Aligning the digital and physical experiences for customers.
We spend much of our time dealing with companies that are structured in the traditional departmental way in order to help them manage and maximise the performance of those functions in their contribution to the overall outcomes of the businesses. Many of these businesses have been around for decades – some even centuries – and this organisational model has served them well.
These traditional structures are coming under increased pressure to adapt to consumers who see the world in real-time and, increasingly, through their chosen mobile platform. Legacy systems are struggling both to provide the business with data to make informed decisions, and to provide the customer with a seamless experience they’ve come to expect from benchmark providers – who will likely be from a totally different sector.
The biggest irony is that we have even created digital departments (silos) that work somewhere between IT and marketing!! They beaver away making wonderful, and not so wonderful, user experiences with no alignment to the physical world in which the brand also needs to be active.
If ever there was a time for busting the attitudinal silos that have grown up inside businesses, it is now.
I would not advocate the wholesale destruction of the departmental structures as these help us manage our businesses. However, we can bring teams together in order to build seamless experiences for our customers by applying the skills and capabilities of people from across the business.
Brands must blend the digital world and the physical one into a single holistically-aligned customer experience. This can only happen if we build teams from across the business to deliver an effective and efficient result, and if we use the brands as the aligning lens through which to look at all the touchpoints along the customer journey.
New competitors have challenged many of the legacy processes, data systems and operating models by developing friction-free customer experiences based on brilliant UX understanding blended into an overall CX delivery platform. It will be interesting to watch the battle between RBS’s new retail offer ‘Williams and Glyn’ and the likes of Metro, Virgin and First Direct. Will it be able to/allowed to compete on the new brand battleground or will its legacy systems hold it back?
As the customer experience battle heats up in both the digital and the physical spaces, we will see many more fights developing between the legacy businesses and the algorithm ones. We have already seen the start of this with traditional taxi operations trying to compete with Uber, hotels competing with the likes of Airbnb, and big, traditional airlines competing with the low-cost carriers or even low-cost “private jet” offers.
But the “algorithm” brands will not have it all their own way. As businesses begin to understand the power of focusing on the customer experience and aligning it in the digital and physical worlds of theory customers, they will absolutely understand the truth of Carl Jung’s observation “a person is defined by what they do, not what they say they are going to do”.
The opportunity is there for brands to help their owners to start joining up the dots of the business. In doing this, they can release the power of their people to deliver aligned experiences that seamlessly blend the digital and physical worlds, and deliver their own unique Brand Basics and Brand Amplifiers.
If we take heed of a Bain report that says 80% of CEOs think they give their customers a great expereicne whilst only 8% of their customers agree, there is much work to be done.