The Digital Customer Experience Blog

Your source of insights for a successful digital transformation.

Make Your Customers Play

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Traditional advertising has lost effectiveness and while once-effective advertising methods do not work as well anymore, game playing is on the rise and vying for your customers’ attention.

To be relevant, as a brand you must become a publisher. To compete with games, your marketing must become a game.

People play games – on phones, on computers, on game consoles – everywhere; learning how to engage your customers through interactive game play and taking advantage of this growing trend is a needed ability to become more effective as a marketer.

Properly designed, branded games can be an engaging and “sticky” user experience, especially on mobiles, driving your customers to her flow. Stickiness is a metric of loyalty that measures the relationship between the span of time a person spends on an app and the number of her annual visits.

Loyalty programs already proved that gaming and marketing create a happy marriage. But your customers are getting bored and are not interested anymore in just points, earned by spending money. As products become commoditized, also it is becoming loyalty, that keeps people buying. Modern loyalty programs use a number of gaming elements to engender loyalty, including point accumulation, level climbing, rewards and challenges.

People enjoy competing, playing games and winning. People are intrinsically competitive and relish the process of participating in a game, even if the prizes you deliver are small, symbolic or virtual. They like to compete against themselves when they’re when not vying against others. A well-designed branded game can produce substantial psychological rewards.

Richard Bartle, a professor and behaviorist, identified four types of game players:

  • Achievers” – These players like to acquire points and earn status. They enjoy the process of playing and want to play well. They like working with others and sharing the joys and defeats of the game.
  • Socializers” – These players enjoy the social component of playing games, such as interacting, forming alliances and collaborating.
  • Explorers” – These players take pleasure in game playing activities and elements, such as accumulating points or badges, uncovering shortcuts or figuring out puzzles.
  • Killers” – These players thrive on competition and have a win-at-all-costs mentality.

Only games can help you cut through the clutter of a crowded brand marketplace and socially networked environment to attract, retain and monetize customers.

Stay tuned for a white paper to be released soon: the future of marketing is games, and it has already started.

What I Learned From Neosperience FedEx Days

What_I_Learned_From_Neosperience_FedEx_DaysOver this weekend I shared with my team the opportunity to work on anything that relates to our products in the digital customer experience space, and deliver it during a two-days hackathon, to experiment new and creative ideas, making the emptiness that each of us must do to be able to stand on the shoulders of the giants who preceded us, and create.

During this very intense and productive professional retreat, organized according to the FedEx days format, I was struck by the quality of the result of teamwork, in a short time, and the sharpness of the vision of the team.

  • Foster creativity – With no rules, apart from working on a very broad topic like customer experience, anything’s possible.
  • Scratch itches – We all have something that bugs us about a product the world is waiting for.
  • Be radical – The main idea is simply devoting time to ideas that might not normally be prioritized. All of us are pirates.
  • Have fun! – The spas of Abano have been the ideal setting to give to our mind the shot of color with the brush that Emilio Vedova, a teacher at the Accademia di Belle Arti in Venice, he used to give the canvas of his students to overcome their blank canvas syndrome.

By the way, do not really know how to play the piano, but the setting for the photo was cute 🙂

As great author Daniel H. Pink said about the changing world of work, maybe it’s time to ask yourself not, “Should I try something like this?” — but “Why am I not doing this already?”

Like and forward this to your HR manager, or, better, to your CEO 😉

Retailers & CPGs: Ride Two Horses To Achieve Digital Customer Experience Mastery

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Since we started shaping the digital customer experience as the key Neosperience practice, we have learned to study like anthropologists: how and where a shopper looks for a product, walks, when she stops, when she enters a store, what she touches, how long she looks and whether she buys.

And your digital customer experience plays a pivotal role in all this, from the customer's perspective.

  • Your store’s entrance area is a transition zone, not a good place to put stock or a sign. But geofencing, strengthened by a smart bluetooth device to pop-up a purchase opportunity in order to trigger the visit of a just-in-time casual shopper is a great idea and definitely appropriate.
  • Then, once enter your store, people naturally move to the right. To push a new product, stock it to the right of the most popular brand.
  • To understand how people buy, understand their basic physical needs. If people feel closed in because an aisle is too narrow, they will buy less.
  • Consider your store a "collection of zones." Map them out and make them active by implementing micro-location targeting and personalized promotions, delivered on your customer’s smartphone based on her social profile, past purchases and behavior analysis.
  • People who come with others will buy more if there is a chair so the non-shopping person can relax and feel comfortable. And once people are sitting still, here’s another opportunity to engage them with their smartphone and jump on your shopping wheel!
  • Parents naturally (and ancestrally) will stay away from a store that seems unwelcoming to children. For seniors, use larger, readable type on packages and signs. Same applies to in-store digital signage.
  • Digital merchandising providing true convenience is more influential than marketing when driving shoppers to buy.
  • If your service is bad, it doesn’t matter how good your stock, prices, location and digital marketing tools are. In this case, right after “mobile-first”, shape a “store assistant-second” capability assessment and empowerment. Employee-focused gamification programs help a lot.

