Humans on one side, technology on the other. How can we combine them and how do companies are handling the evolution of the Business-Consumer relationship?

A simple way to describe Customer Experience (CX) is “the impression you leave on your client and the way the client thinks of the brand, at every step of the purchase”. It is not about one single moment or one single interaction; it is about several moments that last from the beginning to the end of the customer journey. The client interacts with the brand through different channels and he or she will have to decide to become a customer or not; the steps that follow will be still influencing the customer experience. For instance, client satisfied with the product and with the service will be loyal to the brand and will help the business to earn new customers as they will be prompted to recommend the brand to others.

Humanizing customer experience through digital is possible, yet it is necessary to have an innovative model

“The first thing to do to make digitization projects successful is to make them more human. It is necessary to digitize trust first rather than products and services.” This statement opened the “B2Human” session, during the IBM Think Summit 2019 in Milan, dedicated to the evolutionary trends of the relationship between supply and demand in the consumer sector. Digital technologies and their innovative applications have completely overturned social dynamics and markets by redefining the way people search, buy and enjoy products and services. It is well known that the value of a product or service is perceived not only by its content but also by the overall experience that a customer goes through by interacting with the brand. It is the person, the buyer, who judges the overall experience, thus declaring whether it was a failure or a success. The consumer is attentive, demanding and ‘not very faithful’ as he or she is constantly searching for products able to satisfy him or her, not only from a rational point of view but also emotionally. As managers have to handle this evolved consumer ‘persona’, it is more difficult to define interaction processes in line with expectations. Consequently, companies must question not only their strategies but the entire business model and the technologies that support it.

 

The behavior of user-clients forces companies to change their business model

According to the data presented in the C-Suite Study 2018 by the IBM Institute for Business Value, it is possible to identify three different types of managerial figures able to re-evaluate the company’s business model to better respond to users’ needs:

Reinventor

They represent 27% of the analyzed sample – they have redirected their resources to achieve new goals, expanding relationships with business partners and acquiring value from ecosystems. They pay a lot of attention to people’s capabilities and have restructured their organizations, not only from a technological but also from a cultural point of view. They are encouraging experimentation and fostering the development of new ideas. They are ahead of everyone else in co-creation and collaboration with customers and partners; they know how to exploit data and benefit from the aggregated information derived from it.

Aspirational

They represent 36% of the database – they have a balanced approach that allows them to simultaneously manage the digitization process of their company and to quickly change direction to seize new opportunities along the way. The biggest challenges for these profiles and their organizations are: to have a clear vision and strategy, to have the execution capacity and resources to support it, and, most importantly, to have talented employees and reliable partners.

Practitioner

They represent 37% of the total – they have not understood how to match their ambitions with their work yet. More than half of them are planning to evaluate and implement new business models in the coming years. Some of them are ready to take more risks to “get back in the game”, thus redefining the logic of the competitive markets to which they belong or deciding to enter others. Practitioners are considering one of the business models which has been defined as the most radical one: the platform business model.

 

New business models which can dictate new ways of interpreting the role of Innovation.

The innovation of the business model, which has become a fundamental part of the company’s strategies, goes hand in hand with the technological evolution. It is necessary to maintain or surpass the pace of competition and, therefore, to stay in line with regulatory changes that continuously transform the global landscape.

SaaS digital platforms, which evolved to support emerging business models, enable the introduction of new digital capabilities to support people (internal or external to the organization) very quickly, with agile and scalable tools.

An innovation strategy that includes innovative digital services, delivered according to a platform model, can help organizations increase operational efficiency, improve relationships with their partners and manage a multi-level CX that refocus the attention back on the needs of individuals.

Those companies that have been the first ones to re-think their business positioning and business model, and have exploited digital to evolve toward more efficient and streamlined processes, are an important benchmark for the market and a reference for innovation managers.

 

By Luca Spina – Chief Marketing Officer, Intesa (an IBM Company)

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