CX debates – Shifting to service business models, data, personalisation and the human touch

CXB HUB are strategic consultants specialising in International Customer Experience working in partnership with Plug & Play CX Technologies and Solutions. We facilitate networking and discussion about Customer Experience. Our networking lunch recently had some great perspectives worth sharing.

In the room, we established that most of the attendees had a big data problem. Whether it was finding technology that could help them make sense of all the incoming data, to find visualising or receiving alerts in real-time as events occur, to closing the loop when you have a big call centre. In the case of B2B, who are your clients, are they your end users, the clients of your clients? There is difficulty in knowing when and how to intervene during the customer journey, this data model was considered helpful – Data -> Information -> Knowledge -> Wisdom.

On the topic of who are your customers, it was felt that most people understood and engaged with the progress being made away from a demographic, and towards a customer intention. If it was not the customer’s intention to buy at that moment, does that mean the business under delivered if they didn’t buy? Not if there was never an intended transaction in the first place. This is an area that Home Depot in the US is winning at, they can tell intention from 2-3 clicks on the website, so when the customer needs help, understanding their context will mean you can stream line their experience.

From a manufacturer’s perspective they have interesting challenges. To be predicting their industry and the products they make means looking 20-30 years into the future. They don’t consider their competitors as other manufacturers of similar products, but more competing with how people want to spend their time and money, and whether being an experience or entertainment is how they need to shape their customer interactions.

The subject of the renaissance of the cinema came up as an example of increasing cinema going numbers because the cinema has been made into an experience, the destination where people have an evening out, and a viewing experience you can’t create at home.

Another example raise was Alibaba, all about entertainment, whether it is the experience, product or action of ordering.

The law firm in the room pushed back that not every industry needs to be entertaining, but what is important is mobile, instant engagement, wherever your customer is, whatever they are doing, it is all about ‘now’.

The B2B technologist commented on entertainment for their product, shouldn’t it ‘just work’, it is good customer experience when no-one is aware of it, it is invisible. Employees building tech are thinking UX, but not necessarily customer experience, which ought to just happen automatically without the customer thinking about it. 

Companies in the room considered the shift from product to service or service delivery, and naturally moving your tech into the cloud changes you into a service model. We can learn from Facebook, Amazon etc., Amazon Web Services being the lesser known but most profitable part of Amazon.

Our speaker from Ocado Solutions, started on their journey from grocer to service delivery partner when they offered their ecommerce platform and warehousing capabilities to Morrison’s who hadn’t yet created their own. Prior to this, the way to grow would be to Ocado as a new grocer into more markets. By alternatively supporting other, existing grocers, their clever tech is in demand. 

They’ve invented a warehousing system where groceries are presented to the pickers in one spot, rather than the pickers walking many miles a day. Their average picked grocery basket used to take a picker 1hr and 15mins, with technology that has been reduced to just 15 mins. Very interesting shift where in building technology to support your core business, providing you hold the IP, your business can become a technology service for others.

All the talk of technology, moved the room to talk about the importance of the human touch. CXB’s Alexis spoke about a multi-national retailer, who have developed a programme to reposition the Human Touch at the core of the Customer Experience relationship. Its main goal is to transmit the passion for retail to all their employees and re-affirm the company as a trusted, different, and simply the best retailer. They are looking for more authenticity, enthusiasm and attention for its clients to feel the Touch.

A point was raised, that they thought it was more about personalisation than human touch, and what personalisation is changing, how it will look in 5 years’ time will be very different to how it is today, and we need to keep sight of the future, to remember that what is currently innovative, will very quickly be obsolete.

On the topic of personalisation, fashion retailers are turning towards algorithms to replace stylists and seeing sales uplift as a reward. We think of tech as the interface, but whether the customer sees it or not, there will be tech enabling the experience.

After 2 hours of hot debate, the lunch was too quickly finished and we were all back to our day-to-day with rather diverse takeaways from new suppliers to new thoughts about a strategic approach. We are delighted to meet, work with, or simply lunch with like-minded CX leaders for our debates. 

If this has sparked any thoughts or questions, please comment, or get in touch directly,

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