DIGITAL CUSTOMER EXPERIENCE // Changing customer experiences: 5 challenges for companies


Whether Big Data, Machine Learning or the Internet of Things (IoT): Technological progress and Artificial Intelligence (AI) are changing everything – including how customers experience companies and make purchasing decisions.

What challenges do companies have to overcome to remain competitive in the future?

II will introduce you to the five most important trends and challenges of digital customer experiences – DIGITAL CUSTOMER EXPERIENCE

Did you know that 2/3 of customers routinely change brands when the customer experience was not satisfactory? This is the result of a study from 2018 by New Voice Media (USA).


1. Customers expect special experiences

Artificial intelligence and fixed algorithms take over all insignificant aspects of the customer experience. This includes those tasks that do not offer customers an emotional sense of value – for example, routine tasks or repetitive tasks. The AI becomes gatekeeper: Those who offer customer experiences without meaning are ignored by the AI and forgotten by customers.

What can companies do?
Focus on customer needs, create meaning and focus on value-adding aspects of the customer experience. All other tasks should be automated so that the customer is not distracted from the most important aspect of the customer experience.

Important:
Companies must still meet the old customer expectations. Fast delivery of products and services and excellent customer service are a matter of course for customers.

2. Artificial intelligence makes purchasing decisions

Man is lazy by nature, and this will not change in the coming centuries. That is why AI engines are becoming more and more important – artificial intelligence will mediate between customer and company and take over everything that is routine (and everything of importance is decided by the customer himself). This includes purchasing decisions that consumers consider to be less important.

What can companies do?
Enhance products with AI capabilities and optimize customer experiences and interactions with machine learning, Big Data, and more. With a strong brand, AI-supported product positioning and informative product and service descriptions, companies can gain a competitive advantage.

By the way:

Whether suggested series at Netflix, music at Spotify or purchase recommendations at Amazon: Machine learning systems already play a decisive role in everyday purchasing decisions.

DIGITAL CUSTOMER EXPERIENCE

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3. The customer shapes the customer experience

Customers want to be actively involved in business models. Whether design, production, marketing or benefits: The consumer of tomorrow wants to be involved in shaping – both actively and passively. A passive design is achieved by providing data with which companies personalise products or services for the end customer.

What can companies do?
Provide open platforms instead of end products, which allow the customer to actively and passively participate in shaping the product (“customer co-creation”). Or let customers experiment with a part of the product – open-ended video games are a popular example. The winner is the one who sees the customer as a partner (and not just as a consumer or buyer)!

By the way:

For one of my clients I developed a customer co-creation process which led to many new insights on both sides. The client (Big Pharma) has a better understanding what he really needs and my client really understood the needs of the users for the first time. If this interests you, please contact me.

4. „Digital Tribes“ set the direction

Thanks to online platforms, customers can network in the shortest possible time. The result is digital tribes, which offer companies many opportunities – and bring great challenges. Some tribes have the explicit aim of changing or renewing companies. Series fans have made old series popular again, had unpopular series cancelled or have had certain episodes rewritten. Those who annoy their Tribe put everything on the line – a shitstorm can destroy brands, companies, people and parties.

What can companies do?
To become the center of their Tribe, to support the community in their role-finding and to stand up for the values of the Tribe. Highlight your customers’ services in connection with your company and turn customers into fans! A tribe full of fans can take any company to the next level.

Important:

Digital tribes are primarilyab about creating and sharing social content. These can be for example photos, videos, tweets, status updates or reviews. When designing products, platforms and websites, companies should therefore focus on social content that people want to create or share.

5. Values and morals influence purchase decisions

Does the company fit in with my thoughts and actions? More and more customers – especially Generation Z – will be guided by this in the future. This is due, among other things, to digital platforms and social media that create a global awareness of global challenges facing humanity – such as climate change (“Fridays for Future”, EU Grean Deal), human rights and fair working conditions. For example, moral values play a more important role in purchasing decisions: those who disregard the values of their customers are increasingly rejected by their customers.

What can companies do?
Take a position, represent the moral values of the target group and integrate these values into the entire company – from raw materials, the production process and packaging to the mission statement. Transparency plays a decisive role – this is achieved in the supply chain for example with new technologies such as IoT sensors, 5G or Block Chain.

Important:
According to a study by the international communications agency Edelman, the values of a brand influence the purchasing decision of almost two thirds of consumers worldwide.


While 80 percent of CEOs feel their company’s customer experience is “first class”, only 8 percent of customers agree.


Conclusion

How good is your customer experience? Probably worse than you think, as a report by SAP on Capital Markets Day 2019 revealed: While 80% of CEOs feel their company’s customer experience is “first class”, only 8% of customers agree. That’s why there’s no way around it: If you want to remain competitive, you have to recognize trends and adapt your customer experiences – it’s all about interaction and digital exchange, values, meaningfulness and a clever use of artificial intelligence.


I got the impulse for this article from: “The Future Customer Experience: Five Essential Trends”, SAP, 2018