It’s increasingly evident that digital disruption is wreaking havoc across many sectors. But to understand how digital technology is changing customer experience, it’s useful to consider how digital is changing human experience in its entirety:
- ‘Search’ is rewiring our brains, and changing what we need to remember
- The cloud is changing our perception of ownership
- Hyperconnectivity has forever changed how we interact with each other
- Digital devices have transformed how, where and when we make purchases
And my personal favourite:
I recently came across a story about gazeMetrix, an image recognition technology that scans photos online and uses social intelligence software to identify the context in which a particular product is most found. The implications of this are profound.
“It is becoming possible to search human experience in ways that have have not been possible before.”
This opens up a whole new frontier for our ability to understand how (and where) customers actually use products and services, and to engage with them in new and innovative ways. More importantly, it highlights how we need to think differently in response to the affordances of digital technologies.
This is why digital has to be at the heart of every customer engagement strategy, and increasingly every business model. If people are already talking about the ‘post-digital age’ in which digital technologies will become absorbed into the very fabric of our everyday lives, then the digital age is already firmly established.
Industrial Age vs Information Age mindset
But despite the rapid, radical digital transformation of human experience in the last ten years, many organisations remain stuck in an Industrial Age mindset. Gerry McGovern recently went as far as to say that the traditional organisation is not fit for purpose anymore, and that achieving a seamless customer experience is not possible without seamless organisations. Arguing that organisational models that encourage internal competition are no longer appropriate, McGovern highlights how internal silos create a disjointed customer experience that does not reflect the hyperconnected reality outside the organisation.
As far back as 2010, Harvard Professor Bill George highlighted that the challenges facing businesses today are “too complex to be solved by individuals or even single organizations”. George argues that “collaboration — within the organization and with customers, suppliers, and even competitors — is required to achieve lasting solutions”.
Digital has transformed human experience forever. Surviving the disruption of the Information Age requires a mindset that puts digital at the core of human – and customer – experience.
This article was co-written with Tony Reeves, Digital Research Lead (Customer Experience), The QoE.