If the first two months of 2016 are any indication, the Chinese New Year symbolism of 2016 being “The Year Of The Monkey” could not be more apt. Global markets are volatile. Europe is contending with both a migrant crisis and the prospect of a “Brexit” (that’s local slang for the UK exiting from the European Union). South America is grappling with the contagion of both the Zika virus and economic turmoil. The Chinese are just finishing their collective New Year’s party and the US presidential election discourse has been reduced to a truly primate intellectual level. Makes for a great macro-economic environment to commercialize customer experience (CX) solutions, doesn’t it?
In fact, there couldn’t be a better time or reason for organizations to be investing in new ways to both retain and attract customers. When the company that makes one of the most innovative and differentiated products in history, the iPhone, sees slowing sales for the first time ever, it highlights the need for organizations worldwide to think about how products become services, and how those services become differentiated from competitors and habit-forming for customers. Commoditization is becoming real, and experiences are the only way for organizations today to avoid being commoditized into the grave of old-line business models.
Where innovation and technology meet, incredible things are happening that change the relationship between customer and company—with customer experience often at the core. Uber’s CEO is predicting a driver-less car experience for the company. Drones are being built that can carry humans. Smart machines and devices connect us with cloud services that can do anything from deliver our groceries to advise us on health regimens.
These disruptions apply across industries. Banks are moving from bricks and mortar to mobile apps. Governments are finally embracing digital, with self-service kiosks and smart meters replacing outdated technologies. Big data is giving insurance companies the ability to quote premiums in seconds instead of days, and target precisely their ideal customers and risk models. In the energy sector, solar is moving the consumer to the energy producer. And finally, the ‘gig economy’ is changing the very definition of what constitutes a company, with the likes of Airbnb, Lyft, and Instacart, among others, bringing disruption to entire sectors.
For the company with a mission of delivering the world’s best customer experiences, “The Year Of The Monkey” is the perfect time for the kind of disruption we need to elevate why CX is so important. And for organizations to embrace CX not for short-term objectives, but for long-term competitive differentiation and both company and customer value creation. It’s a great time to be taking the reins as the global sales executive at Genesys, and I look forward to continuing to listen to how we can best serve customers with the most inspired and passionate team of CX professionals and solutions on the planet!