It’s not a news anymore that people today choose and buy experiences, not products or services, and the advancements in technology increase both customer expectations and space for businesses to wow them. The potential of wowness (what a word, huh? Does it even exist? Well it does now ?) is like rivers in Spain: it suddenly bursts its banks after some generous precipitations in form of new disruptive technology, and then quite quickly dries out when the technology becomes a new normal.
Companies must have their eyes open to catch this wave, and jump on top of it just in time to leverage the disruption and get their brands associated to it while it’s still cutting edge and cool.
So, what are these upcoming “precipitations” that can bring new waters of wowness potential to businesses? Altitude recently sponsored a research study that surveyed 3000 consumers in Europe and Latin America. Its results illustrate the huge challenge now facing the companies that need to communicate and build a relationship with consumers. Over 80% of those surveyed considers intolerable that a response to an email, comment or post will take more than a day, 50% claims that they share on social media any bad service experience and 62% says that negative comments on a brand are enough for them to reassess purchasing decisions.
If customer experience is already personalized and omnichannel, if the immediate response to a customer request is already a must, and even conversational shopping is not really a news for a big population of customers these days, what should businesses work on to keep their potential to wow their customers?
Let me think… Chatbots! Oh, no, chatbots are already here, becoming the new normal… I know, it’s talking chatbots! Although… hmm, not really a wow either, not anymore. But hey, here’s a question: what about voice? On one side, voice as we knew it in Customer Management industry for many years – telephony – is plummeting (more and more people prefer digital channels to a phone, it’s a fact). But I see a big space for voice out there. I see everyone using voice instead of typing. Everywhere. Websites. Apps. All devices and appliances. It doesn’t look futuristic anymore. It looks like tomorrow’s reality.
Another renovation needs to happen in the analytics space. Businesses already have a lot of data about customer and effectively analyze this data to design personalized experiences to customers. But as the customers became omnichannel and expect businesses to provide this seamless personalization regardless of how many channels they use sometimes even simultaneously. Text and speech analytics is the area that many companies are focusing on today, and it needs to improve a lot. But even this is not enough. Yeah, customers are that demanding these days, what can we do about it? They expect businesses to understand in real time their feelings, their state of mind, their mood at each moment. And you know what? Here businesses agree with their customers, and they also want to catch and even predict these volatile and hard to interpret sentiments of the customers. I´m sure someone is working right now on that perfect piece of software that will perfectly recognize what someone meant with each specific set of smileys and emojis.
So, voice, analytics, sentiments and emojis. Do you have a feeling like we are missing something important in this list? I do. Video! Everyone watches more video today, and not a TV video, but on demand video. Watching a video is easier than reading, and interacting through video, though for some people may still be a bit intimidating, but in many occasions, is more effective. In customer management and interactions, video camera support, in combination with messaging or voice support – all easily available with a smartphone, can accelerate time-to-resolution while boosting customer satisfaction.
And after a deep immersion in analysis of different data protection regulations around the world, I can easily see that trading personal data can become very soon an additional source of each household income. Today customers are already using their data as a currency for different benefits – content and information, access to events etc. Businesses should be ready to use this willingness to trade it in a wise manner. Who knows, maybe it will even become a new industry?