The value of Customer Experience Networks

There is an interesting concept emerging on the market, named “Customer Experience Networks“.

This terminology is made of two parts that everyone understands – “Customer Experience” and “Network”. But what does the whole expression mean? Let’s spend a few minutes discussing the concept …

The backdrop is we leave in a world where digital technology has revolutionized the way we communicate, consume and buy. The interactions through mobile devices and other connected devices have been booming and this is not about to stop. Digital interactions have become the new norm and force now companies to differentiate by providing a unique experience to grow customer retention and wallet share.

But customer experience becomes rapidly poor if companies just limit their offering to their core services. There is a need to onboard partners into the experience to create additional value to the customers. A Customer Experience Network consists in creating more value and better experience to the customers by delivering new services made possible thanks to flexible and dynamic interactions with a large panel of business partners.

 

What does it imply to create a strong digital customer experience?

  1. Delivering mobile apps with a powerful User Interface (both nice, intuitive and consistent) and strong performance (no data latency and high availability).
  2. Regularly enriching the app with new services to capture new business moments and increase the wallet share.
  3. Collecting and analyzing customer data to adapt dynamically to their needs.
  4. Leveraging mobile messaging capabilities to keep customer attention and create stronger engagement.

Which tools are required by IT ?

  1. A mobile application development framework that accelerates the plumbing part and helps focus on the quality of the User Interface rather than the technical aspects.
  2. A strong API Management layer that allows to create new backend APIs easily and manage the different lifecycle stages of the APIs, while enforcing a strong security level.
  3. Cutting-edge analytics technology to measure the performance of the app and the backend systems but also the behavior of the app users.
  4. A solid MBaaS module that accelerates mobile backend development and offers push notification capabilities.
  5. An API-based integration platform that allows to connect efficiently to internal services but also with external partners to create additional services.
  6. Big data technology to harness the large volume of data coming from all digital interactions and customize the delivered experience

What challenges do IT face to deliver those Customer Experience Networks?

IT are under ever increasing pressure from the business while their resources remain limited. Building a Customer Experience Network is not a short term project but a journey IT organizations need to go along. This journey is paved with different important milestones that can be grouped into 3 categories:

  1. Adapt: engage discussions – internally and with partners – on customer experience networks and the business moments you want to capture and start adapting your organization to take this journey.
  2. Engage: focus on major interactions with key partners and start embedding a differentiating service within your app. Leverage this opportunity to keep adapting your organization and grow your learning curve.
  3. Scale: leverage your success and extend to new initiatives.

Exposing legacy services to digital channels and addressing the omnichannel experience are key topics but visionary IT and business Executives will go further down the road and explore new opportunities by investing in a new generation of integration platform enabling Customer Experience Networks.

 

What is a Business Moment and why you should care?

As companies start gaining stronger maturity in their digital transformation strategy, I think it’s time to think forward to what Gartner calls a “Business Moment”.

A Business Moment is a “transient opportunity, exploited dynamically”.

A transient opportunity means that this is only for a limited period of time. Consider for example a passenger stepping off the plane at the airport. This is transient opportunity as he will leave the airport shortly. There are a lot of uncovered opportunities there :

  • a taxi company can ping the passenger to offer a ride with a premium service or a coupon
  • a bank can inform the passenger on their closest ATM nearby
  • a food chain can offer a special welcome menu

Life period of a Business Moment

We can see that this Situational Awareness offers many great opportunities that need to be seized in a very short time period. Picture below shows how the value of a Business Moment diminishes over time. We can see that the Business Moment is worth nothing after a short time. If we take our previous example, there is no more value in the mentioned services once the person leaves the airport.

The 3 actors of a Business Moment

To participate to a Business Moment, companies need to think how they can exploit the connection of people, business and things in order to innovate for entirely new scenarios.

  • People: What are the scenarios which consumers or employees are involved in?
  • Business: What businesses – both the company and external business – are involved and how are they enabled with technology?
  • Things: Which technology can be leveraged to to generate the data needed to capture the Business Moment and provide a contextualized response?

How to exploit a Business Moment?

Exploiting these Business Moments requires first that you know about the context: how do I identify and reach out to travelers arriving at the airport?

There are in my opinion two ways of doing it:

  • either you have a partnership with the telecom provider and push a message once the person has just been roaming and is now localized as new in the area.
  • or you partner with a mobile app provider whose app is massively used by travelers – such as Uber – and own the customer relationship.

In both cases, your system will receive a notification and you will be able to process it in your system to correlate it with information in your CRM in order to issue the right offer.

As opposed to many, I believe companies don’t need complex event processing technologies to seize opportunities of business moments. Complex technology consisting in collecting tons of events will be owned in the future by just a very few, the ones owning the customer relationship when the Business Moment occurs.

The magic of the Business Moments is that no one can claim owning the customer relationship permanently. Once the traveler arrives at his hotel, the hotel will start owning the customer relationship thanks to the interactive TV in the room and the complimentary Wifi network. And once he will arrive at the office, his business calendar provider could own it in turn …

There are plenty of opportunities just there waiting, it’s just up to up to seize them first.