This month marks the 20th anniversary of Britain’s Thrust SSC team setting the FiA’s World Land Speed Record of 763.035mph. Twenty years of technical innovation later the same team are launching the BLOODHOUND SSC this weekend, the new car designed to reach a new FiA World Land Speed Record of 1,000mph. New technology is helping those pioneers who dare to win. New technical innovation is also powering new possibilities for brands. Forbes have summarised the Forrester Research Top 10 Technology Trends to Watch*. We’ve summarised what these developments will mean for brands trying to improve customer relationships through enhanced customer engagement. The technology has arrived, the future’s here, now. Strap in, fasten your seat belts, we’re in for an exciting ride.
1. Insights-driven firms will outpace competitors
Insights-driven businesses, designed for continuous measurement and optimisation, will outpace the competition. Insights-driven means insight that is actionable, so brands can go on to do something useful. By 2019, Forrester predicts, “many data lakes crumble, and data strategy work stalls. More firms learn insights-driven lessons.” For improved customer engagement, this will happen in Customer Journey Analytics to listen to and understand true customer behaviour, and then these insights will power personalisation, all in real-time, driving ever-increasing levels of value for both the customer and the brand.
2. The Internet of Everything
If you think there’s been an explosion in devices and touchpoints in the last few years, things are about to go Nuclear. The IoT (Internet of Things) is about to become omni-Internet everywhere in everything. The Smart Car is another Touchpoint. The Smart Home is yet another Touchpoint. The refrigerator is an Interaction Point in the Smart Home. Edge Computing, where we are pushing the frontier of computing, enables analytics and data gathering to occur at the source of the data, in the moment, in real-time. The new tech will help to close the lag between data, insight, and action, and will help brands to engage customers more quickly. Exploiting computing power on the edge will give brands a competitive edge as they enhance every customer interaction across the Internet of Everything.
3. Clever journey-based software which learns
With improvements in AI, software systems that we used to have to program with rules are learning how to learn on their own. At the heart of a customer engagement platform the acceleration of self-learning will enable personalisation to become far more relevant, as adaptive engagement profiles of customers adapt and evolve faster. The Hub will be able to listen, recognise, analyse and personalise at ever-increasing rates, delivering value faster.
4. Omni-channel becomes universal
As brands increasingly accept they need to provide customers with joined-up journeys, the best will further fuse digital and physical experiences. The boundaries between the human, digital, physical, and virtual realms are blurring. Customer-obsessed firms are integrating systems of insight and systems of engagement that interconnect people, places, and objects with data to improve customer engagement and forge two-way relationships. Leaders will focus on the human experience and invest significantly to integrate technology into the physical experiences of both customers and employees. Forrester expects significant growth in the use of technologies that fuse digital and physical experiences via mobile devices, such as image recognition, gestures, voice, and augmented reality. By 2019, Forrester predicts, “firms will augment physical experiences with emerging digital technologies.”
5. Contextual privacy boosts brand value
Consumers are concerned about data security and privacy, forcing transparency in firms’ data collection and use practices. The law in the EU is changing with GDPR to enforce this. Top firms will look beyond risk reduction and compliance, employing contextual privacy to drive customer retention and loyalty. Contextual privacy is a business practice in which the collection and use of personal data is consensual, within a mutually agreed-upon context, for a mutually agreed-upon purpose, to mutually agreed value to be exchanged between brand and consumer. Moreover, if current privacy concerns reflect a lack of trust customers have, then in the future improved contextual privacy will improve the trust people have in brands. By 2020, Forrester predicts, “customer-obsessed firms will recognize contextual privacy as a competitive differentiator for long-term loyalty.” A customer engagement platform will be able to understand the different contexts for a customer at any given point in time, on any touchpoint, channel or device, and be able to deliver the contextual privacy experience, further reinforcing a stronger, longer relationship with trust.
6. Start with Employee Engagement for Customer Engagement
Get your house in order; successfully engaging customers starts at home. Successful brands will focus on Employee Engagement as a catalyst to better customer engagement, as employees will be able to deliver more to customers through their improved engagement, service delivery, communication, learning, collaboration, and talent development. By 2020, Forrester predicts, “firms successful with employee experience systems of engagement will experiment with personalised employee experience.” A good litmus test for employee engagement today is on social media. How many of your employees are your brand advocates?
7. It’s all about the Customer-Managed Journey
Journeys will become the main way brands will evaluate customer experience. This will be enabled by journey visioning and journey analytics tools which give brands a complete view of customer’s behaviour in real-time, and then be able to orchestrate the most relevant experience for each customer. For a while marketers will have the technology but apply it using yesterday’s thinking, like thinking to get somewhere in a car you’ll have to have roads so you think you need a roadmap; if your future car can fly, then you don’t need roads.
Enlightened marketers who enable customers to manage their own journeys and focus on serving their customer needs instead of controlling them will reap the real rewards from the new technology.
He who dares, wins.
We wish the British pioneering BLOODHOUND SSC Project well with this weekend’s launch.