Technology is transforming customer experience excellence. Indeed, because of the progress that is being made in areas such as artificial intelligence and augmented reality, brands have a unique opportunity to provide innovative solutions for the customer. Often, these solutions provide a clear competitive advantage, but owing to the rapid pace with which these technologies are being developed, it is necessary for organisations to make clear choices as to which ones they pursue and prioritise. Such choices can be simplified with a customer-centric strategy, and one that pays close and constant attention to the details that matter.

The power of customer insight

In order to develop a CX strategy that is wholly customer-centric, it’s important for brands to possess a deep knowledge of its consumers’ emotions, behaviours and sensibilities. This is not a task that can be executed once and then ignored; it’s an on-going process and one that demands close monitoring, as expectations and emotional responses shift over time.

This is where the power of customer insight comes to the fore. Voice of the customer programs, in particular, can be hugely beneficial to organisations, as they equip brands with the knowledge to make technology-based decisions. The outcome of this is a customer who is more connected to the company because of the continual dialogue that is taking place. However, this can only be successfully executed if any silos that impact CX have been removed, and all aspects of the organisation have been seamlessly positioned around the customer. Once these foundation stones have been laid, brands should ensure that they have strong diagnostic and measurement frameworks in place to continually monitor the execution of their innovations. 

Services such as KPMG’s Customer Experience Cloud can help in this respect. This technology provides a single source for customer insights, allowing companies to run analytics and build reports. It can help brands to decide which technological improvements will have the most positive impact on the customer experience.

The future of CX

What might these improvements look like in the years to come? Some are already in active use. For example, one online retailer has been experimenting with the possibility of enlisting drones to fulfil customers’ orders, and it already uses robots in some of its fulfilment centres. In terms of The Six Pillars of Customer Experience Excellence, the development of drones could be a key influencer on the pillar of Time and Effort, as it would help packages to reach consumers in a vastly reduced timescale.

The concept of the ‘connected home’ is another one that is gaining traction; it’s very likely that it will become commonplace in the next 10 years, with billions of connections existing across the home, the car and the office. In the UK, organisations such as British Gas have been pioneers in this field with developments such as the Hive product. Hive is a smart thermostat which enables customers to control their heating and hot water from their mobile phones, tablets or laptops, meaning that they can change the temperature of their homes whilst ‘on the go.’

Then there is augmented reality – something which continues to grow in prominence in the world of CX. Brands such as Kiwibank have harnessed this technology to make headway in the pillar of Personalisation, with its home buyer app superimposing property information onto the screen as users scan the streets that they would like to live in. Retailers are also experimenting with this innovation as they show shoppers what they might look like in different outfits.

Other technologies are still in the germinative stages of development, but they may become an active part of customer experience excellence in the next 10 to 15 years. For example, the concept of 4D printing (printing which takes the dimension of time into account) has already been adopted by the medical and dental professions. It’s a process which ‘prints’ objects that can self-heal and evolve over time, opening up some intriguing customer experience possibilities.

Return on Investment

According to Harvey Nash/KPMG CIO Survey, 61 per cent of organisations that are effective at using digital technologies see higher revenue growth than their competition. However, the technology itself is only one cog in a larger machine. The challenge for many organisations is not necessarily in mastering the technology, but rather in deciding which innovations will deliver the strongest experience for the customer. In order to establish this, companies must take a conscientious approach to customer insight, gleaning a clear understanding of consumers’ lifestyles and needs using accurate, real-time customer data.

More insight available in our Global Customer Experience Excellence report.