now see a significant shift to solutions that prescribe the next best action, and are actually helpful to the customer-facing workforce and reduce the administrative burden. We also see the advent of new training solutions that come with pre-packaged content to truly transform the workforce rather than just provide better tools.
2019 just started. What do you see for customer experience in 2019?
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This post was originally featured on LinkedIn, and is syndicated here with permission.