Posts Tagged ‘customer experience’

Designing a SMART Customer Experience

Posted on: February 24th, 2014 by admin-kablooey No Comments

The digital world has disrupted our marketing worlds and changed the way business communicates with its customer. Social media has opened the door to two-way conversations, data gives us a better understanding of our market and mobile makes our message more accessible to the general consumer.

Over the past few years we have placed much focus on developing digital channels to make the most of social media, mobile and data collection, however we believe that this focus has swung business to the opposite end of the pendulum. Focusing too much on digital channels and not the consumer themselves.

Digital highlighted a primary shift that consumers wanted business to make. To become more relevant, personal, useful and thoughtful. To design products and experiences that are actually useful and exciting.

SMART-Customer-ExperiencesIn considering this challenge we have found that we need to redesign our customer experiences with these shifts in mind while still considering the person at the end of the experience. To find a balance between the physical and digital experience, to blend the two experiences into one serendipitous occasion that excites and intrigues customers.

SMART Customer Experience” is a framework that TomorrowToday has developed after research into a number of customer experience frameworks. It speaks to the technologies that matter and the need to find the right application in your experience. A simple acronym in SMART – Social, Mobile, Agile, Researched, Transforming. I would like to share three of these these briefly for you to consider in your customer experience design.

Social 

Behind social media lies the consumer insight that customers want to connect with people, brands and business. They want to be able to share in a conversation, to be heard, to listen and add value. This is evident in successful programmes like My Starbucks and Idea Storm where customers can add ideas to a network and watch them come to life as the companies interact with their customers to develop new products together.

When designing an experience that is social we need to focus on the customer need to connect, share and contribute rather than just the platforms available.

Mobile

The power of mobile is evident in how many people own a mobile phone. As wearable tech like The Dash , Google Glass, Pebble watches, Fitbit come onto the market we need to understand the fundamental reason why mobile is so important in our customer experiences.

The power is in context. Mobile devices (any mobile device) helps us create contextual messaging, immersive experiences and accessible information.

In designing SMART Customer Experiences we need to ask ourselves how we can create connections with customers that are more meaningful and that speak to them at the right time, in the right way with the right message.

Transformation

When a customer decides to purchase a product or service they are choosing to adapt their lives to include that product or service. Some adaptions are easy and others are harder. Customer experience designers need to look carefully at how they can help customers change their lifestyles to accommodate their new purchase.

A great example of how this transformation is implemented into a customer experience is found in the book Smart Change  by Art Markman. He describes how  Procter & Gamble helped increase sales of the air refresher Febreze by redesigning a bottle that originally looked like a window cleaner bottle (and cried out to be stored in a cabinet beneath the sink) to one that was rounded and decorative (and could easily be left out on a counter in a visible spot).

Agile and Researched

While Socal, Mobile and Transformation speak to the design of a customer experience, agility looks at how business needs to alter internal processes to respond better to customers. Ultimately becoming a more customer centric organisation. While researched looks at the power of collecting the right data to build quality information about our customers that highlights strong insights that drive our customer experience design.

Need to dive into this in more detail?

Contact us to find out our availability to run a SMART Customer Experience workshop with your product design and marketing team.

Retail and Technology

Posted on: August 22nd, 2013 by admin-kablooey No Comments

There is a unique relationship between retail and technology. Retail chains have long been adopting technology as a means to track customers and gather valuable data. Some retailers have also leant on technology to provide more interesting window displays and shopping experiences. There is however a new element to this relationship, consumers and technology. Consumers today are bringing technology into retail outlets and using it in the purchase experience. An experience that we are no longer in control of. Technology’s relationship with our consumer has empowered our consumer in much the same way that it empowered our retailers.

Two new phenomenons in retail have risen to the fore due to the impact of technology being used by consumers.
1) Showrooming
With the rise in availability of products now online, consumers are able to purchase almost anything using an internet connection. Although this is primarily a developed economy concern, right now it is clear that the rise in e-commerce services in developing economies are creating the same purchase patterns.

Showrooming is the behaviour of testing, touching, experiencing a product on the retail floor and deciding to purchase the product online.

According to the Business Insider consumers are showrooming for the following reasons, in order of preference:

  • Price is better online
  • Planned to buy the product online but wanted to see it first
  • Item was out of stock in-store
  • Would rather have the item shipped to them directly
  • It was not convenient to purchase the product in-store at the time

2) Blended Physical and Digital Experiences In-store

Mobile has disrupted the consumer market in ways we never imagined. The ability to take the internet with us into every single aspect of our lives has meant that consumers have become more savvy shoppers.

Primarily through a mobile smart phone, consumers are researching your products in-store and comparing them with your competition. I have personally tested this process to see how easy it was and ended up buying a book for my kindle from amazon – standing inside a bookstore.

Essentially the impact of mobile has taken showrooming to a new level by incorporating purchase and delivery to a competitor whilst standing in your store.

In the future, consumers will bring more advanced technology in-store that will give them quicker and more convenient access to this power of information.

Retailtechnologytrends.com laid out some interesting ideas about how consumers will use Google Glasses which are due to launch at the end of 2013.

