We all grew up under the holy mantra of shaping data into information. Correct service to our customers was based on actual knowledge derived from a clear structure on top of the big pile of underlying and meaningless events, numbers, and facts and figures.
Oh yes, customer satisfaction and business success were almost certain if only we were to follow such a controlled waterfall approach in building and providing the customer with meaningful information and structured dashboards. It sure seemed like a great idea, and for many years this information hierarchy worked very well. We even gave it a name: the DIKW pyramid (Data-Information-Knowledge-Wisdom).
However, today’s customer environment doesn’t work that way anymore. HBR (Harvard Business Review) already predicted in a 2010 article that the old hierarchical way of thinking about information building and sharing was coming to an end. The DIKW pyramid was no longer the image of the future. Instead, the new consumer environment would be more creative, messier, harder won, and far more discontinuous.
And so it materialized … today’s customers are no longer satisfied with information, even if it is structured and meaningful. They expect more – they expect a true experience. A recent article hinted that even Facebook could be at risk of falling behind on customer experience, as it is still based on people providing static status/profile updates, sharing information rather than creating experiences. New applications such as
Snapchat bring the customer immediately into the experience. The first screen you get when opening the application is the video-capturing navigation … directly putting you into motion without compromise!
Another example in a totally different industry is Hello bank!, the online bank of BNP Paribas Fortis, targeting the “young” segment with a different experience – only online and via apps. They thereby provide improved customer satisfaction by restraining themselves from sharing all the information on all the products and all the services, and only sharing the relevant ones. And by linking “traditional” financial back-end processes differently to the new desires of their customers.
Now, guess what! The same people getting exposed in their private life to these new types of to-the-point customer journeys also start to expect this in their professional environment. The question for any traditional company is therefore: How can we bring our customer experience into action? Because most companies are not Snapchat or Apple or Amazon, yet every customer now expects every company to act like them. And that’s a challenge.
Of course it all starts with customer segmentation. What different experiences (rather than services) do your customer segments expect, or do you want to offer? Next, how can you align both your customer-facing as well as your back-end processes to that? Looking at all the functional elements of the value chain (sell-plan-source-make-deliver), how do you have to structure the organization, design your processes, develop your IT technology, and measure your performance? At bluecrux, we truly believe in Customer Experience in Action (CEIA). A holistic but pragmatic approach is required … if not, there is no action, and customer experience just remains a buzzword for everyone.