The Future of the Connected Customer

The Future of the Connected Customer

Early one Monday morning, in the not too distant future, one of your customers (let’s call her Alice), wakes up and as she has for years, reaches for her phone. What happens next marks a profound change in the way she interacts with your brand forever more.

Alice has just purchased a new phone which contains the next generation of digital assistants. This digital assistant (DA) has access to every piece of data that Alice generates. It knows who she has met, what she has bought, what she searches for, who she is connected to, where she goes and what she does. It can do this because she has given it permission to access all of her data including her financial information, her social networks, and loyalty programmes.

Alice’s DA asks one question: “What do you want to do?” – Today, tomorrow, next week or for the rest of your life. Everyday Alice tells her DA what she wants to do and the artificial intelligence (AI) behind the scenes looks at all of her information to help achieve her desired goal.

On this morning, Alice’s DA greets her with a message through an app that says: “Good morning Alice, what do you want to do?” After thinking for a couple of seconds Alice responds with “I’ve been at the office a lot recently and let my fitness slip. I’d love to get outside and do some exercise this weekend.” She continues: “Also, last night I was sitting up in bed looking at Facebook and saw a few of my school friends that I’d like to connect with – but I don’t know how to start the conversation so if you’ve got any suggestions let me know.”

The DA responds with “Alice, I notice that last summer you played tennis. Would you like to play again this weekend?” “That would be great!” Alice responds. The DA then continues with: “That’s great because three of the friends you were viewing on Facebook last night play tennis. Should I see if one of them wants to play with you this weekend?”

Alice is delighted with that suggestion so the DA sends out a message to all three of those friends. One of them signals that he’d like to play tennis with her, so the DA finds a tennis court between their houses, books the court for 9am Saturday, and puts the event in each of their calendars.

But that is not the end of the journey. Alice had previously interacted with Nike. This allows Nike to send a message to her DA asking if she’d like a virtual tennis lesson from Roger Federer through her Xbox.

Every night after work leading up to the event Alice has a virtual tennis lesson from Roger Federer. Together they work on her forehand and her serve. After her lesson on Friday night, virtual Roger says “Well done Alice. You have improved a lot this week. I think this tennis racquet would be perfect for you. Pick a colour and we’ll have it 3D printed and waiting for you at the court tomorrow morning.”

And this conversation is happening across multiple devices and touch-points. Think of the DA as a chatbot that is everywhere.

This is simply a story of a possible future. Facebook, Google, Apple, Microsoft and Amazon all have Artificial Powered DAs that are evolving quickly. It’s only a matter of time before this is a reality.

According to Salesforces’ State of the Connected Customer Report, 58 per cent of consumers agree that technology has significantly changed their expectations of how companies should interact with them.

So if this is the world that your customers will soon be expecting what do you do about it?

From a leadership perspective it’s vital to start asking your organisation the question: “how can we use emerging technologies like AI to deliver value to our customers and strengthen our brand?”

In our experience at W3.Digital, here’s how.

Collect and manage your customer data to build a rich profile of each and every customer

Most customers understand that personalised journeys are created by brands that collect and integrate data. The Connected Customer report found 57 per cent of consumers agree they’re willing to share data with companies that send personalised offers and discounts.

Keep your organisation focused on customer journeys and experiences

Connected customers expect consistent and intelligent experiences across every interaction or communication channel — and a large part of that is being recognised and remembered. 75 per cent of customers surveyed agreed that they expect companies to provide a consistent experience, whether it is online, social, mobile or in person.

Embrace and experiment with technologies like AI to build your ‘Digital Differentiator’

In the age of the customer, technology fundamentally changes the way they interact with companies. Connected customers want to be heard, understood, remembered, and respected. Ultimately, they want to be treated like people — and intelligent application of customer data can help companies deliver experiences with a human touch, at scale.

As both technology and personal connections with brands become more important, customer journeys will continue to be more sophisticated.

High-performing marketing teams need to create tailored, dynamic customer journeys. This starts with personalised and curated emails, social media interactions, landing pages, product suggestions, and in the near future, will be able about creating their very own Digital Assistants.

A smarter, more intelligent world is very rapidly evolving. The only question is; are you ready to make the most of it?

Let’s get started!

For more information on what a more connected customer looks like and how you can meet their expectations right now, check out Salesforce’s “State of the Connected Customer” report.

Produced in collaboration with Salesforce.

Photo by rawpixel.com on Unsplash.

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