Darren Abbruzzese, General Manager, Technology Data, ANZ Bank
To successfully compete and grow in a digital world, corporate business models are fundamentally changing and evolving, and they are doing so almost as quickly as the underlying digital technologies. Rapid shifts to mobile, rich content, social media and, critically, ecosystem platforms that intermediate the buyer/seller relationship have empowered consumers with significantly more knowledge and price transparency than they had in the past, giving them substantial power in the buying experience. The ability for organisations to provide a differentiated offering through traditional means and stand apart from competitors has been permanently altered. While organisations can innovate on product features that may, for a brief period of time, provide a point of difference, new features are often quickly copied by competitors reaffirming a level playing field, albeit now with greater internal complexity to manage. To stand out and succeed in the digital age organisations need to focus on delivering an intuitive, personalised and seamless customer experience that drives stickiness, loyalty and long-term relationships. By leveraging data analytics, organisations can develop highly-engaging customer experiences as a key way to build a growing and sustainable market share, while avoiding a margin-destroying race to the bottom on price.
“To standout and succeed in the digital age organisations need to focus on delivering an intuitive, personalised and seamless customer experience that drives stickiness, loyalty and long-term relationships.”
Native digital disrupters and ecosystem drivers such as Amazon, Apple, Google, AirBnBand, and Uber implicitly understand the value of data analytics and employ these to enrich and further their customer experience proposition. Examples of this are well known, such as Amazon suggesting items you may like based on your purchase and those of previous customers, or Uber’s aggregation of customer demand, traffic conditions and expected travel times to implement ‘surge pricing’ attracting more drivers into the system during busy periods. What’s common is that these digital leaders treat data as a strategic asset, valuing and leveraging it to the fullest extent possible to drive a leading user experience that integrates their product seamlessly into their customers’ lives. In doing so, they set a new minimum level of experience that customers just expect and for others to match.
The use of data to deliver a personalised experience isn’t a concept limited to digital natives; pre-digital organisations can also use similar approaches using the unique data they possess. Southwest Airlines runs speech analytics over their service centre calls to extract deeper and more meaningful understanding about what their customers need. A major Australian Telco analyses searches on their website and sends signals into their call centre router directing customers at risk of churn to crack sales staff. Opower, a US-based utility company, uses big data to analyse fine-grained customer consumption from smart meters and feeds this back to customers with value-added insights, allowing them to monitor and change their habits to be more energy efficient.
Most companies these days, digital natives and otherwise, will already be capturing the data they need to develop truly engaging customer experiences. Customer static data, transaction data, website access logs and search strings, product financials and usage patterns are easily sourced from frontline systems. Further, the technology to bring this data together, model and analyse it for valuable experience-creating opportunities already exists and is readily available in an ever-expanding and maturing array of open source, proprietary and cloud-based solutions. What is required is a top-down led desire for an enduring customer relationship, one than transcends organisational silos, where raw data assets from across the company are brought together to create a defining customer experience proposition.