Competitive purchasing – With the right SDK, apps like Amazon, or RedLaser can enable wearers to scan items by pulling them off the shelf and looking at them. The glasses can recognize the barcodes and return search details on comparable prices elsewhere.

Mobile Self Scanning – Google Glass could be used to port to a mobile app for users to scan their groceries as they go through the store, and then they could checkout with Paypal or some other mobile payment solution.

How do we take back control?

The business that seems to be winning with consumers are those that are providing technologies that compliment this purchasing style. The old analogy “if you cant beat them, join them” rings true in these scenarios.

With the example of Google Glass, retail outlets can use the same technology to improve customer loyalty by using information collected about the customer, and that information can then be shown only to the eyes of the store staff in order to best serve the client without the client seeing the information.
John Lewis designed a brand specific mobile app for their customers to use that allows customers to scan products, search for products and purchase – allowing customers to choose the purchasing experience that suits them. The app also provides additional product information that is not always available on the shelf in the store.Other examples are where retail outlets have created complimenting online stores that are mobile friendly and may even come packaged in their own mobile app. These services increase the chance of “showrooming purchases” still being purchased from the store. Utilizing GPS information from the device may even allow retail chains the ability to track the location of the purchase and attribute it to the nearest retail outlet.

When looking at the disruptive change taking place, it is important not to get caught up in the hype and to focus on key trends that will help you design a more robust customer experience.

Here are my three suggestions to win your customer back:

Think Mobile First

The mobile disruption has made it clear that every retail outlet wanting to engage their customers and claim a higher percentage of sales from showrooming, need to ensure that they have a mobile platform that provides the best value to the client – in service and purchasing tools.

Understand the social shift

When thinking about mobile also understand that new technologies in GPS, Augmented Reality and others will make it easier to capture information on purchase behaviour.

Social media coupled with mass usage and mobile distribution has bought people into the purchase experience that you cannot see or influence with the in-store design and atmosphere.

It isa well known revelation that consumers trust their peers more than they trust the company they are buying from. In the social media shift those recommendations are just a few clicks away.

Remember it’s a blended experience

This is vital. I don’t believe that digital or online stores will do away with retail outlets or shopping centres. There is still a large social and consumer benefit to shopping. Instead we need to understand that the shopping experience is more complex thanks to technology. The winners will be those who provide a blended physical and digital experience that surpasses its competitors.

Mobile Marketing and Social Disruption

Posted on: May 16th, 2013 by admin-kablooey No Comments

I am currently in the middle of a simple series exploring mobile and the impacts it has in life, work and society.

When asked to look at the future of mobile I believe that you need at look at three main aspects:

  1. The internet of things
  2. Social Disruption
  3. Infrastructure

In my last post I presented the concept of “The internet of things,” a look into how mobile technology is being use to enable machine to machine communication.

Today I will explore Social Disruption. The impact of social technology on a mobile consumer market and employee base.

Social Disruption

Roughly seven years ago social media thrust our world into a brand new digital dynamic. I believe that this technology helped us break into a new era, out of the information era and into the connection economy.

In the information era data helps us build competitive edge providing better value to our customers with custom solutions to custom problems. Data enables us to act quickly with the right information to meet a customers needs. Many industries have been working hard to make this a reality and this ‘data service’ in many cases has almost become the norm. Ecommerce is a great example of tracking purchases to provide customised future purchasing suggestions. Retail data has been used extensively to take the stock management power away from the supplier and place it firmly in the hands of the retailer. A better understanding of purchase patterns has helped retail outlets stock correctly and branch out into diversified services that help entrench loyalty with the customer. A great example here is how Tesco used the Club Card to become a world leading retailer.

So what happens when everyone in your industry is using data in this way. In South Africa we have seen Discovery, Pick n Pay, Woolworths and many other consumer driven services putting data to very good use to gain an edge on the market. When all the competitors ‘catch up’ where will we find our edge?

In the connection economy, the edge comes from ‘relationship.’ Building a social relationship with customers.

Prioritising relationship

When social media exploded many business jumped in an began to ‘socialise’ with their customise. In other words they set up a facebook page and asked people to become fans, then we tailored beautiful content strategies to speak to our new fanbase. Now don’t get me wrong, I am not knocking content marketing and social media marketing. The principles are correct and they do work in creating a better connection with customers. Couple this with the fact that customers are choosing social mediums to communicate to and about companies, products and services, we can see a definite need to include social media strategy into our communication strategy.

I do believe that ‘social strategy‘ is more than social media strategy. Its the process of looking at our business, our products and services and seeing how we can build a more social experience at every level. Its about leveraging this social disruption to better your customer experience to include a relationship component.

Leveraging Social Disruption in Mobile

So what does this look like in the world of Mobile Marketing.

Social Media ConsumerMobile is personal

There are few objects that people posess that are more personal than a mobile phone. It contains in it the ability to store personal information, share information to personal networks and converse in one on one conversations. The personal nature of these devices means that they become a perfect platform to connect in a personal and social way with our customers.

