The ancient Greek philosopher Heraclitus once said, “the only constant in life is change.” More than two millennia later, nothing could be truer for the world we live in.
The distinct feature of today’s change is the rapid speed and acceleration of change enabled by notable inventions – such as handheld mobile phones in 1973 and the internet in 1989. These have engaged more than 66 per cent and 59 per cent of the world’s population through voice and digital platforms – that’s more than five billion people connected globally. This has triggered a significantly different order in human history – one of hyper-connectivity.
These modern devices can read us the news in the morning, summon a car to our front door in minutes, and are a faithful companion for our daily loo breaks. That phone isn’t going to scroll itself.
Today, 2.74 billion people use Facebook to socialise – 33 per cent of the world’s population. More than two billion people use WhatsApp to communicate, and a further two billion watch YouTube on a regular basis.
This has only increased since Covid-19. While fewer Ubers were summoned, we began depending on digital platforms to maximise our time and resources. Both businesses and people unlocked their screens to enter a remote world of learning, work, exercise, socialising, healing, shopping and gaming – all day, every day.
While digital helped adapt operating and business models to secure business continuity, organisations were always one step behind. As consumers spent an increasing amount of time online, the way they engaged with businesses changed. Chatbot engagement increased as telephone helplines decreased, the use of self-service applications grew and brand loyalty changed hands if demand couldn’t be met after the sympathy window closed.
This saw a huge investment in optimising and digitalising marketing, sales and customer service experiences. In fact, according to Deloitte, “34 per cent of banks implemented fully digital processes (products opening etc) during Covid-19.”
But what happens now? We’re already seeing business leaders start to tackle the unavoidable looming question: how are we going to resume business operations and effectively engage our employees and customers in the post-pandemic world?
On the employee front, there are signs that some of the changes necessitated by Covid-19 may continue to serve businesses and their stakeholders well. For instance, work from home practices could help businesses operate efficiently, save considerable real estate costs and benefit from a flexible and agile workforce. On the other side of the coin, employees may continue to enjoy flexibility, spend more time with their families and save on travel costs.
According to a recent Gartner HR survey, “41 per cent of employees are likely to work remotely at least some of the time post coronavirus pandemic.” However, this model doesn’t suit all industries – retail, hospitality, health and travel to name a few.
Another noticeable development that the pandemic has facilitated, and which is likely to stick, is the blurring of behavioural boundaries of the typical digital customer generations – X, Y, and Z. According to Sprout Social, 72.8 per cent of Facebook users are between 18 to 44; similarly, wearesocial reported that more than 67 per cent of users who play video games on any device are between 55 and 64. Essentially, it is no longer justified to associate digital consumption with a specific generation.
Digital has gone mainstream and morphed the behaviours of varying digital generations into an omni-customer. Despite the Covid recovery challenges faced by businesses, this new class of omni-customer will expect emotionally engaging, consistent, proactive and personalised service experiences both via digital and non-digital channels and touchpoints.
Fortunately, it’s not all doom and gloom. To thrive and not just survive in this new world of unforgiving customer expectations, organisations will need to rethink their business and/or operating models and reinvent their customer experience (CX) value chain so they can deliver an unbeatable omni-CX.
Delivery of omni-CX is not about establishing or extending your online and offline footprint. Nor is it about introducing channels of choice or digitising your business. Development and delivery of an omni-CX requires a mindset change – it is about developing a customer-obsessed business where customer intimacy drives your people, process, technology and investment decisions. It is about transforming your business from an omni-customer’s perspective.
Instead of thinking about channels and touchpoints, processes and technologies, customer segments or markets, develop a considered set of sense and respond capabilities and competencies. Drop these into an operating model that enables your business to know your customers better than they know themselves, and deliver to them marketing, sales, and services experiences that are predictive, proactive and personalised on a consistent basis.
Businesses that will lead the omni-CX competency race will operate with open and agile processes and technologies, enabling their businesses to pre-empt and respond to the emerging threats and opportunities in a concise and assertive manner. Omni-CX businesses will be ruthless in reinventing themselves and the ecosystems they operate within – forming partnerships with organisations that live and breathe in the same digital-first, CX-obsessed agenda.
As Ghandi said, “be the change you wish to see in the world.”
If you’re ready to lead your business into the post-pandemic world, ECS, a GlobalLogic company, is in the business of enabling its customers to deliver leading-edge Omni-CX. Email email@example.com or visit ecs.co.uk to get started.