The Digital Customer Experience Blog

Your source of insights for a successful digital transformation.

Strategic Predictions For 2018 and Beyond From Gartner Symposium

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The future is filled with disruption. But pending disruptions are taking on new forms. This is the tipping point for Gartner's keynote about top strategic predictions for 2018 and beyond, live from Orlando.

Here is a selection for you of the most relevant insights from Gartner Symposium/ITxpo, where the world’s top digital professionals gain a strategic view of the emerging trends shaping technology and business.

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Psychographics – Turn Mass Personalization into Customer Uniqueness

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Mass Marketing is dead, that's nothing new. In a world dominated by the culture of "Me", one size doesn't fit all. Customers - no matter what their socioeconomic status is - want to take center stage. They want to be loved by the Brands they love, in return for their loyalty.

If you are not willing to take care of your customers’ emotions, desires and needs, they will devote their soul and heart to your competitors. In this ever-customer-centric scenario, personalization goes from being a nice-to-have to becoming a must-have.

For over 15 years, one-to-one marketing (also called personalized marketing, or individual marketing) has moved in this direction to help companies engage with customers the right way, based on their needs, preferences, and behaviors.

Global players such as Netflix, Amazon, and Spotify, to name a few, are well-known for being data-driven companies aiming at the customer excellence.

Netflix knows the ‘completion rate’ for a TV series; how many users started and finished it til the end of the last season; where the common cut-off point was; how long has passed between when they watched one episode and then the next.

And the data go even deeper: when you pause, rewind, or fast forward; when you watch a specific type of content; where you watch and what device you use; the ratings you give, what you do after any episode - if you leave the app or go back to browsing.

The same way, Amazon constantly analyzes what items you purchased; what is in your wishlist; what you search for the most; which products you reviewed and rated; and uses this information to recommend you additional products based on what the other customers purchased in the same situation.

Given this continuous evolution towards a more and more detailed knowledge of a customer’s ‘moves’ and features, the question is: What is the missing piece that will enable Brands to create a more intimate, long-lasting relationship with customers?

Tracking behaviors is a critical task, no doubt about it. However, it is not enough to explain, discover or predict the 'Why' of our behaviors, feelings, and choices, that is deeply linked to our inner world and is a consequence of 'Who' we truly are.

Who we are - our unique personality - affects our behaviors more than people think or realize. And even more than marketers do. Understanding this simple fact is the basic requirement to persona-lize your strategy.

A crowded place full of new people can excite an extroverted and annoy an introvert. An extreme sport or a transgressive experience will attract those who love taking risks, and scare those who avoid them. An open-minded person will be excited to try an entirely new product, while a conservative person will prefer to wait for that product to be tested by others.

It is evident that we - as marketers - are missing something important, the human side of customers.

The interesting thing is that our personality determines not only what we like, but also our communication preferences and, consequently, what is most likely to persuade us. As empathetic human beings, we can flexibly adapt our language and relational approach from time to time, depending on who we are dealing with.

A good seller who understands his customer has an easy game because he knows how to communicate with him - not just what to propose but how to paint it.

As an example, let's take a personality trait known as Need for Uniqueness, the pursuing of differentness relative to others, that can be obtained through the purchase and use of goods and services.

This personality trait can be a key buying reason in various contexts, such as shopping for clothes. Some people usually look for items that visibly distinguish them from others, and when they realize that another person also wears something they just bought, they lose interest or even get annoyed.

Other people, on the other hand, prefer to blend with others - especially their reference group - and use their dressing style to emphasize this membership and belonging.

Now think about this. What if fashion brands had this information readily available for each customer, exactly as they already know the age, sex, and last purchase?

Would they communicate their offer in the same way? We hope not. Such information would radically change the way they see customers, interact with them and deliver unique customer experiences.

One-to-one marketing, as we know it, is surely getting smarter thanks to the huge amount of detailed data on what customers do across all stages and channels of their journey. But if this is useful, it is not necessarily exponential.

The innovation here does not come with the increasing of the data managed, but by introducing new ideas and criteria to evaluate those data (i.e. the Psychographics, based on techniques that have been developed and refined over 100 years of cognitive, behavioral and social psychology).

Mass communication is dead, and mass personalization is evolving to embrace the human side of customers progressively. Starting from now, an empathetic marketing strategy will take marketing and customer experience to the next level.

Photo by Samuel Zeller on Unsplash

Take MyPsychographics test, based on a set of scientifically-validated questionnaires plus social media, to understand your true self and discover your personality traits.