One of the biggest learnings here at the moment is that all social communication should be mobile device friendly. If its not, you’re not touching the market with the right technology that makes a difference.

Another simple learning is that in certian circumstances you may be able to provide a more personal service by allow your business to be utilised through mobile. A classic example of this is how FNB claimed more customers simply because they offered a mobile banking app as part of their service (I was one of those people who moved banks for this reason.)

Mobile is immediate

Certian conversations require immediate action. Mobile is the device that people use to requets that immediate action.

Utilising apps or mobile sites that can assist customers with immediate queries and concerns is a good medium to divert negative sentiment away from public channels. Utilising apps to provide actual services are one of the most important avenues you should be considering on mobile strategy. Utlising social disruption in the delivery of these services would mean eansuring a personal experience that is sharable and connect the person with a community that they trust.

The immediacy of mobile means that if people are provided the correct socialised channels they may use your products whilst simultaneously sharing them with trusted networks (word of mouth marketing).

Mobile is social

A persons mobile device is a primary source of their socialisation with people. SMS, Whatsapp, BBM, MXit, Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Skype and many more tools are used on a daily basis to help people socialise with each other.

This is important to understand because although people hate spam communication, they will be used to social communication.

Key Drivers

One of our key drivers in mobile strategy should be to ustilise social disruption to provide a more personal, sharable and community driven experience for our customers.

 

Originally posted on the blog of Mike Saunders our Technology Keynote Speaker

The 7 Habits of Highly Effective Customer Experience Leaders

Posted on: January 7th, 2011 by Dawna MacLean No Comments

A number of weeks ago I was having a discussion about the relevance of customer experience in business strategy and I was struck by my own sense of bewilderment regarding the simplicity and clarity of this discussion.  Yet many companies still have massive blind spots with regards to the customer experience that they are manifesting.  If you ask most executives what their desired customer experience is, generally you do not get a clear and concise answer.  This lack of awareness opens your business to unnecessary risk and vulnerability.  The good news is, customer experience principles are not rocket science, in fact they are very logical in nature.  The complexity is a result of the human science that is commonly misunderstood or neglected all together.  It is what shapes customer experience yet very few are tackling this conundrum head on.

Stephen Covey’s 7 Habits of Highly Effective People principles are simplistic and highly obvious, yet powerful because they are mindful of human science.  I pulled out my old 7 habits chart and then redrew it through the lens of customer experience.  My point in doing this is to illustrate that the concepts and principles of customer experience are as simplistic and highly obvious as Covey’s principles.

Covey then introduced the 8th Habit From Effectiveness to Greatness.  In essence the 8th habit is about finding your voice and inspiring others to find theirs.  This habit reinvented through the lens of customer experience becomes “find the voice of your customer and inspire your employees to integrate and honour it”.

The 8th principle is where the real complexities of human science surface within the practice of customer experience.  The recognition of the relevance of customer experience is merely turning the lights on, creating awareness of what might feel quite obvious.

The art and true value of customer experience disciplines happens within the 8th habit moving from effectiveness to greatness.  Many companies want and expect the results of  the 8th habit right out of the gate, but it is important to first recognize and master the 7 habits.  Then expect the real hard work to begin once you start to navigate into the 8th habit.  This will be an iterative journey, one of continual improvement that requires mindfulness, endurance, humility and creativity.

Is your customer experience journey mindful of human science?

Calling out to those connecting to – and connected to – call centres

Posted on: October 20th, 2010 by admin-kablooey 1 Comment

“Call centres are the electronic assembly lines of the new economy” – Phil Jennings, Union Network International

The last few months have been a busy and exciting time for Tomorrow Training. We have been up to a lot of good things, which have been really fun and educational and so it is not always easy to decide what to talk about. But after some deliberation I have decided to talk about call centres, since they are such a prominent part of how we do business today.

Call centres became widely used in South Africa in the 1980s although one could argue they have their origins in the humble ‘telephone exchange’, which was used in South Africa even up until the 1960s. Their wide-spread use, globally, coincided with the quickly emergent Computer and IT industries, as companies needed to set up ‘support centres’ or ‘HelpDesks’ as they came to be known. These centres promptly came to be seen as useful in promoting efficiency for communication between the inside and outside of the business. To a large extent, they really have changed the face of how companies interact with their clients or customers (although the use of social media is now becoming increasingly popular in some sectors). Essentially the need for call centres rose out of massive and relatively fast population growth globally, increased competition, and a major increase in the volume of activity necessitating communication between big organisations and their clients. Simultaneously, conglomerates were being developed, multi-national corporations became more widespread and mergers, both national and international, took place.  So much so that in South Africa in the mid-1980s about 500 people were employed as call centre agents. However, it was in the 1990s that call centres really ‘took off’ in South Africa with companies like M-Net (later to become MultiChoice), Eskom, ABSA Bank, Standard Bank and First National Bank pioneering this sector.  Today there are about 150 000 people employed in call centres across South Africa (although the majority are in Gauteng); and this sector is currently one of the fastest growing economic sectors in South Africa, according to the Department of Trade and Industry. (more…)