How CIOs Design for the Everything Customer

Why meeting the needs of the “everything customer” is critical and three ways CIOs can do so to gain a competitive edge.

For all the ways technology makes it easy for customers to engage with brands and their products, it also highlights obvious gaps in customer experience; for example,  when one channel doesn’t talk to another or our expectation of a human voice is met with yet another electronic voice prompt. 

Brands that do delight us with effortless experiences gain a competitive edge by meeting the increasing demands of the “everything customer,” according to Don Scheibenrief, Vice President, Distinguished Analyst, Gartner.

Develop a multi-experience mindset and platform to drive the enterprise forward on its path to growth with the everything customer

“Technology has created the everything customer — or everything citizen — and you have to connect with them better than anyone else,” Scheibenrief said during the opening keynote at Gartner IT Symposium/Xpo 2019™ in Orlando, Florida.

The risk for organizations that leave customers disconnected by creating a technology gap (think endless call center options), is that such gaps may be hard to bridge. “You try to do the right thing and use technology to meet customer demands, only to move further and further away from them,” Scheibenrief said.

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To bridge this gap, Scheibenrief encouraged CIOs to develop a multi-experience mindset and platform to drive the enterprise forward on its path to growth with the everything customer. Here are three ways CIOs can lead their organizations.

Think like a designer

Start with a digital design process run by skilled digital designers to map both the expected and unexpected customer journeys. Digital designers tap into new kinds of talent. For example, Crown Equipment — a forklift manufacturer — has employed artists and anthropologists on their design teams and won innovation awards.

These types of designers listen closely to both what customers say and what they don’t say. They balance the need to tap into individual preferences and deliver to universal demands.

Design for demographics

Generation Z, the next generation of customers, will be 24 years old by 2020  65 million people in the U.S. with their own clear set of principles. Gartner research on cultural values around the globe shows Gen Z values ‘identity’ more highly than any other age group. 

Designing for people who value individual self-expression so highly demands new solutions. The health and beauty industry is adapting to the demand with skin colored clothing and with make-up and bandages for small cuts that match your skin tone. Being inclusive creates connections that deliver value. 

In the future, organizations may need to market directly to machines. Gartner estimates there are more machines (7.8B) that can act like customers than there are human customers (5.2B) on the planet. HP embraced this future when it created “Instant Ink” — a digital service where internet connected printers automatically order their own ink when supplies run low.

Design across platforms

Scheibenrief noted that CIOs must lead the creation of a multi-experience technology platform that will bring these well-designed experiences to life.

Building on 20 years of mobile and web app development, and the more recent building blocks of digital business, the platform will be called on to deliver consistent experiences across your phone, the web, your clothes, your watch, your virtual assistant, your refrigerator — all multimodal touchpoints that can interact with the everything customer, no matter where they are.

Success goes beyond making investments in technology. It requires investments in the people and processes that lead to well-designed experiences

Some brands can show the way: Commonwealth Bank of Australia offers five ways for its customers to connect digitally, including smartwatches; United Airlines allows passengers 10 ways to digitally interact, including smart speakers; and a Smart TV is just one of 15 ways Domino’s customers can order pizza.  

Scheibenrief pointed out that these companies recognize that success goes beyond making investments in technology. It requires investments in the people and processes that lead to well-designed experiences at each touchpoint and across all channels. That’s what leads to a muli-experience platform that drives the customer experience that everything customers demand.

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