2015 will challenge companies to take their CX from reactive to preactive.
If you have ever been to a great restaurant you know the value of world-class service. The thing that always impresses me about a seasoned wait-staff is their Jedi-like ability to almost predict what I want before I want it. Why yes, I would like my beverage topped off and thank you very much we are ready for the check now. The quality of timing and recommendations have a direct impact on tips. Good waiters and waitresses know how to maximize them.
This ability to predict is something that has not happened often in the CX space on a large scale. Historically, many have been content with letting people stub their toe and then figuring out ways to recover later. The emphasis has been on quick contact after a service failure. If we are doing an especially good job, we look at the institutional situation that created the sub-optimal experience and try to fix the process, people, or both in an effort to ward of the proverbial stubbed toe in the first place. These practices are admirable and still needed, but they are very problem based and oh so 2014.
It is time to stop using CXM exclusively in a reactive mode and turn our attention to a preactive approach. We now have the technology to become predictive in a helpful way. Marketers have long “targeted” customers for products and services as if they are enemy combatants hiding in a spider hole. I’m not talking about that. I’m talking about anticipating and fulfilling needs at the individual level using behavioral, emotional, and attitudinal data.
A couple of things have made this possible now more than ever. First it starts with data. OK I’m not going to say the B** D*** phrase, but there is more available data out there than ever…and it’s connected to individuals. This makes for possibility of predicting individual needs or wants. I was recently considering a Wii for my kids for Christmas and I’ll be darned if I did not have ads placed on my Facebook page.
What makes ubiquity of data possible is not just the data, but the people willing to share it. For free. Now people are no longer hiding, they are readily sharing a shocking amount of information in exchange for valuable services. Why yes, you can have my location in exchange for finding a Taxi quickly. Why yes, you can know my music preference so you can recommend other gems I might enjoy. This seems to be a cohort issue, where the younger you are, the less you tend to care about what people know about you. In the words of my twenty-something friend ,“Why do I care if someone knows where I get my haircut or I buy my orange juice, look all you want, I’m not that interesting.”
Oh but you are. Because with individual level data we can move beyond the aggregate to make individual predictions. Netflix and Amazon are seminal pioneers in the predictive space offering suggested product selections, but that is just the beginning. Uber, the popular riding sharing service, is working toward predicting where people want to go based on their profile. Walmart has an app where you enter your shopping list and it will direct to rebates. In the future they will gather enough data on your shopping list to predict when you are out of toilet paper or toothpaste based on your shopping history. A great example of a helpful application to make your life easier.
This preactive approach will and arguably has invaded the CX space. We can use it to predict problems before they occur. If we know Mr. Jones typically checks out very early we can ensure we have a newspaper there waiting for him. We can model when a customer is on the fence of leaving a brand and be proactive and retaining them. In short, we can use it to help customers by delivering value, versus jamming product down their throats.
The future is, as always, looking forward. The world of CXM is also going to be future looking versus reactive. As long as we are using data to increase customer value versus abusing the trust established with customer it will continue to be a virtuous cycle of providing better customer experience and customers remain attitudinally and behaviorally loyal to brands.