Here is one more exciting video from the Customer Experience Summit and the CX Talks gathering in Atlanta October 2, 2017. Rob Sherell from Nort Highland speaks about the evolution of experience and why we need to humanize the customer experience. What can you learn from this? Type your comments and thoughts below and share if you like it. <3
Here is a full transcript of this 10-minute video and presentation.
How is everybody doing this afternoon? Take the energy up a little bit. So I'm Rob Cheryl. I am one of the founding partners of Spark's Grove which is an experienced design firm, headquartered here in Atlanta and also a division of North Highland, where I lead our global customer experience practice across our 21 offices in the US in London.
And today it's my mission we're going to talk about the evolution of experience, in particular, let's start with an assumption. I'm going to guess that most of you guys in the room did not have a problem finding a conference today. You probably use the apps or Ways or Google Maps which is likely relatively easy.
The past experience of using a map
Think back about five or six years ago where what you probably did was would have to enter the address of the conference or maybe on Mapquest, print something out bring it with you kind of look at it as you're driving through rush hour traffic trying to hit the person in front of you, or think back perhaps to when you were a child as you were thinking about navigating that summer trip with your mom and dad. I remember in my circumstance mom and dad were fighting over the Rand McNally Atlas and mom thought she knew where we were. Dad was certain he knew where he where we were but somehow we were always late to get to the kids to vacation.
The point of all that is that ultimately over time the definition of easy changes what was once easy now seems difficult. What was once seemed like it was orchestrated, now can seem very disconnected. And so as experience evolves our brands and the companies that try to provide the products and services that we need to meet those expectations and those experiences have also to evolve. So over the next seven or eight minutes, we'll talk a little bit about where we find ourselves today and what we as companies and brands and service providers clients need to do to push the next evolution of experience.
The evolution of customer experience and differentiation
We're going to start by trying to understand what how we get to where we are too kind of understand where we're going. So in terms of the competitive forces and kind of areas of differentiation that early 20th century was a lot of our product said those companies that could deliver consistent quality from product perspective whether through mass production techniques or the industrial revolution or through the artisan and craftsman, customers were making choices related to product quality. Over time people began to expect that most products were going to have a standard based on a quality and things began to stack on top of that.
So you had great products, but now you needed to begin to think about how did you add it, engaging and intriguing brand on top of those basic quality attributes that we found in those products. So what potentially personifies that type of period would be in the 60s and 70s the cola wars between Pepsi and Coke, by almost any measure Pepsi would win all of the standard taste tests, and people would say they had the best product but Coke would win market share and so was ultimate is a triumph of brand over product. As we began to move in the next era of differentiation, you had that great product, and you had great brands but now became much more important to think about relationships.
Welcome to the experience economy and the segment of one
So Peppers and Rogers published a book in 1993 around the one to one marketing and the importance of relationships. And perhaps this period was best personified by IBM, who moved from a product company with a great brand and moved into services and their stock price over the preceding ten year period certainly, certainly showed that kind of evolution. Then as we move from product, great products, great brands began to think about relationships and one to one marketing at the end of the 1990s and 1998 in particular, two professors at Harvard Business School Pine & Gilmore published an article probably the most important article published in customer experience and title "Welcome to the experience economy". In the next year, they published a book by the same name, and it basically proclaimed that experience was going to be the next era differentiation. Corporate America didn't listen.
In fact, for ten years not much changed.
From relationships to the beginning of customer experience war
I think the next bell moment was in 2007 when Bruce Temkin, you guys may know and Harley Manning, Bruce was at Forrester or at that time, published an article called Experience face differentiation, where they talked about and proclaimed the customer experience wars were beginning. Remember this is 2007 this is now ten years ago. But they basically said you don't need to obsess about customer needs, and you need to treat customer experience as a competence. And so over the proceeding over the last ten years companies have begun to do that while we're all in this room. That's what we've seen kind of the evolution of competitive differentiation based on experience. And so Gartner would say today that nine out of 10 companies are competing in this category of customer experience. But if we look back at history and we see those different areas where you know the product was a standard differentiator then it became about the brand.
Then it became about relationships. Now it's about the experience.
