The Experience Economy Designing an Experience for the Connected Consumer

Alok Ranjan, Lead - Digital & Content Marketing, Tata Communications Transformation Services (TCTS)Headquartered in Mumbai, Tata Communications (NSE: TATACOMM) is a global leader in offering a broad spectrum of telecom solutions & services in the areas of Ethernet, SD-WAN, Content delivery network (CDN), Internet, Multiprotocol Label Switching (MPLS) and Private Line.

I am intrigued by Instagram, Snapchat and other social media platforms that are helping connected consumers to be at the pivot of an experience. These social applications not only allow us to capture a moment, but live an experience that is shareable, clickable and like able!

Technology disruption has empowered human beings with our lives being aided by virtual assistants (Siri, Alexa, and Cortana) that recognises our voice, performs natural language processing and utilises cloud-based intelligence to recreate an experience that was beyond comprehension, a few years ago. Each day, numerous enterprises attempt to create such microseconds experience to gain a pie of consumer mindshare and enable them in their micro decisions along the purchase journey. With technology democratisation and the shift of power into the hands of consumers, an experience is all it takes to seize the moment. Welcome to the experience economy!

According to a study by Bain & Company, 80 percent of the chief executives surveyed believe that they are doing enough to create an awesome experience for their customers, however, only eight percent of their customers agree that they had an awesome experience. That’s worrying! This significant gap is possibly attributed to the failure of enterprises to derive insights from available voluminous data (big and small), inefficiency to encash digital business models and ignorance to consumer activities across social platforms. It is now imperative for enterprises to create an Omnichannel experience that permeates across customers, products, employees, and brand. This, however, is not restricted to consumer centric businesses (B2C) but equally applicable to enterprise centric ones (B2B). In order to orchestrate a remarkable
experience, it is important that enterprises saves and seizes the attention of their consumers, given the purchase journey have shortened and pain points addressed. While most enterprises have already risen to the occasion to create an awesome experience by embedding customer insights into all critical decisions and listening to their customers, we still witness a number of customer experience programs fail. This is primarily are due to the inflexible frameworks conceptualised, within the corporate corridors, that do not adapt or innovate as the program progresses. Being too much metrics driven rather than being outcome focused leading to poor delivery of customer experiences is possibly another reason for failure. To prepare better for future, it is important to discuss what the customer experience of the future will look like.

The future of customer experience lies in an effective management of frameworks and technologies coupled with both incremental and disruptive innovation followed by sound execution

The future began yesterday! With technology enabling humanisation of experiences, enterprises need to surprise their customers besides being empathetic. However, respecting their privacy is of utmost importance. This is easier said than done. Today, new age technologies like Artificial Intelligence (AI) and predictive analytics present fresh opportunities for enterprises to create intimate experiences by gathering digital footprints of their customers and developing an emotional connect when serving them. Further, Virtual Reality(VR) and Augmented Reality(AR)can humanise experiences by empowering customer to make informed decisions. Forrester’s 2017 Prediction Report notes that customer experiences will have a correlation to enterprise revenue in the future.

The future of customer experience lies in an effective management of frame works and technologies coupled with both incremental and disruptive innovation followed by sound execution. While enterprises have already started embedding customer insights into critical decision making, it is important that it permeates at all levels within the corporate. The metrics should form the basis of fixing customer's pain points. Orchestrating target memories by using a customer service framework and mapping their journey will up the ante in identifying experiences that matter. Design thinking can facilitate in reinventing and rebuilding awe moments leveraging technology to reduce resistance and deliver an incredible customer experience. Another aspect that needs to be considered when working to create a great experience is being involved with the customer in developing an emotional connect.

While it is important to be ethical and transparent when approaching customers, enterprises will have to evolve with new age technologies and their impact across business processes and customers. The demands of the connected customers are ephemeral and it is important to continuously innovate and adapt to be at the right place at right time to create an impressive experience that is everlasting. Delivering an effective and effortless experience will help enterprises create a positive connect with customers that can survive any disruption to the consumer-enterprise relationship.