Only stores can offer physical sensations and full social interaction, but your customer-facing app, once properly designed and implemented, delivers a number of benefits: selection, convenience, speed, information, right-time personalization, smart commerce capabilities.

Don’t think digital and physical either/or: your business is driven by these two horses together, just waiting for you to (properly) ride.

How would implementing these changes affect your competitiveness in the market?
And if you were to make this happen, what would it mean for you?

Engage Your Customers with a Digital Car Showroom

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Whether on an iPhone, iPad, Android smartphone and tablet, PC/Mac, web, Facebook,
 gaming console or Google Glass, a Digital Car Showroom allows automotive manufacturers and dealers to engage customers with a powerful immersive experience, surpassing the boundaries of time and space, where context augments cognition and gamification delivers massive business results.

Its objectives are multiple and compelling:

  • Give value to the dealers and the brand.
  • Offer an emotional brand experience by allowing customers live an immersive exploration of a 3D branded space, memorable, bringing a digital experience close to the one you would have in an Apple Store, being able to see, touch, caress the car models.
  • Get all this without requiring the huge transformations and investments that would be required in the physical world.

A multi-brand immersive car showroom in 3D will dazzle your customers, gauge their reaction and trigger feedback as they can explore and interact with your car models.

A Digital Car Showroompowered by Neosperience allows total freedom of movement: users can navigate your showroom and configure car models by swiping the screen, viewing details tap-by-tap on their smartphone, tablet or computer as if they were physically in your store, simulating gravity, topography, locomotion and communication, all seamlessly integrated with pre-existing CRM systems and sales processes.

This experience stimulates the kinesthetic learning and social networking sharing, engaging users with content relevant for their own interests in the 3D environment, which translates into a unique experience for each user. An experience that can be further enhanced by offering a Car Driving Simulator.

Visitors will live a previously unheard-of level of engagement and customer experience, allowing you, as a car manufacturer or dealer, combine the best of two worlds:

  • Deliver immersive digital product presentation in 3D
  • Implement a lead generation program to follow up the contacts and driving them to the store

Your brands' model range can be presented in a best-in-class 3D digital environment, where its lovemark location: Apple App Store and Google Play Store, makes your Digital Car Showroom more than simply an additional retail outlet.

Furthermore to deliver a memorable experience to first time visitors, your Digital Car Showroom will be able to evolve into a meeting place for car enthusiasts, where they get engaged and make contact with you anytime, anywhere, with any device and at their own pace.

How to Avoid the Age of Your Competitor’s Customer

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You have been thought to compete in markets with strength in manufacturing and distribution. With control of prices, point of sales location, and knowledge about products and customers.

But in just six years mobile technology has fundamentally changed two things: the dynamics of the markets and the speed needed to remain competitive.

The same forces that once favored your organization, reversed the scenario creating advantage for your customers:

  • With their smartphone, they can compare prices, get product reviews, and buy anywhere, whenever they want.
  • Hybrid commerce mobile Apps, where the smartphone is used to deliver a blended physical-digital purchase experience, are emerging everywhere.
  • Marketing your products in this whole new world requires a different approach than marketing in the internet as you learned to know it.

You need to step into Digital Customer Experience, starting from a mobile-first empowered customer journey, and enter the age of customer with courage and determination. And your marketing and sales plans must acknowledge this shift in power, or you will face soon the age of your competitor’s customers.

Your marketing and sales efforts must acknowledge a powerful customer who can now choose from a potentially infinite set of suppliers. Your must be focused on providing utility and convenience, which doesn’t necessarily mean discount, but i.e. better care and understanding. In brief, you must become obsessed by your customers.

Almost without realizing it, in just six years from the advent of the smartphone as we know it, a billion people worldwide have this device their constant companion. Whenever we have a free moment, we pull out our smartphone and check email or Facebook, search for a restaurant, play a game, watch a video, or browse a map.

Our lives have become a collection of mobile moments in which we pull out a mobile device as if it was a magic wand to get something done wherever and whenever we want.

The result of this accumulated experience with mobile Apps is that our minds as customers have shifted. Not only can we do new things. We now also expect new things. We expect that all organizations we deal with meet our expectations by delivering us heightened digital experiences anytime, anywhere, personal, and simple.

