Customer relationship: Is it still possible to innovate?

ISSUE #68 – Thomas Vermersch (pictured below), Director APAC, Moskitos, walks us through the new customer experience journey – the trends, the challenges, and what retail brands can look at to innovate in customer relationship.



The main challenge faced by brands to optimise their customer experience is to resort to the use of new technologies that will help them build stronger connections with their customers.

Digital technologies offer a great opportunity to start an ongoing dialogue with customers. The use of new technologies, at each stage of the customer journey, acts as a real lever to increase client attendance and overall commitment. Generating more traffic is not a goal per se. If one does not look at qualification, conversion rates both in the physical and digital worlds are bound to suffer. For instance, retail players now must help customers prepare their visit, save time and optimise their journey on-site. The bottom-line of such efforts is to increase average baskets.

Customers already have a wide range of options to act on their own: social media, websites, community recommendations. Ubiquity is so hard to achieve that it may not be the be-all and end-all of a sound customer relationship strategy. Instead, focusing on creating a focal point of interaction that navigates all the available information, public or private, and brings it in an easy-to-access and user-friendly format can be more realistic and efficient. Using a Chatbot for instance to answer all customer questions in a timely fashion brings real added value.

Here comes the technology challenge though that may well break all the efforts attempted at each stage of the customer journey. The customer centricity such a journey means you are trying to bridge the gap between the outside world and the inner environment of the brand. A gap that also exists between systems. Information flows need to go from outside-in and inside-out the brand organisation. You will probably use external resources as well to make your service work (e.g. personalisation algorithms, automation). More and more retailers work with start-ups to offer smoother itineraries in physical venues realise at some point that to replicate the fluidity of an online journey, they need an integrated omni-channel experience not just services or technologies sitting side by side.

Building seamless physical and digital experiences is the most powerful lever to create emotions and customer engagement anywhere anytime. It requires though a tremendous level of effort both technical and organisational to set up and maintain the right bridges between physical and digital resources. Technologies exist to experiment and do it fast, brands need to build the right blueprint and take action!


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Article by Thomas Vermersch, Director APAC, Moskitos

Published in FOCUS Magazine — Issue #1 2019 “The Consumer Journey Issue