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Design thinking, engaged employees and wearables - trends and predictions in Customer Experience

23rd Dec 2014
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As 2015 draws closer, I’ve been thinking about how the biggest trends of 2014 will impact on the year ahead. For me, the most significant trend in customer experience management this year has been the change in marketers approach to data - the recognition of the competitive advantages that appropriate data can deliver and the risks of failure if you don’t have or can’t use that data for individual customer insight.

IBM research tells us that over 3 quarters of consumers EXPECT organisations to understand their individual needs. There is a growing awareness that companies that don’t embrace this change face failure… we’ve seen the rise of some well-known companies and the demise of others and the figures are there in cold hard facts as well. 70% of Fortune 1000 companies that existed 10 years ago don’t exist today. Now, it is about more than the singular, inspirational moment - it's about being able to change the game, at the speed of the customer’s expectation.

These expectations are often being created by moments outside of an organisation’s “normal” industry, by companies that may not even have an industry history.

So it’s no longer just the “what” that defines the winners and losers, it’s the “how”. HOW to take advantage of and use data to provide a properly personalised experience.  

This year, we marketers have also seen an increased focus on innovation. Innovation that challenges established norms and blurs organisational boundaries.

Our clients tell us that innovation needs to touch their customers every day. But it is difficult to find the discipline to select the innovation ideas to take forward. So now the focus has moved to shifting the way they are designing and delivering innovative experiences.

Let me try to bring some of this to life…..

  • Design - would you rather use a solution like Nest – or manually adjust your radiators every day – check it out …
  • Experience – Wimbledon wanted to provide a uniquely immersive experience to their fans wherever they were in the world – see how they did it …
  • Moments that Matter – simple things that happen “in the moment” are often extremely powerful. Nationwide introduced “Impulse Saver” in the summer. A unique way to save little sums almost instantly …

Moving into 2015, I think the focus will switch to employees, design thinking and wearables. I think our customers will care less and less about organisational boundaries since customer experience goes beyond marketing, or sales transactions, to managing dialogue with each customer at every touchpoint, and this requires employees’ consistent engagement across marketing, sales, logistics and service.

That means that increasingly, to drive competitive advantage, organisations will need to find a way to engage employees into the customer experience, to unlock the capability and to drive and deliver innovation. They will need to create a modern process to select and prototype the right ideas, and prove them, rapidly and consistently in a real customer environment. We are already working with a host of clients looking for ways to identify the right ideas and take those forward. I think we will all hear a lot more in 2015 around “design thinking” and agility.  

My final prediction is that 2015 will be the year of wearables. We all know about Apple’s plans for smartwatches, and we have just worked with Nationwide to develop and launch a smartwatch app on Android Wear. I will leave you with best wishes for a fruitful 2015 and a link to a video which might give you some inspiration.…

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