Bringing Customers to the Center Requires Technology Foresight

In Technology by Daniel Newman2 Comments

We live in a world where there’s so much discussion going on about “customer centricity.” Brands are rethinking their strategies to become more customer-centric. While business is always about customers, putting them at the core of your digital strategy is now front and center.

Empowered by Tech

Due to endless access to the Internet, social, and mobile, today’s customers are more empowered than ever. They have more options to choose from and they are making their own decisions. In-your-face marketing messages or the lures of shiny promos no longer hold sway. They are increasingly looking for substance over hollow trappings. Therefore, companies need to become truly customer centric.

Technology Conscious = Customer Conscious

What is the biggest change to the customer service space over the past few years? “Omnichannel approach,” “increasing customer expectations,” “customer advocacy” are all applicable answers. Whatever the name, you’ll find technology in it, which is not surprising given that today’s customers are an increasingly tech savvy breed. From learning about a product to buying it, customers are interacting through various digital means as top preference.

However, data shows not all brands have their fingers on the pulse. An Accenture study reveals that more than 70 percent of buyers would like to purchase via smartphones yet less than 10 percent retailers have mobile wallet capabilities.

Behavior, Insights, and Patterns, oh my!

There is a monumental shift happening in the way customers find, consume, and act with new information. With technology at their disposal, customers want to interact through their preferred digital technology—whether smartphone, tablet, or laptop— quickly and accurately. To truly become customer-centric, companies need to think about how customers behave. They must focus on what their customers really need instead of what they think they need. Strong data analytics help brands get better insights into their customers’ minds. Riding on big data’s predictive capabilities, brands prepare themselves for future customer behaviors and build effective strategies around them.

Technology as Solutions

Besides using their tech smarts, it’s equally important for brands to identify and understand how customers are using technology to solve problems. For instance, customers want to consume information as quickly as possible so that they can continue on with their busy, day-to-day lives. They expect self-service opportunities accessible from anywhere, anytime. They want to solve their problems and avoid excessive waiting times in phone queues with customer service. Therefore, having a quick and easy-to-navigate self-service platform is a huge plus.

Multichannel Connections

Additionally, brands should offer all the possible contact channels. Automating customer interactions helps decide the best way to communicate with a particular client. Use technology like SaaS, mobile, Cloud, analytics, and employee advocacy tools to make sure that customers have real time opportunities to connect with them. This requires forward-thinking in terms of technology and vision. It also needs a willingness to allow employees to manage customer relationships and create better customer experiences.

In today’s tech-driven world, you simply can’t put your customer in the center without bringing in technology expertise. How else can you see what lies ahead of the curve?

This article was originally seen on Ricoh Blog.

Photo Credit: Native Look via Compfight cc

Daniel Newman is the Principal Analyst of Futurum Research and the CEO of Broadsuite Media Group. Living his life at the intersection of people and technology, Daniel works with the world’s largest technology brands exploring Digital Transformation and how it is influencing the enterprise. From Big Data to IoT to Cloud Computing, Newman makes the connections between business, people and tech that are required for companies to benefit most from their technology projects, which leads to his ideas regularly being cited in CIO.Com, CIO Review and hundreds of other sites across the world. A 5x Best Selling Author including his most recent “Building Dragons: Digital Transformation in the Experience Economy,” Daniel is also a Forbes, Entrepreneur and Huffington Post Contributor. MBA and Graduate Adjunct Professor, Daniel Newman is a Chicago Native and his speaking takes him around the world each year as he shares his vision of the role technology will play in our future.