Neosurance Chosen as Best Insurance Game-changer at Munich Re Digital Partners

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It has been a memorable year for Neosurance. The innovative insurtech start-up, founded by Neosperience and DigitalTech, has been recently awarded with the Munich Re Digital Partners Award as the ‘Best Insurance Game-changer'.

The recognition comes in the wake of the selection by Plug&Play for their intensive acceleration program, and the partnership with AXA Italy to launch the first push "instant insurance".

The award was received at an event in London which gathered one hundred and fifty participants from the VC and business angels communities as well as numerous players from the insurtech ecosystem.

Mark Dennis, COO of Digital Partners - a global business unit of Munich Re designed to partner with disruptors who are changing the way insurance is experienced by customers - commented:

Digital disruption is changing the insurance industry. We established Digital Partners as an enabler to work with insurtech start-ups and digital verticals who are aiming to change the insurance world, developing better products and providing better customer experiences. The Best Insurance Game-changer award aims to recognise those making a difference in our industry.

Neosurance won the vote by the event participants for its disruptive distribution model based on the principles that “insurance is not bought by but sold to the customer, through the creation of smart emotional engagements at the point of need, directly on their smartphones”.

Neosurance offers AI and machine learning solutions for insurance companies to enable the sale of micro policies ‘on the spot’. Advanced technology in a unique combination with behavioural sciences merge together to create a distinctive customer journey in which insurance becomes instant, contextual and convenient. A big step ahead to bring protection closer to people when and where it matters most.

The core value proposition for clients is building a digital customer experience journey on the basis of contextual, behavioural and emotional data through a “learning by doing” approach, with numerous use cases spanning from travel, sports and mobility to the shared economy, closing the protection gap while making insurance and assistance relevant, easy and convenient.

In the first half of the year Neosurance was selected by Plug&Play Tech Center to take part in their insurtech accelerator in Silicon Valley where it had the chance to expand its network of partners on American soil. Following this inspiring experience, the company announced a brand new partnership with AXA Italy, starting with the launch in the Italian market by the end of June of a travel insurance coverage that can be purchased in 10 seconds.

In July 2017 the startup, led by its CEO Pietro Menghi, a veteran of the insurance and reinsurance industry, has launched its first product to offer instant travel protection, having just finalized a seed round of 700,000 Euro, which brings the total equity raised close to one million.

Photo by Ashim D’Silva on Unsplash

Download The 7 Pillars Of The New Customer Loyalty to define the foundations on which to build your engagement and loyalty strategy, create innovative experiences and establish a lasting and valuable relationship with your customers.

Take These 5 Steps And Reinvent Your Customer Journey Map

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The journey of a thousand miles must begin with a single step.

With the wisdom of this Chinese saying, let's start 'our journey' to discover how the 'customer journey' has changed in the last five years, pushed by the evolution of mobile technology, and what this means for your Brand.

The rise of the born-digital generations of customers (Millennials and post-Millennials) makes your traditional customer journey map obsolete. Every single map that you have used in the last decades is now useless. How can you recover?

In the digital ecosystem, everything changes at such an impressive pace that you risk losing sight if you do not get a new compass, a unique perspective to engage and monetize customers. The disruption brought in by the smartphone is unprecedented and requires drastic measures.

First things first, we need to clarify the difference between traditional customer journeys and the digital customer journey. We can simplify and streamline the two processes:

Traditional Customer Journey

Think of it as a (mostly) linear sequence going from the Awareness to the Consideration and then Purchase:

  • This funnel unravels across few touch points, well-known and presided by marketers;
  • The customer has a limited set of alternatives;
  • The communication is usually top-down and lead by the Brand;
  • Customer's choices are influenced by the 4 Ps of marketing, by routine and the trusted opinions of my closed circle of friends and relatives.

Digital Customer Journey

A neverending journey, not necessarily starting from the Attention/Awareness or ending with the Loyalty:

  • This funnel unravels across an increasing number of touch points, both in physical and digital worlds.
  • The customer has tons of alternatives;
  • The communication is always two-way;
  • Customer's choices are rarely influenced by advertising, price or routine. The circle of trust includes the online communities: social networks, e-commerce reviews, forums and blogs.

The evolution of technology reshapes the essence of the journey and this, in return, defines the pillars of your marketing strategy. In our ecosystem you should never underestimate:

  1. The arise of young customers - the picky millennials and the elusive GenerationZ.
  2. The growth of connected technologies - trackers, wearables, beacons, the Internet of Things.
  3. The dawn of Micro Moments - real-time mobile interactions, driven by specific intents.