Higher purpose and meaning
It only follows that something will be next in terms of competitive differentiation. So you know the dimensions of customer experience won't change. You always need empathy to deliver easy relevant and orchestrated experiences. But what happens when Easy can't get any easier. When every you know was about the pick-up in store then it's about delivery to my house than it's about next day delivery then it's about a six-hour window. It's about a two-hour window than it's about a drone delivering and immediately. What happens when Easy can't get easier? Diminishing marginal utility for customers means that they begin to expect and look for something more. They begin to look for higher order meaning.
And so all of us this customer experience professionals begin to think about what does that mean as I'm looking to deliver great customer experience what do I need to begin to think about next. That's where we've been spending a lot of time. There are signals out there that suggest what you need to be spending time on. So look at a couple of examples. Fairphone is probably a company most you've not heard of. Headquartered in Amsterdam. They produce smartphones and that by almost any measure most people would say these smartphones are adequate in terms of features and functionality.
However, they've sold about 100000 of them in the last couple of years. It's because people aren't buying the product. The smartphone they're buying the purpose of Fairphone. Fairphone has decided to re-imagine how sustainable and humanitarian based supply chain in every smartphone on the planet you need tungsten and gold. In most cases, tungsten and gold are produced through mining practices that are in many cases corrupt in all and many cases in war-torn ravaged countries where humanitarian conditions because the mining practices are fairly impactful to the local populace.
So Fairphone made it a mission to be the first company on the planet to source conflict-free tungsten and gold. So that's what's in their products. So when people are buying Fairphone they're not buying the attributes of that product they're buying the mission and purpose of that organization to create a better planet for all of us. That's an early signal of where things may be moving in terms of the differentiation related to customer experience. Other early signals you guys are probably very familiar with this brand recreated a category in been in a category now owns 40 percent of the Greek yogurt market in the U.S. and was only found in 2005.
So the signal here is this company is not about just great products and great locally sourced ingredients and great marketing. This company is about social and company consciousness. They donate 10 percent of their profits to charities around them around the world.
One-third of our workforce is immigrants to this country. They employ over 500 refugees from various parts of war-torn countries across the country that are seeking asylum in the US. This company is not just about great products. They are about a conscious organization founded by an individual whose purpose was not just about selling more yogurt. It was about changing the world and said this type of momentum, and you see in many startups almost every startup now is a purpose-driven startup is a contest driven startup. This is just one that's already made its mark in a relatively short amount of time. So as we look at other signals and there's too many to show in a 10-minute speech other signals from other types of organizations that you begin to need to look at as you think about how do I differentiate in the next area come from even organizations like governments and Department of Veterans Affairs.
Intelligence predictive analytics and customer experience
Unfortunately, veterans are 20 percent more likely to commit suicide than non-veterans of the same age and so veterans affairs and most recently as being in unit been using data sources cognitive intelligence predictive analytics to understand and predict what veterans may be more susceptible and a higher risk. And they've started calling veterans who exhibit risk indices on a weekly basis to begin to connect with them and talk to them and proactively define a new type of relationship, so that use of cognition and go in much more beyond empathy. Customer experience is about empathy. The next day our competition is about predicting what customer and stakeholder needs are before they even know they need it themselves by using the data and intelligence around us. So there are some early quick signals that suggest that where we're moving in terms of the next era of competition is not about customer experience you're going to have to have a great product.
You've got a great brand. You've got to understand where relationships are and you've got to have a great customer experience. But when Easy becomes easy and that marginal utility becomes a little bit less interesting to those customers, and they can choose between products it's going to be humanity that wins the day. So the next day of competition in our opinion is human experience and humanity. So as you go back to your companies and you'd be in it or those clients of your service and if you're on the professional services side, you need to begin to think about how do I deliver a great customer experience embedded with humanity.
How do we deliver a human experience? First of all, you've got to be purposeful. Count customers employees are only going to join those organizations they feel had a purpose that's bigger than the product or service that people are selling.
You've got to be cognizant you've got to use data to predict experiences and predict needs before customers are stakeholders even if they're going to have them yet to be adapted to the world around you. And ultimately you've got to build something that's conscious. Thank you.