Forget the web. Time has come to reach your customers mobile-first:

  • Digital Customer Experience activities must incorporate convenience and value, and stay true to your brand positioning.
  • Your customer journey is now pinpointed by a series of mobile moments, points in time and space when your customer pulls out a mobile device to get what he or she wants immediately, in context.
  • As Apple’s father said, you must think differently. But this is not enough. You must also execute differently, implementing a Digital Customer Experience strategy that allows you to connect with your customers in a whole new way across smartphone and tablet, computer, smart TV, connected objects, and physical stores.

Are you taking advantage of unique marketing opportunities, like in-store micro-location targeting, maybe linked to new in-App advertising possibilities provided by Facebook, or are you still throwing away your budget with incapable “digital” consultants, anchored to the web?

Smartphones and tablets have become an extension of yours and your customers’ brains. All the time we turn to our phone or tablet and look for a service that can help us directly.

  1. Stop excusing yourself and procrastinating by saying that your customers are old, and realize you will not have new ones sooner than you think.
  2. Think your Digital Customer Experience is the heart of your digital marketing, and your App is central to it.
  3. Understand the scale and scope of the mobile mind shift.
  4. Many people will find you by using search engines, so ensuring that your site is perfectly fit for mobile devices, also to keep a high search ranking, is essential.
  5. Use your responsive website to drive your customers to your App to engage them more effectively, offer direct access, right-time personalization, convenience, and fast support. Encourage social networks-powered word-of-mouth as your model for public relations.
  6. Don’t make direct pitches; instead, engage your customers’ community.
  7. Use mobile videos to entertain your customers and make your App “stickier”.
  8. Measure your App effectiveness, track customer involvement and the return on your investment.
  9. Don’t reinvent the wheel: deliver a native App that executes sell-side business logic built with a reliable software platform, optimized for the Digital Customer Experience domain, to combine best practices with a proven technology and make your initiative successful.

Kill That Meeting!

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Tomorrow is Monday, the day when the most important organization’s rituals take place: the meetings.

Right after a refreshing weekend, starting your week with a meeting is a great way to suck energy out of your brain, creative juices out of your soul and time right off the clock.

Don’t get me wrong, we all recognize that the fundamental purpose of meetings is to utilize the collective human capital of a group to get things done.

Nevertheless traditional meetings can be time consuming and unproductive, and digital conferencing, with those pretty Hangouts, Skype calls and Webex, don’t reduce the number of unproductive meetings; it just puts them on new platforms.

As the complexity of our work increases and response time to follow up with our clients decreases, you have to make your meetings efficient and productive. Or to avoid them.

The primary reason traditional meetings are unproductive is that the person officiating is usually the top manager. And while he or she directs the meeting and participates in discussions, however, it’s demonstrated that meetings actually are more efficient when junior members run them. A senior manager may have more experience and knowledge, but may not know how to run a constructive workflow session. Furthermore, having a top manager in charge may inhibit contributions from junior team members or impede collaboration due to politicking.

Among less useful meetings are those dedicated to ongoing planning. These meetings are the most obsolete.

To be relevant, the ongoing planning process needs to be timely and fluid… in a word: ongoing.

Planning requires innovation, as the capacity to respond quickly to new information and to react promptly to changes in the marketplace.

Three connected drivers support an effective ongoing planning process:

  1. Innovative collaboration practices – Put the action plans that workflow management sessions generate into a companywide planning database and assign a coordinator to monitor the database.
  2. A robust planning database – A comprehensive, continually updated planning database, supported with agile methodologies and tools, helps evaluate productivity, assess communication, analyze workflow, and identify challenges and opportunities.
  3. Personal workflow planners – Encourage the use of tools for handling and prioritizing individual responsibilities among your colleagues. Getting Things Done methodology with Evernote as a companion app can be a quick win. This allows them to be more effective and replaces the traditional, inefficient to-do list. Personal workflow planning (its old definition was “Time Management”, but unfortunately time was never managed by anyone 🙂 enables your colleagues to focus on their goals, strategy, impediments and information needs.

Be a facilitator, which is not easy as people are always willing to tell you why an idea won’t work, often without being asked; we’re all surrounded by experts on why things won’t work.

And make turn your meeting into something useful. Or kill it!

How's your relationship with your meetings?

The Digital Customer Experience Blog

This site, published by Neosperience, overviews the advancements of digital customer experience in marketing, technology and society. Neosperience Cloud is the technology platform to create engaging experiences for your customers that drive ongoing loyalty to your brand, and faster paths to purchase. It is the choice of the best companies in the world, Winner of the most prestigious global awards across many industries: Automotive, Communications, Media and Services, Consumer Products, Retail and Distribution, Fashion, Luxury and Beauty, Financial Services, Healthcare, Utilities, Government and Infrastructure, Travel and Transportation.

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