The digital customers are accustomed to living surrounded by connected devices that melt the offline and online worlds. They build their identity by interacting with their virtual and pshysical communities, and do not recognize any other way of experiencing (life, emotions, and relationships).

In our markets, made flat by the globalization, your customers refuse to be considered as part of an indistinct mass. Each customer wants to be treated as an individual. This rejection of the massification requires that you invest your marketing efforts on the personalization and relevance of contents and experiences.

Today, there is a question to answer: Why should people buy from you when they can choose from a potentially infinite set of alternatives? You are not simply battling against your neighbors; you are fighting against thousands of suppliers from all over the world. Even a great, unique product might be not enough to win.

What then? The customer experience becomes the real key to differentiate your Brand, and the creation of a new customer journey map the ground to deliver personalized experiences. You need an innovative approach to the mapping of an unstructured journey, or your clients will still be strangers, inanimate figures you do not know anything about.

Luckily, you can still rely on a few basic requirements that have not changed ever since the idea of ‘customer journey map’ was considered for the first time. While the contents and the framework evolves with technology, you will always have to start your planning from these foundational elements:

Buyer Personas + Customers + Emotions + Research + Touch Points + Objectives + Measurement

On the one hand, marketers need to reach the customers when they stand in the early stages of the journey; unfortunately, that is the most obscure moment. The Brands usually know very little about customers' emotional profiles, and the traditional research methodologies does not provide useful data that show what clients were doing and thinking before - let's say - they entered your website or store.

That is exactly why you need a revamped version of the journey mapping. Starting with the following prerequisites.

RETHINK THE JOURNEY

Of course, behind a new mapping there is a new journey. Every single social and technological trend leads to the inevitable reinvention of the customer journey. There is no value in a map that ignores the different sources of interaction brought out by the mobile disruption.

The innovation extends the relationship between companies and people, to embrace the added value for both Brands and customers. Stay eyes wide open and willing to test and learn new means of engagement and fidelization; only then you will earn customer's loyalty and trust.

ENGAGE THE CUSTOMER

The foundational element of the journey is the traveller, of course. And yet, you might be surprised to know how many marketers still design their journey map starting from the company and the products instead of the customers.

Since the whole point here is to improve the relationship between your clients and your business, the only way you can build a map that actually works is to bring the customer's perspective into the process. Describe not the experience that you want to provide (or you think you are providing) but the experience that people expect (and you are actually providing).

UNVEIL THE EMOTIONS

The key is to understand how people take decisions and choose what to buy and how to buy. In a world where the smartphone has become the first screen and the attention span is lower than ever, not all customers are alike, and not all journeys should be considered equal.

People embark on very different journeys, driven by peculiar behaviors and personality traits. Each journey has different touch points that can be influenced by unexpected causes and intents. Individual needs, emotions and expectations lead to very personal behaviors. If you do not study these patterns (i.e. Psychographic profiling), you will not be able to reach the contextualization required to appeal each person.

CONNECT THE DOTS

Mobile technology reshapes the journey, influencing both the space and time of the interaction. The smartphone reboots the entire experience of communicating, searching for information, and connecting with people and brands. According to Nielsen, half of customers believe that mobile is the most important resource in the purchase decision-making.

Mobile platforms already account for more than 60% of total time spent on digital media. Your strategy should think mobile and act local, combining location and behavior to deliver meaningful contents, wherever your customers are. Connect the dots to get a holistic view of the ecosystem.

UNLOCK THE (SMALL) DATA

While it is still hard to understand what customers think and do in the early stages of their journey, companies can now take advantage of something they did not have before. Something that shuffles the cards on the table: small data.

Connected technologies create a large quantity of information about the customer's path; you only have to find the way to unlock the power hidden into this information. The key is to match the different sources and step from Big to Small data. Always remember that the real value not the information itself but what you do with this knowledge.

"Activating customer journeys to capture value requires journeys to be treated like products that need to be actively managed, measured, and nurtured. How well companies are able to do that will dictate how successful they are in making customer journeys a competitive advantage." (McKinsey)

Photo by Mahkeo on Unsplash

Download The 7 Pillars Of The New Customer Loyalty to define the foundations on which to build your engagement and loyalty strategy, create innovative experiences and establish a lasting and valuable relationship with your customers.

Editor's Note: This post was originally published in October 2015 and has been revamped and updated for accuracy with the latest trends and advancements of digital customer experience.

Connected Health – Technology Shapes The Future of Healthcare

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What do Google Apple and Amazon have in common? They are all betting on the business of the connected health. This new model for healthcare has a tremendous promise and is attracting millions of dollars in investments all over the world.

