I have worked in the technology industry for many years and have seen three waves of massive technology change occur. First for me was the launch and growth of the Personal Computer in the 1980’s. Then came the Internet in the 2000’s and now it is Technology Everywhere with the explosion in smartphones, wearable technology, the Internet of Things and the merging between the physical and digital worlds.
I was reflecting on this after the fridge freezer purchasing experience I wrote about recently [see the tag at the end of the article], where we used both the web and also the physical visit to a store to secure the desired product.
We are all doing this constantly. Whether it is clothes; food products; entertainment products - films, music, games; cars; travel holidays; hotels; or at work. sharing work files and projects; video and audio conferencing; planning; manufacturing; assembly. You name any social or business activity and I doubt you can find one that is not touched by the technology that surrounds us every day.
Two recent business articles from a US consultancy and a very well respected UK organisation, have further highlighted that organisations need to wake up to the differences and similarities in the Digital Customer Experience aka DCX space. They quote: “DCX is an important key to unlocking new business value and grother for the enterprise companies…. and getting it wrong could threaten many businesses future success.”
The US organisation surveyed over 5,000 consumers to identify some of the worst aspects of the current digital customer services. They included:
# 31% of people could not find the answer they were looking for on the company's web site. I recently had to check on a web site in the UK and could not find the product sold in the UK. I could on the US website, but I knew that it was available in the UK. Result, I went to a competitor.
# 55% of customers will abandon online purchases if they can not find a quick answer. Web sites are fundamental to companies - big and small - they are your virtual shop window. Get them right and they add to the customer experience. Get them wrong and within 3 - 5 clicks, your potential customer will leave and may never come back.
#77% of customers, valuing their time is the most important thing a company can do to provide a good service. The growth in instant messaging and online chat services is a clear differentiator to help people navigate the complexity of companies products and service offerings. I recently decided to change broadband supplier and the difference between my old supplier, where I wanted to check on the reason for a price increase and had to send in an e:mail and waited 2 days for a response, verses, the new supplier, where I was able to chat instantly online with an agent - in english - in the early evening, helped me to make the decision to move.
In the workplace, the growth of virtual desktop sharing to help troubleshoot problems, using self help mobile apps, the growth of online group chat forums [similar to Twitter], online videos and self help, etc have all changed the way we interact and work together.
Some commentators are trying to separate out Customer Experience, from User Experience, where Customer Experience is for the Consumer and User Experience is for the office worker. However, there is inherent risk in this. Why? Because, we are not two different types of technology consumer anymore.
I see many engineers using their own technology at work. Smart phones, tablet pc’s, even cloud data storage solutions - none of it provided by the company. Yes, we do provide all of this, but people have grown up with choice and they want to be able to choose what they use to help make them more agile at work and at home.
Further, a number of companies are now working on what is called an omni-channel strategy. Why have a different strategy for the direct phone business, to the web business, to the physical store in the high street business, to the paper catalogue business, to the subscription business?
As consumers leveraging technology to make our lives easier, more fun, more social and easier; we are demanding that the complexity and different ways we consume are made simpler and easier.
For businesses, unifying the way we manufacture, assemble, distribute, sell and service our products and services - both to other businesses, as well as the end users; makes sense to simplify and leverage core processes and ultimately reduce costs.
Two quotes from the different articles are worth sharing:
“Customers now control the conversation that they have with business”
“We firmly believe that Digital Customer Experience is going to become a strategic imperative over the next few years, as companies all engage on their own digital transformations.”
For a top 20 list of digital retailers for 2014-15, check out:
I leave you with this quote, I would ask are you in group one, two or three??
“I've come up with a set of rules that describe our reactions to technologies:
1. Anything that is in the world when you’re born is normal and ordinary and is just a natural part of the way the world works.
2. Anything that's invented between when you’re fifteen and thirty-five is new and exciting and revolutionary and you can probably get a career in it.
3. Anything invented after you're thirty-five is against the natural order of things.”
― Douglas Adams, The Salmon of Doubt