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It’s All about Digital E3!

We have moved on from thinking about the world of SMAC (Social, Mobile, Analytics, Cloud), which is a very technology centric view of this revolution. Now that SMAC has been joined by IOT, Intelligent Business and Virtual Reality/Augmented Reality plus others, the term no longer applies as before. In fact, we at NIIT contend “SMAC is dead, long live SMAC.”

Today, digital business leaders’ focus is all about digital outcomes. Reduced costs, improved revenues, strengthened competitive positioning, increased operational agility, and speed are all critical elements. However, the most important outcome of all, that drives all of these, is the experiences that are created for customers, employees and business partners. People will repeatedly engage with experiences that are effective and easy but they will champion, applaud, advocate and keep coming back to experiences that are emotionally empathetic, that “Speak to Me.” These Digital enabled Emotionally Empathetic Experiences, we call Digital E3.

Circumstances or contexts define different Digital E3 priorities for different people. However, there are some uniform expectations. The best companies understand these expectations, deeply understand their customers, and deliver on the key “Digital Hows” that meet and exceed these expectations, Digital How’s that coincide with customers’ “moments of truth” or recognized “pain points” or “friction points” or help the customer manage their journey across multiple moments of truth, channels, and devices or even the entire customer lifetime relationship.

We have researched the most important Digital E3 elements that will enable companies in our key industry sectors to win. Some of those are:

Digital E3 #1: “Feeling Special” in Travel - The overwhelming emotion that most people feel in most travel experiences is stress— either the train is late, the plane is delayed, or security lines are long, or just the limousine is stuck in traffic. Companies have endeavored to provide tools such as mobile apps to help give the customer some level of control (or appearance of control anyway). However, these only go part of the way in achieving the truly transformational and loyalty generating experiences that customers want. We need to identify opportunities to make our customers feel truly special based on their very personal needs.

If we consider this from a customer perspective, a Travel Journey can be considered a Trip comprising seven key segments 1) Pre-Trip moments where companies are looking to engage, educate, and inform usually through marketing strategies to be the provider of choice to various stages involving 2) Trip consideration through 3) Trip Selection, 4) Trip Purchase, 5) Trip Refinement/Planning, 6) Trip Execution and 7) Post-Trip.

Digital E3 #2: “Cared For” in Insurance - The overwhelming emotion associated with Insurance is Fear. Insurance is sold based on fear of what might happen. Customers generally fear that they have not got the best product for them at the best price when they purchase Insurance. Customers are confident, rightly or wrongly, that Insurance professionals push the products that pay them the best commissions and not the products that are best for the customer. Many, if not most, customers fear that the Insurance company will find ways not to pay or pay appropriately when a claim occurs and even during the claims process there is an undercurrent of fear that the claim will not be paid or it will be so slow as to cause other issues. Finding ways to make customers feel cared for can include easy online quote processes, externally certified competitor product comparisons, easy online one-click claims processes, named care associates with personal phone numbers, emails, chat and social media accounts, field insurance professionals with “on the spot” payment abilities, “click for details” (feature) behind decisions and periodic insurance portfolio reviews, all of which provide touchpoints to make the Insurance customers feel Cared For.

Digital E3 #3: “Appropriate Returns” in Investment Banking - Everyone wants returns for their savings and investments.  However, everyone’ risk tolerance is not the same, there is no such thing as a standard expected return and some people are perfectly willing to forego returns if gaining those returns requires involvement with undesirable products or companies. I can gain 500% returns in a day if I take my lifetime savings to Vegas or Macao but I can also lose it all, that understanding should back my informed decision.

Customers rightly fear that investment professionals are focused on maximizing their own commissions and income but most have little to compare against. Success requires understanding an individual’s needs and providing products that meet those needs in the right way and with the right level of information and access to deliver comfort to that customer. Online investment providers like Schwab, E*Trade, Interactive Brokers, Fidelity, Boom and Saxo have revolutionized customer expectations. However, there are still significant digital opportunities to capture greater asset share in established and emerging markets by balancing risk and reward and maximizing experience. For example, Assets Under Management (AUM) from Digital Artificial Intelligence investment managers, which allow massive reductions in management fees, have nearly exploded with Schwab Intelligent Portfolios hitting $4.1 billion and Vanguard Personal Advisor Services hitting $26 billion by the end of Sept 2015.

Digital E3 #4:“Personalized” in Media - We are all overwhelmed with media and messages. In broadcast TV, we all know the “500 channels and nothing on” syndrome. Now these broadcast channels have been joined by 10,000 or millions of sources of internet broadcasting. Waking to 100 marketing email messages and 100 social messages on our phones is not unusual today. Add all the games, apps, magazines, radio, and other sources of information and consumers desperately need help sorting through the vast quantities of information irrelevant to or undesired by them to get to the content they really want.

Since the majority of these media “broadcasts” earns money through advertising, the advertisers are increasingly requiring some kind of assurance about the customers they are gaining access to. The more filtering of attention, the higher return from messages that resonate and “convert” and the more advertisers will pay for that attention.  Recent digital evolutions that have garnered attention are intelligent voice activated “guides” on TV that also incorporate Internet programming, filters on mobile digital devices, which screen out digital advertising and “personalized newsroom” apps that aggregate news and information from hundreds of sources.

Digital E3 #5: An “Awesome Lifecycle Experience” in Manufacturing or Products - The manufacturing, distribution, retail, and delivery supply chain is undergoing radical transformation everywhere. Products (and, in fact, services) tend to be bought on value or manufacturer brand (and sometimes on both). The job of a manufacturing “brand” is to enhance the value of their products in the eyes of their customers and to enhance the value they bring to the customer. This includes ensuring that retailers, dealers, service agents, and other intermediaries and business are enabled to add appropriate value given the preferences of the customer and the tools available in today’s digital world. In auto manufacturing, for example, the product is one of the most expensive things people buy in most parts of the world (the first is a home.. in the U.S.A., these days the second might be a college education!). Auto manufacturers are using digital technology like websites, apps, email and social media to engage with customers during pre-purchase stage (what we call the “dreaming phase”) and then guide the customer through comparative shopping while ensuring that dealers provide a full personalized, digital experience when a customer walks in. They also have intelligence about what actions the customer has performed online prior to visiting the dealer. 

Nowadays, the auto manufacturer that best moves customer emotions around the dealer and service experience “from fear to joy,” from “mundane to awesome” will dominate the market.

It is not difficult to imagine the evolving world of augmented and virtual reality changing the entire purchase experience as customers “test drive in their own home” and for digital devices, which predict service problems to allow companies to move to a model of guaranteed monthly payment service contracts for life. A truly “Awesome Lifecycle Experience” through the selection, purchase, usage/service, and even resale and secondary ownership levels awaits the contemporary customer.

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