There is an ambitious goal at stake: the ability to exploit the potential of technology to provide a better service, improve the experience of the patients, and reduce the costs of quality healthcare.

The idea of connecting the new technologies and devices into a unified health platform has its roots in the telemedicine. However, it has gained new momentum in the last few years, with the advancements in connectivity and the spread of mobile devices, lead by the smartphone.

Connected health is a sociotechnical model for healthcare management and deliveryby using technology to provide health care services remotely (...) It uses technology - often leveraging readily available consumer technologies - to deliver patient care outside of the hospital or doctor's office.” (Wikipedia)

The new generations of smartphones, filled with sensors that can gather all sorts of data, have changed the personal behaviors of millions of people, fostering a new - more conscious - approach to health (i.e., the need to track all our daily activities and wear trackers).

From a business perspective, the increased mobile penetration has lowered the costs required to enter the market and has opened untapped opportunities for those willing to invest in the new frontier of healthcare. A few innovative startups paved the way, followed closely by the tech giants.

A huge push arrived in 2014 when Apple launched HealthKit, a dynamic platform designed to track and share with authorized stakeholders and apps a vast range of health and fitness data across multiple devices. A platform paired with the popular Health app included in the latest versions of iOS.

The most promising feature of HealthKit is the possibility to automate the recording of medical data from different sources and to interact with the electronic records systems of the hospitals or medical offices. In this way, the patient’s data would be always accurate and automatically included in personal reports.

In spite of all the startups already working on similar projects, Apple’s health platform has claimed most of the attention, and it is not the only one coming from top companies that have expanded their usual field of action.

Microsoft has created an enterprise Health Framework based on Azure; Google is making significant investments in health, wellness, and life sciences with Google Fit, G Suite for Healthcare, but also spin-offs like Calico and Verily.

Last but not least, Amazon is also looking to tap into this market, with a dedicated top secret lab dubbed 1492. The involvement of such names should not be surprising; we are talking about a market that is expected to reach a value of 50 billion dollars globally by 2020 (they will become 105.33 by 2022).

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What seemed a sci-fi dream only twenty years ago, today has become a desirable - and more than achievable - perspective. We are surrounded by technologies which have potential healthcare applications.

Some are still nascent (i.e., nanobots in our blood), but many others are already playing a critical role in our lives (i.e., wearables, home kits like Amazon Echo), or entering clinical settings faster than you might imagine (i.e., the Internet of Things and the virtual reality).

It is evident that the core of the connected health is made of technology, but we are not talking about just tools and devices here. This topic is relevant also from a philosophical, ethical and business point of view.

The new health paradigm implies (and requires) a structural evolution in the organization of public and private healthcare service providers, and will bring to the disruption of the medical experience (in terms of behaviors, relationships, and interactions).

All in all, we are facing yet another revolution of the medical customer experience. This model, in fact, is built around the person: a patient that is conscious, empowered, and more engaged than ever. Connectivity enables genuine patient focus in the most efficient way possible.

We have all become active health players instead of passive receivers of medical cares, the very same logic that inspired Pegaso Fit For Future, the European project aimed at promoting a sustainable change towards healthy lifestyles for teenagers, leveraging technology with a holistic and multidisciplinary approach.

This brand new health ecosystem consolidates information from many different spheres of a person’s existence to give a complete picture that includes genetic, medical, lifestyle, and even sentiment data (the Psychographics influence what we do and how we do it).

This holistic view puts the patient at the center of the healthcare system, disrupting:

  • How medical centers operate (Internet of Things, remote assistance and surgery).
  • How patients control their health (quantified self, home domotics, health apps).
  • How doctors and patients relate (Big and Small data, virtual reality, medical chatbots).

In the next years, and in times of cost cutting measures in the public sector, these trends will have an enormous impact on the quality and timeliness of the treatments.

Yes, there are still substantial obstacles to overcome - regulatory control, data privacy, ethical doubts, adoption practices - but if we win the skepticism and solve the challenges, the future of healthcare will be brighter, and our life longer and healthier.

Photos by Biel Morro and Christopher Campbell on Unsplash

Download The 7 Pillars Of The New Customer Loyalty to define the foundations on which to build your engagement and loyalty strategy, create innovative experiences and establish a lasting and valuable relationship with your customers.

What Are The Top Priorities When You Invest In Experience Strategy?

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Customer experience is one of the most used keywords to define what is happening to business in recent years. Today, the DCX is clearly a priority, but you need to understand how to invest in it to prevent it has not a real impact on your strategy.

