Real time, on demand places demands on functional alignment in businesses


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Consumer expectations around all things digital are immense, especially amongst the digital elite(1). We expect to be able to immediately search for and find products, buy through one click ordering, know quickly if the train is late or if a delivery is on its way. We can find out the name of a music track we are listening to and buy it immediately or stream a film that we want to see on demand. We can access travel e-tickets, boarding passes and loyalty cards on our smartphones. We can see consumer reviews of the product we are thinking of buying, and independent ones at that. Without them, we might not buy. Likewise, we can tell people what we think and our message can be amplified many times through social media. Astonishingly, this is all starting to seem commonplace, a routine part of our daily lives.

With the increase in penetration of smart phones and tablets, the demand curve for these sorts of consumer friendly offerings and interactions will be close to exponential. We’re just at the start of this curve though. The ‘internet of things’, with everything connected, will accelerate our ability to develop fantastic experiences. It doesn’t take a phD marketer to link together a concept involving a TV ‘cooking’ programme , a smartphone or tablet pc app, a social dialogue around the programme, an online shopping application, micro-transmitter barcodes, an intelligent fridge, a specialist wine merchant, an online music retailer, a gifting app (and so on) in a way that, through smart digital connections and data use, a consumer can easily and quickly copy or uniquely design an experience, enabled by a number of suppliers.

It is important now, more than at any other time in business history, that the business pulls together as a whole. Sales, service, marketing (traditional, direct, digital, mobile, near real time), product design, development and after sales, technical specialists, contact centre, strategic alliances, IT, legal, logistics, inventory, supply chain and procurement must be agile and joined up in a way that can initially identify opportunities to deliver great experiences and then maximise consumer engagement and sales. As the example above shows, products are turning into services and services into collaborations of agile alliances between different organisations. Driven by a deep consumer knowledge; maximising the power of data and insight; integrating digital and mobile execution integrated brilliantly with traditional channels all in the context of a clear customer strategy are critical requirements of today’s forward looking organisations. Like the services they provide, customer operating models needs to be agile, effective and customer focused designed to engage customers, profitably. If the above resonates, please talk to us. We have world class tools (SCHEMAR) and expertise to help you understand how you can better deliver data driven, profitable, customer experiences in an increasingly digital world.

Republished with author's permission from original post.

Neil Woodcock
Neil is Chairman and CEO of The Customer Framework Ltd. and visiting Professor at Henley Business School. An honours graduate, he worked in B2B sales & marketing with Mobil Oil, B2C marketing with Unilever and consultancy services with Andersen Consulting & McKinsey. Neil has written 5 books on customer management, is on the editorial board of leading journals and is an Honorary Fellow of the IDM.


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