We are all customers and we all have experiences. Customer Experience in Practice is a common-sense look at how we want to interact with companies, how we would *like* companies to interact with us vs. how companies want to market to us.
There are many articles about the digital revolution, how it is impacting culture and people. The incredible pace of change is transforming the world and technology is driving that change with digital experiences in every area of life. No longer are there only three major networks providing the gateway for television programming – and just take a look around at all those people staring at screens, everywhere. Retail stores and traditional media are struggling. For me, one of the most significant changes in this evolving digital world is the empowered customer – especially having lived when customers had little power.
Customer experience before digital is probably best defined in Henry Ford’s quote (1909!), “Any customer can have a car painted any color that he wants, so long as it is black”. Perhaps today he would say, “Any customer can have any car, in any color, anytime with free delivery for online orders”. The digital revolution has lowered the barricades, reducing costs, allowing more people, more voices, more diversity and introduced more competition, in conjunction with an explosion of devices, channels and choices.
This has certainly changed how companies treat customers. They really do want to earn my business, answering my questions with online chat, incentives and special offers for my business and they do it in a way so I’ll continue to do business with them. I get loyalty points and, gosh, they are always emailing and texting me. It’s like they really know me.
In one sense, the millennials have really missed out. Being always digital they can’t imagine a world without the internet, smartphones and constantly connected. They take the pace of change in stride, having never known a world where dinosaurs roamed, phones hung on a wall and the bank teller did your transactions, not cash machines. For them, the pace of change is a new iPhone model every year or so and they easily adapt to the Next New Thing. Obsolescence is expected as we strive to upgrade, update and be first on the block.
If you can remember television consoles with dials to change the channels and no remotes, you have experienced a tremendous velocity of change and innovation not seen before in human history. Back then it was different. Maybe it was a golden age because we were continually striving for bigger, better, faster and our interactions were more with people not screens. The changes accelerated, we expected it and adapted, learning and finding new ways. Knowing how things have changed, maybe we appreciate the tradeoffs. More convenience, more choice, more options and sometimes more simplicity.
The pace of change is not exhausted yet. Today’s digital marketing and customer experience continues to innovate, embracing the entire lifecycle from engagement and purchase to support and loyalty programs. People who experienced that golden age are now heading into their golden years. We understand the value of empowerment and owning our experiences. For all that, we’ve earned a lot of loyalty points.
To find out more about continuously connected digital experiences, download the white paper, Why You Should be Delivering a Continuous Connected Digital Experience, and learn how the OpenText™ Experience Suite can help you deliver a better customer journey.
Also check out other blogs in this series, starting with Customer Experience in Practice, Hello brand this is me!