What are the top priorities when you start investing in the creation of the best possible experience? Tricky question, especially if your objective is to deliver relevant, personalized experiences. One hint? Start with improving the relationship.

Over the last two years, we have repeatedly referred to a series of statistics by Gartner, still valid today: 89 percent of companies expect to compete mostly on the basis of customer experience, that will eventually overtake price and product as the primary pillar of differentiation between Brands.

By 2018, more than 50 percent of organizations will redirect their investments to customer experience innovations. Where should you start? One thing is sure: doing things the way you have always done them or relying on old marketing practices will not solve a completely new set of problems.

From the very first day Internet entered our houses and smartphone took its place in our hands, the experience has become “the experiences”. Digital technologies multiply the points of contact between a brand and a customer and disrupt the concepts of space and time when it comes to the buying process.

The DCX is the result of all interactions a customer has with your organization and its products or services over a specific period of time. The entirety of these different experiences defines the overall relationship, in terms of intensity, relevance, and duration.

When it comes to planning new investments, the focus is usually on the inside: policies, restrictions, roles, and everything that could put the sticks between the wheels. This is important to highlight some key relationships (i.e. with investors, employees, partners).

We know, however, that - in order to be successful - a marketing strategy must start with the customers, their journeys, and touchpoints. The ability to step into your customer's shoes and adopt a holistic approach to the experience strategy is essential to overcome the limitations of siloed departments.

Yet despite all the customer-centric statements and the alleged obsession for customers, few companies actually have a long-term vision that aligns the planning and management of the experience with a business strategy that connects the various departments into a coherent unity.

In a recent report, Altimeter unveiled this discrepancy between what the Brands think they are doing and what is ultimately perceived by the customer:

Experience is thus not about unicorns, rainbows, or soft fuzzy ideas. Instead, it is about a shared value proposition with customers that aligns to your business. (..) Experience is the mechanism through which your business strategy and brand value proposition are activated with customers.

A successful and relevant experience can happen only “when customer experience strategy focuses on and is measured by the strength and nature of the customer relationship. (...) In the end, you can only satisfy people if you deliver what it is that they want, at the time they want it, understanding what is relevant to them at that particular time and place.

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In digital markets, the most precious resource is time. The smartphone enables new behaviors and unlocks access to a persistent source of information. “That little device is enabling new ways of doing and learning things. It is helping us discover new ideas and new businesses. It is helping us manage our to-dos, tackle our problems, and inspire our plans.” (Google)

Anything can happen anytime, anywhere, and the Micro Moments have become the new battleground. Be There - Be Useful - Be Quick: this is the karma for the new era of customer relationships. If you do not show up, you lose. If you do not deliver contents relevant to the context, you lose. If you are slow and reject the changes, you are wasting resources.

So, now that you are all set and ready to invest in the future of your business, what are the areas you should focus on? We see a few priorities that define the quality of your next generation experience strategy.

CONTEXTUALIZATION

Customer experience defines the success of your organization. To build relationships that are relevant and drive sales, you must understand customers and connect with them on a personal basis. Understanding is the first step of the new marketing funnel, the ground where you build engagement and ongoing customer loyalty.

Today, there is no content without context. And the context implies not only the location or the devices used but also - and especially - the behavioral and emotional peculiarities of each customer. The psychographic profile will tell you everything you need to know to tailor experiences to the emotional preferences of your customers.

PREDICTION

To develop a strategy you always start by understanding where you and your customers already are. Digital technologies generate an enormous amount of data that you can use to extract relevant insights about your Brand and how you preside the touch points of the customer journey.

The Big Data, however, can be overwhelming. They are often too abstract and unrelated to the context. The relations in data are more important than the data itself, so you should adopt a ‘Small Data’ approach and leverage on technologies (i.e. machine learning) to predict the evolution of markets and the results of your investments.

AUTOMATION

The demand for faster responses generates the need for automation. The spread of smart connected machines makes it possible to automate every aspect of your organization, from the internal and productive processes to the relationship with stakeholders, employees, and customers.

The Internet of Things, fueled by the advancements in the Artificial Intelligence, creates a network of smart objects that can communicate without the human intervention. The future of manufacturing (Industry 4.0) and retail lies in the automation, and so does customer support (just think about chatbots, conversational interfaces, and the New Voice of Customer).

Now it is your turn. What are your top priorities? What are the pillars of your customer experience strategy?

Photos byTodd Diemer and Denys Nevozhai on Unsplash

Download The 7 Pillars Of The New Customer Loyalty to define the foundations on which to build your engagement and loyalty strategy, create innovative experiences and establish a lasting and valuable relationship with your customers.

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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