- Entrepreneur, executive, teacher, early adopter and leader in customer experience management, founding MCorp – a customer experience innovation consultancy – in 2002.
- Developer of Touchpoint Mapping, a trademarked approach to quantifying and improving customer experience, working with leading global companies such as Microsoft, Blue Shield of California, lululemon, Danon, and others.
- Advisor to global organizations including Argo Group, Danone, McKesson, T. Rowe Price, and the United Methodist Church on brand, customer experience and loyalty.
- Co-author with Bruce Kasanoff of Amazon best-seller "Smart Customers, Stupid Companies: Why Only Intelligent Companies Will Thrive, and How To Be One of Them."
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Customer Experience Innovation in the Era of Digital Disruption
Customers have always demanded your best. But a decade and a half into the 21st century, they're demanding much more – not only your very best products and services but experiences that delight and amaze them.
Customer experience includes any and all interactions between a customer and a brand over the entire life cycle of the customer’s relationship with the brand. Increasingly, customers cross multiple channels in a typical transaction. Only those companies that get closer to their customers by creating and consistently delivering innovative, experiences across multiple channels will thrive.
At the same time, companies face digital disruption that is driven by many technologies and trends, ranging from big data and the "Internet of things" (IoT) to cloud services. There are four major disruptive trends, which together enable a company to drive innovation in customer experience:
- Digital sensors: In smartphones there are 15 to 20 different sensors that record how fast you’re going, where you are and at what altitude, even what the weather is like. In a few years there will be trillions of them throughout the world gathering information. Sensors are changing the way information is gathered and the way companies interact with customers.
- Social influence: Social influence means a company is no longer in control of its brand, because there are now layers of other players between the company and its customers. Those intermediaries include commentators on social media, reviewers, bloggers and anonymous detractors. Corporations today must manage brands differently from how they managed them in the past. They must manage the way people feel about their brand, which adds a new component to brand management.
- The physical web: The physical web is the application of digital technology to an increasing range of activities in the real world. Imagine a world where, when you walk up to a bus stop, you no longer have to look at the sign or look up the schedule on your phone. An audible signal tells you exactly when the next bus is arriving. In a large factory, the physical web will have the ability to tell you when products are delivered, when pallets are moved, or when inventory is low.
- Pervasive memory: Anytime any one of us interacts with a device, we leave information about ourselves. Consumers are responsible for about 70 percent of all data collected today. This has resulted in the trend we call pervasive memory. Today, corporations have the ability to remember everything about a customer. They also have the ability to use that information to provide better customer experiences. Unfortunately, companies rarely take full advantage of these capabilities.
In the near future everything will become commoditized – except your relationship with your customers. Consider the smartphone market. Today, it is easy for a design house to create a new smartphone. But the relationship that Apple has with its customers is very different from those of its competitors. Relationships are difficult to establish and very difficult to replicate once they have been established. This means the company that differentiates on customer experience by actually serving their customers better has a chance to capture and hold market share. Customer loyalty and engagement are not only the key to success – they are the key to your very survival as a company.
The same forces that are driving disruptive change can be harnessed to help create new customer experiences, products and services. The road to customer experience innovation runs down the digital path. The choice is becoming increasingly stark: Embrace digital disruption and customer experience innovation or face growing irrelevance and obsolescence.
To sum it up:
- Customer expectations of experience are changing.
- This is driven by always-on connectivity and digital disruption.
- Everything – except your relationship with your customers – is becoming commoditized.
- You can differentiate on customer experience, and win big in your market if you do.
- This leads to greater customer loyalty and engagement, happier employees and more profits.
- The best way to do that is to innovate customer experience – digital disruption (the same forces driving these changes) can be harnessed to help you do so.
- And by the way: If you don’t embrace digital disruption and customer experience innovation, you’ll become irrelevant and die.