Power to the People

15th May 2018

Power to the People

All this talk of artificial intelligence, the growth of analytics, wearable technology etc… etc… is going to change the way we do just about everything – however, I cannot help but think that in the rush to tech, by over theorising and intellectualising, some may be repeating the mistakes of the past.

There is no doubt at all that banks need to wake up and shake up, there is no doubt they are being left behind when it comes to creating frictionless customer experiences, and no doubt that over caution is going to leave some casualties in its wake.

So what of the future? The reality is that there is no ‘one’ answer for every organisation. There are just too many variables. Having said that, I hope I can help by giving you five tips on how to get it right in customer experience:

1.    Listen to customer trends

Behaviours are constantly changing. How we shop is changing and how we seek advice is changing. Technology is putting the power of choice in the hand of every customer – the ability to search out and find the best deal in a few seconds… and this deal may not be yours is threatening the status-quo. Organisations that create positive, frictionless, simple and supportive experiences for their customers will win. Knowing what the latest trends are and knowing what future trends will be, will help shape your experiences, but remember this is not an exact science. Customers want eco-systems that they can adapt to be the way they want them adding and removing functionality, shaping products to be the way they want them to be – meaningful, personal and relevant.

2.    Love your people

We always tell our clients that we can create the best strategy, the most amazing customer journey, the most market busting design, the most business aligned processes and service model, but in the end, a huge ingredient in your success are the people in your business. Fail to focus on people and you will fail. Relationships are made between people and people, not people and machines. Shared human experiences powered by technologies are shaping our lives. By remembering that technology is there to help you serve your customers better, to build engagement, fun and relevancy are important. Technology has its natural place in improving customer experiences and it has an un-natural place in ruining customer experiences. Putting people at the heart of everything you do is the key to success.

3.    Spend wisely on technology and see the whole picture

As I mentioned in my previous article, ‘How to go Digital without Breaking the Bank’, there are often many small things that can be done to improve your customer experience that will not ‘break the bank’. Invest wisely in technology, avoid ‘Dancing Bears’ and remember that technology is a beast that needs feeding. Be sure to understand the real customer and business benefits of any technologies you deploy.

4.    Build an ecosystem

For brands to succeed in the future, they will need to put themselves at the heart of an eco-system that ensures they are offering customers what they want, when they want it. Eco-systems ensure that customers have flexibility, adaptability and the ability to personalise. Eco-systems should be built on the basis of strategic intent and informed by data, trends and patterns. Be sure to invest where you can have the most impact, be open to this being in areas that you did not expect.

5.    Do not fear competition – collaborate

Strategic partnerships will help organisations develop better customer experiences. By remembering that you cannot, and must not try to be everything to everyone, and sticking to what you do best, you will remain focused on being the best in the world at what you do. Your customers will appreciate this and will respond in a positive way… when I think about how Apple has dominated the music market, and in many ways have also saved the music business. When I think of Apple, I am reminded that Apple does not own the rights to any of the music available on their music store. They have created a collaborative partnership with artists and music companies and an eco-system that, through beautiful, simple customer experience design, business brilliance and a focus on technology as a facilitator of human interactions and has changed the way we behave.

By remembering that technology is here to serve us and that people-inspired-experiences are the key to success, organisations will thrive. There is a delicate balancing act, with high-stakes and the potential for huge rewards.

About the Author
Nicholas Griffin is Global Strategy Director at I-AM (www.i-amonline.com ), one of the world's leading customer experience design agencies.  Contact Nick here .

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