Pervasive mobility offers the ultimate customer experience

By Shamayun Miah

| Retail

The idea of customer experience was first introduced nearly two decades ago with Joseph Pine and James Gilmore’s 1999 book, “The Experience Economy: Work Is Theater & Every Business a Stage.” They talked about “experience” as the new driver for economic value and business differentiation. As the next evolution of the agrarian, industrial and service economies, what they called the “Experience Economy” would enable businesses to differentiate their services and compete on more than price alone.

The first iPhone was introduced years later in 2007, expanding the importance of experiences to the digital realm. The storefront transformed from a physical location requiring window designers to a virtual one requiring web and app designers. The digital experience quickly became what customers expect of their daily interactions and transactions.

Aberdeen Group states in its 2016 study, “How Leading Businesses Are Embracing the Evolution of Mobile,” that mobility has set the standard for the modern experience with “one that is easy, intuitive and able to deliver immediate value.” Customers expect the continued evolution of these experiences will incorporate the latest capabilities that technology provides, such as location services, video and real-time insights. With advances in technology, network bandwidth, computing capability, analytics processing and cognitive systems, it is now possible to not only deliver to expectations but also anticipate needs to mass-customize each and every experience.

The essence of customer experience starts within

However, the customer experience actually begins much deeper within an organization. Every point of interaction with the customer should leverage the power of mobile, whether it’s the employees who serve your customers (customer service, sales reps); the processes that empower employees and support customers (transactional systems, customer history, product development, delivery and manufacturing); or the physical aspects of your business (your stores and products). By bringing mobility and data availability to the entire enterprise, new and immediate value can be delivered to customers. The positive impact to the business in terms of competitive advantage, growth and brand reputation will far outweigh what is achieved through most mobility approaches adopted today.

Consider how your business and customer experience could change by incorporating mobile technology to deliver a type of augmented reality (AR). How would packing and shipping change if delivery people could see the details of a package overlaid on the outside of the box? How would product development change if they could fix problems using intelligent systems that point out errors on the objects as they are developed? How would the experience change for your business (and the customer) if inventory existed only in the virtual world? Everything a business does forms the essence of the customer experience. By applying the same technologies and mobile approaches internally as used externally, and connecting the data across the enterprise, businesses will be able to create the ultimate customer experience. So, if you are looking to create winning experiences, consider the five following strategies:

  1. Stop thinking about mobility in terms of marketing alone.
  2. Put customers first by creating an integrated end-to-end experience starting within the enterprise.
  3. Gather and share internal and external mobile data to provide meaningful information in the context needed by employees, supply chain partners and customers.
  4. Use cognitive systems to reveal deeper insights to your organization and remove supply chain costs to deliver better service to customers.
  5. Play with new technologies both across the enterprise and for customers.

In the end, for the ultimate customer experience, create an integrated end-to-end experience starting within the enterprise. If your enterprise shines from the inside, business will come to you.

Written By

Shamayun Miah

Partner & Vice President at IBM GBS

Shamayun is an IBM global executive with deep experience in technology, consulting and business. In addition to his role as Vice President and Partner, IBM Global Business Services, Cloud Application Innovation Offerings, he has been leading the IBM Mobile Centre of Competence since…

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