What’s A Company To Do When Its Customers Develop Superhuman Powers?


Share on LinkedIn

From his ability to fly to X-ray vision and other enhanced senses, Superman has among the best-known catalog of powers. Coming from another planet, it’s only to be expected that he’d be more than just “a little different.”

But what about those who started out human and became something more as the result of outside forces? For Spider-Man, it was the bite of an irradiated spider that changed young Peter Parker’s life forever. For Bruce Banner, it was an “experimental gamma bomb” that forever altered the meaning of the word “Hulk” for millions around the world.

For your customers, what started as access to the Web while tethered to the desk has morphed, with portable digital devices and a few apps giving them access to everything, from everywhere, whenever they want.

Your Customers–And Those You’d Like To Be Your Customers–Have Changed As Well
Just as Captain America was transformed from a weak, young man into the “perfect human specimen” at the very pinnacle of strength, stamina, and agility, digital innovation means today’s customers have gone from being relatively credulous and somewhat passive consumers to nearly superhuman themselves.

Often having a better understanding of–and faster access to–information on competitive pricing and product quality than the salesperson sitting across the desk, or in the aisle, or on the phone, these smart customers have become something very like:

  • All-knowing, with instant access to facts about your prices, product specifications, and those of your competitors’.
  • Multilingual, able to communicate in any language.
  • Omnipresent, able to use applications with preset triggers to instantly respond as products and opportunities become available.
  • Insightful, spotting patterns in data and emerging trends with the immense computing power at their fingertips.
  • Ultra-aware, deepening their experiences by augmenting what they see, hear, and smell.
  • Supersensitive, noticing sights, sounds, and changes happening far away–on larger (and smaller) scales than before, thanks to billions of sensors around the world embedded in everything from medical devices, automobiles, and grocery stores to backyard gardens.

Give Your Company Superhuman Qualities
The same disruptive forces and digital devices driving your customers’ superhuman capabilities can do the same for your company; start by looking at your firm through the lens of these smart customers.

For example, smart customers will refuse to be put on hold or engage in inane, scripted customer service calls. What if you are the first company in your industry to ensure your customers will never have to do this again? Smart customers never again need pay anything but the lowest possible price for the commoditized items they need. What if you find a way to personalize what you sell, thereby re-positioning your competition–and boosting your margins in the process?

When it comes to innovative digital disruption, nearly every company has massive opportunities.

Or take a bigger step back and look at your entire industry. While there are many examples, let’s take a look at an $18 billion industry that has remained relatively unchanged for decades: parking.

describe the imageStreetline is one firm that’s developing it’s own superhuman capabilities. Becoming “all-knowing,” it’s leveraging the disruptive force of digital sensors in parking spaces, meters, and garages in several large cities to aggregateand analyze information on parking availability. Its mobile app, Parker, alerts drivers to open spots, gives alerts on meters about to expire, and allows users to reserve spaces.

Cash-strapped cities and municipalities also can leverage these capabilities to drive revenue and better allocate resources as parking enforcement identifies expired meters. Cities such as San Francisco are developing their own apps (SFpark) using Streetline servers to provide demand-responsive pricing andcreate greater parking availability, while alleviating circling and double-parking.

Bring Superhuman Capabilities To Your Industry
Companies like Streetline are disrupting their industries and innovating the ways customers think about and use products and services; they’re among those firms already raising the bar on customer expectations. Not only are we facing a marketplace of smart customers with near-superhuman capabilities, but those customers are increasingly expecting (and often demanding) smart experiences from the companies and municipalities that serve them.

We recognize that, for most companies, integrating digital innovation into tried-and-true customer service models requires a brand new way of thinking. And it may be difficult to move your organizational culture into a mindset of placing these smart customers at the center of your business; quite likely this is going to change the ways your company functions. It may be that incremental changes are the only way you can begin. But begin you must.

After all, companies that seize these opportunities to deliver ever-smarter customer experiences will leapfrog the competition by providing delightful, fast, simple, and satisfying products and services that will lead to greater loyalty from and stronger connections with their customers.

Those that do not will be increasingly marginalized, making room for both upstart, new companies and established organizations better able to respond to–and profit from–the radically greater customer expectations these superhuman capabilities have created.

Republished with author's permission from original post.


Please use comments to add value to the discussion. Maximum one link to an educational blog post or article. We will NOT PUBLISH brief comments like "good post," comments that mainly promote links, or comments with links to companies, products, or services.

Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here