The Changing Face of the Customer

Insight categories: Experience DesignTechnology

Although COVID-19 cases continue to rise globally, domestically, there are signs of recovery.

As of 24th April 2021, one in five people have had both coronavirus jabs and over half of Britain has received their first.

Most non-essential businesses have also started to open, with things looking positive for most offline retail businesses. In fact, Primark, which is a purely offline business, has had record sales at its newly reopened stores in England and Wales last week, as shoppers sought out summer fashions for the return to socialising. Conversely, Netflix has seen its shares dip by 8% as its subscription growth slows due to people resorting to real-life social events and activities.

Nevertheless, COVID-19 has made a resounding impact on societies at large and changed our daily habits, in some cases, for the foreseeable future. Our attitude towards hygiene, security, and health is unlikely to be the same for quite some time鈥he rapid adaption of digital devices and services is another reality that is likely to stick and continue to evolve.聽 Particularly, cloud and AI technologies have been transformational in how customer experience is delivered and what it means for the customers and the businesses that deliver them. The CX ecosystem will continue to evolve and the boundaries between online and offline worlds will continue to blur 鈥 to a point that it would become an existential challenge for organisations to decipher who their customers are and how best to serve, engage, and retain them?

To clarify this point, let鈥檚 have a look at the following Facebook Messenger conversation that I had with five of my friends (Emmy, Ursula, Erik, Henry, and Quin) when I had to travel abroad on short notice.

鈥斺斺斺斺-

Me: Oh boy, I need to聽travel to Dubai聽this Friday!

Emmy: No bother, would you like me to book a flight for you Zaheer?

Me: yes, thanks Emmy, I would like to聽fly out from Manchester聽on聽Business Class after 21:00聽

Ursula: Hey Zaheer, shall I book a pickup for you? You will need to be in Manchester at least 2 hours before boarding?

Me: that would be great Ursula, thanks! I am carrying聽only hand luggage聽so聽normal car聽would be fine.

Erik: Hi Zaheer, don鈥檛 forget to get your mobile tariff enabled for roaming 鈥 let me know if I can sort this out for you.

Me: Good shout Erik, it was a real pain last time 鈥 I need聽mobile data enabled聽for聽Dubai聽鈥 could you sort that out for me, please? I need it聽for聽a week聽only聽so get me a聽good deal聽mate.

Erik: sure, I will have that sorted and will send you a confirmation shortly 鈥 I have access to your business account so it won鈥檛 take long.

Me: thanks Erik

Me: Henry, you heard the conversation mate 鈥 could you聽help me with the hotel reservation聽please? I聽need聽3 nights near Burj,聽wifi,聽B&B inclusive. thanks!

Henry: sure Zaheer, consider it done, I have your preferences on room type so I will check the rates and send you a message to confirm.

Me: Thanks, Henry!

Me: Quin, could you聽send me聽the聽latest聽facts and聽insights on聽COVID-19 Middle East聽please? I need to put together a quick presentation.聽I would prefer references from Big 4, Harvard, etc.

Quin: sure Zaheer, I have sent you the latest articles on COVID-19 Middle East from McKinsey, Delloite, HBR, and MIT. Let me know should you need more.

Me:聽thanks Quin 鈥 you are a star!

鈥斺斺斺斺斺斺斺

Ok, if you have read up to this point, you must have figured out that the above conversation is anything but real. The clues?

My friends seem to be available to chat with me instantly!

Probably available on a 24/7 basis.

They are desperately trying to serve me (like my personal assistants).

They have full access to my personal accounts and aware of my interests and preferences.

They also have authorisation to act on my behalf and execute commercial transactions 鈥撀爊ot quite ready to relinquish all of my autonomy.

In reality, you wouldn鈥檛 expect to interact with your friends this way unless there were exceptional circumstances 鈥撀燼nd even then, it would be difficult for your friends to access your personal credentials and accounts immediately!

However, this is potentially the CX of the future. The new norm. Powered by the cloud, AI, blockchain, cryptocurrencies, and edge computing. Where brands will engage with you as friends and serve you as your personal assistants.

Now, to relive the envisioned CX, I invite you to:

Reread the above conversation 鈥 only this time assume:

Emmy =聽Emirates;

Ursula =聽Uber;

Erik =聽EE;

Henry =聽Hilton Hotels;

Quin =聽Quora

Assume also that the underlined text represents the keyword-based triggers within conversational context 鈥 used by Chatbots to execute actions.

To complicate things further, imagine that it wasn鈥檛 me who interacted with these bots. Instead, it was my intelligent assistant based on Alexa, Cortana, or Siri.

This is the world where the face of your customers has dynamically changed from humans 脿 to bots 脿 to things.

Just imagine your IoT-powered fridge ordering your usual staples and complaining when things aren鈥檛 of expected quality! How would businesses cope with customer demand in that scenario? Would you resort to building manual business rules or let the ML and AI-powered algorithms pre-empt and handle the complexity?

At GlobalLogic, we help businesses of all sizes and industries envision and pursue their digital transformation ambitions so you can get ahead of the curve, or certainly have solutions in place that give you the agility to change your mind on how you deliver service cost effectively. We could even have a word with your fridge for you.

To discuss how we could help your business contact us聽here.

Before you close the tab, I have one final question 鈥撀爄s your digital transformation journey catering for these developments? I would love to hear your thoughts.

Author

Author

Zaheer Gilani

Principal CX Consulting

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