The next wave of Customer Experience

Deon Thomas

Push the boundaries of customer experience using data

The ModelOps decision process
The next wave of customer experience alt

Customer experience is becoming a core discussion for more organisations and how customer and user experience is increasingly being defined in the digital realm. Whether in banking, travel, retail, government, applications or websites, rather than brick-and-mortar locations that serve as the primary point of contact between organisations and those they service.

This means for the modern enterprise, creating a quality digital experience cannot be an afterthought, it's crucial to successfully delivering products and services, maintaining client relationships and ultimately securing revenue streams and a competitive advantage.

Awareness of the influence and impact of customer experience is on the rise, one recent study by Gartner found that over 80% of marketing leaders expect that their organisations will soon be competing mostly or entirely on customer experience. Other research shows that a positive experience translates directly into revenue, PwC for example found that around three quarters of consumers globally cite it as an important factor in buying decisions and that it supports up to a 16% price premium on products and services.


Which approach should we follow in defining the customer experience?

We once sat in a design review session where the existing team provided feedback on the user experience design for a major bank in South Africa, the product team was asked by the CIO to justify their research findings as to why the website should not include the Call Me Back feature on certain or every page of the website.

The qualitative user research results clearly illustrated that the pop-up was annoying and customers were not using it. The quantitative view of putting this together was very difficult due to the legacy spread of the business systems and distributed nature of the data platforms.

The Call Me back feature generated 50 million rand in revenue for the bank. The CIO knew this, the product team did not. This is a key example of why data-driven research combined with user experience research is key as a cross functional approach but a balanced approach is required.


Why is a quantitative approach not sufficient?

Similarly, while data on customer trends and behaviours can play a powerful role in a more intelligent approach to development, enterprises cannot forget that data won't always tell the full story and needs to be supplemented with a degree of real-world analysis and experience to provoke the cognitive model of customers. Data can actually turn out to be an inhibitor because it tells you what, but it doesn't tell you why.

Teams that have analytics data or do A/B testing can say "lots of customers clicked this button" or "customers aren't using that feature", but in our experience what we often see is that the teams lack the mechanism on the qualitative side to actually follow up with customers and get richer feedback and the reason for this is that data about a product or service is frequently separated from the context of actual use. Here are a few key approaches we recommend:

  • Follow the behavioural needs of your customers:

    Visit key contact points where your customers engage eg. Visit a call centre to listen to the needs of customers.
  • Be deliberate about speaking to customers:

    When last have you visited customers in the store, airport or a restaurant? These habits will uncover surprising situations or needs that data, surveys or analytics don't show you.
  • Enrich your customer experience with insights about your customer:

    Data in itself is not sufficient to provide a view of the customer behavioural model. However, the use of data analytics and data is powerful in providing a next level customer experience.

Finding the correct balance between first-person interaction and data around how your customers are using your products helps you maintain and refresh your understanding of your customers, a good place to start is by defining a single view of your customers.

Our experience has shown that this usually elevates the legacy organisational challenges within the enterprise, once this is understood pick your slice to satisfy the need. Unlike smaller startups, the larger enterprises have deeply rooted organisational processes and structures that could prohibit their agility. This means that large enterprises are more inclined to become very disconnected from the actual customer.

Succeeding today is no longer just about who's able to build the technology or who's first to market. It's about who's got the best experience.


A phrase we often quote:

"First to market versus best to market"

This phrase is becoming the mantra of the day when it comes to customer experience. Providing true customer-centricity isn't just putting the customer at the centre when it pertains to your business and your domain and what makes up your traditional services, but being able to extend beyond that to service your customer is, for this you need a delivery model that combines strategy with execution without the nonsense.

What is required is a lean and lightweight delivery model which takes a top down approach and combines strategic thinking with delivery, this held together by a strong portfolio to help you deliver outcomes and not outputs. Businesses who strive for maximum market share will achieve success by following a cross functional loop (herein lies the competitive success) that combines Agile, Lean Thinking, Design Thinking and Systems Thinking. If you enjoyed this read, please follow us on our social media channels.

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