The galileo moment

Think of a brand, an organisation, commercial or private. Then think of the customers who collectively form the value pool – growth and profit – for these businesses.

We visualise the multiplicity of customer journeys and the infrastructure needed to support these, and facilitate customer’s desired outcomes as a symbiotic relationship between consumer and corporation, individual and entity.

And yet, rather than that traditional model of customers orbiting a business, moving in and out of its sphere of influence, there is a “Galileo moment” coming when it will be recognised that the reverse is true. It is the customer who remains fixed in space and time, and it is companies that move in and out of the value orbit of the consumer.

This disruptive aspect to the life of an empowered, mobile and increasingly vocal customer base demands that today’s chief executive and board of directors consider the experience of customers at every touchpoint to gain insight that turns loyal customers in an increasingly virtual world into advocates, while reacting quickly to new channel evolutions to retain market share, and discover and nurture new sources of revenue.

In our recent annual World Wide Customer Experience Survey[1] , we asked 69,000 participants in eight countries to rate their most recent customer service experience. The result showed an average of only 44.5 per cent were satisfied or very satisfied with their experience. At the same time, the survey also revealed the percentage of happy and loyal customers exponentially increases after a positive experience, indicating on average a 33 percentage points improvement was possible in the overall perception of a brand.

Customer experience is fundamental to the future of consumer-corporate models

Because customers now decide how they want to interact with a company and not the other way around, they expect to have access to information at any time. 4G-enabled mobile smart devices have changed everything. We are “instant gratification junkies”, says Anthony Macciola, chief technology officer of software business KOFAX[2] . “We want complaints and issues addressed immediately.”

Our survey showed clearly that Gen X and Gen Y, born after 1965, are leading the adoption of online and social media channels through smart-device use, integrating them not only into their daily interactions with brands and businesses, but also into their life expectations, including those underpinning customer experience.

Technology is essentially changing expectations, not merely facilitating them. Forrester analyst Thomas Husson says: “Customers have experienced a mind shift. Technologies packed into mobile devices enable people not only to instantly consume, but also create and maintain control in their everyday lives.”[3]

This perpetuates a challenge for the near-future highlighted by the International Customer Management Institute in a survey of contact centre professionals. This identified that, while 68 per cent of companies think offering mobile customer service improves the customer experience, only 25 per cent have a mobile customer contact strategy in place.

Forrester surveyed customers as part of its study of Customer Experience (Forrester’s CXi).[4] The results show how much customers value an exceptional customer experience and how their future behaviour is likely to be impacted by their perception of a company’s ability to provide a better overall customer experience compared to industry peers.

As Matt Sims, executive vice president business development Teleperformance UK and South Africa, explains: “Customer experience is fundamental to the future of consumer-corporate models. Today we support 50 per cent of Interbrand’s Best Global Brands 2014[5] . These are businesses that have put in place strategies including outsourcing in its various models that help ensure they are prepared for the future and the many potential benefits an ‘always on’ connected customer landscape will bring.”

In a world of big data and endless touchpoints, all customers truly want is an experience with a brand or organisation that says “we know who you are…” to which the customer can respond “… and I believe you”. This is the Galileo moment.

1 World Wide Multichannel CX Survey 

2,3 Smarter CX for Smart Device Users 

4 The Business Impact of Customer Experience