Over the next few weeks, I look forward to sharing with you – in a five-part series – our point of view on the future of customer experience. Let’s get started. There is a lot to talk about.
When we raise our eyes to the CX horizon, what do we see?
It’s clear the future of CX is exciting. It’s a place where customers act and react in a blink of an eye. They expect to be part of immersive, digitally native, physically enhanced shared moments; they expect to be remembered, valued, and rewarded for length and steadiness of their on-going relationship with your business. Being a customer now has never been more empowering – or more frustrating. Being a CX professional now – business, or technical – has never been more exciting – or more difficult.
Some very clear expectations and pressures have changed how customers engage, how businesses deliver value, and how enterprise IT teams deliver on CX innovation. That future is certainly promising – and much closer than many may realize.
Let’s take a look.
We, customers, have perpetually evolving expectations.
We all communicate differently. Not just in real-life, also in real-work. As consumers we have long used asynchronous channels socially. As customers we will pay more just for a unified experience anywhere, anytime, all-the-time. And small, continuous gestures mean a lot to our experience of a brand– like the best forward-thinking brands that thank frequent customers with small gifts like extra points or a recognition of loyalty for a long trip or big purchase. Every little engagement matters. They all add up. And accustomed to the convenience of always-on experiences that ‘just work’ across all channels in private life, business professionals now expect the same convenience when engaging with brands whether at work or at play.
We are embracing outcomes over ownership. Subscriptions help us spread costs and payments over time rather than pay upfront, with more predictable finances. Every business today – from retail and consumers goods, to industrial manufacturers – is changing how they offer new digital experiences for existing products and services. The success of the sharing economy and the ‘-as a Service’ of manufactured goods has changed expectations for how we consume at home and at work: Tacos (“Taco Bell brings back the $10 Taco Subscription”) to how builders pay for the use of heavy machinery like pay-by-the-use construction cranes. Subscription-based products and services offer countless advantages with mutual benefits for both the customer and the business. For customers, subscription business models grant the right to access products, services, or experiences in a recurring fashion and meet our desire to become asset-light. For businesses, subscription models provide new opportunities for upselling and cross-selling to increase share of wallet within the existing customer base.
We expect privacy. We certainly will pay more – engage more – with personalized, convenient experiences and services. But there is an important caveat. We expect the utmost discretion for the privilege of accessing any part of our digital identity. When used for good, sharing our data can earn us quick compensation for a flight delay, or empathetic outreach from an insurance company when we are having trouble resolving a problem. When our data is not shielded, businesses risk losing customer trust forever.
And we’re not making it easy on businesses. Because it’s not enough to just use our data for customer analysis or targeting. Today we expect brands to proactively lead us along the best journey for me (me, me, me, me). Recommendations, next best offers, next best purchases, and any other predictive engagements must directly benefit me like as if I were your only and most important customer. Use my data to personalize the experience – but also preempt problems or add value throughout my journey.
We – as customers – are clearly forcing a lot of change and raising the bar every day with what we expect from customer experience delivery. The bar for businesses has never been higher. And so, in my second blog in this series, I look forward to sharing with you, my thoughts on the way businesses need to deliver value and constant customer experience innovation.
I look forward to chatting again soon.
Rob Tarkoff joined Oracle in 2018 to lead Oracle Customer Experience (CX) Cloud product and strategy across marketing, sales, commerce, and service. His goal is to build products that help companies succeed in the Experience Economy.
Tarkoff spent the last 15 years focused on the customer experience, developing products for both large and early-stage companies. Most recently, as president and CEO of Lithium Technologies, he created the leading software in online communities. Prior to that, Tarkoff ran the Digital Enterprise business for Adobe.
Tarkoff holds a BA in political economy from Amherst College and a JD from Harvard Law School.