I have written extensively in 2015 about innovation and disruption in the customer experience. The companies disrupting their marketplace are making large jumps in how their service is offered to customers – compare Uber to flagging down a traditional taxi in the street.
There is a distinct difference between market disruptors and innovators and I think that this distinction is often blurred, in particular when talking about companies that are changing the customer experience. The disruptors are changing the market in which they operate in a new way that marks a distinct change from how it previously operated.
BlablaCar has revolutionised ridesharing, especially for long distance journeys. Uber has reshaped how customers expect to find a taxi. Airbnb has entirely reshaped the accommodation industry to the extent that many traditional hotels are now listing their rooms on Airbnb so their rooms can compete more directly with the Airbnb listings. All these companies have found a way that directly connects a person with an asset, like a spare seat in a car heading off on a long journey, to a person who wants that asset and is prepared to pay something for it.
In contrast, the innovators take existing elements of a service or industry and change the way it is offered to create something new. Across all industries the Apple Corporation is one of the most famous innovators globally. Take a product like the iPod as an example – MP3 players were available before the iPod, but great design contrasted with the iTunes system for access to new music made it take off as the only music player everyone wanted.
So where will we see innovation in the customer experience in 2016? It will be in areas where companies have expertise already, but where they can push their services a little further than the competition:
- Automation; introducing technologies such as Robotic Process Automation (RPA) to handle many basic contact centre enquiries will change the way that contact centres function because the customer service budget can be focused on more complex enquiries – thanks to the robots handling the basic ones – therefore ensuring a higher rate of customer satisfaction.
- Improved Intelligence; having a better insight into customer preferences and behaviour will allow companies to work with new communication channels as demanded by customers and customers can be better segmented by their behaviour ensuring a better experience because their demands are more closely met.
- These innovations will be supported by Big Data analysis; the more that companies learn how to analyse the data they have on their customers, the better they will be able to serve them in a way that is helpful rather than intrusive.
These are the three key areas where I see true innovation taking place in the near future. What would you suggest as your own ideas for new customer experience innovations in 2016? Leave a comment here or get in touch via my LinkedIn.
Photo by Automobile Italia licensed under Creative Commons.