Exceptional customer experiences in a new era of big data and collaboration
Andrew Grill 270007EEAA firstname.lastname@example.org | | Tags:  customer socbiz big-data design experiences ted@ibm future andrew_grill reimagine ted
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Customer experience design is a blend of everything that affects a person’s emotional experience with a service or product. But it’s not as simple as following the numbers. Creating exceptional customer experiences uses a lot of data, iteration, research, testing, intuition, and empathy. As our ability to access and understand information about our customers improves, what does it mean for how we reimagine these experiences?
How can you design exceptional experiences?
Take the lowly, bland, annoying 404 page for example. This is the error message you encounter when you try to access a page that no longer exists (or perhaps never did). No one wants to land on this page. And yet, as this TED Talk by Renny Gleeson shows, companies have found a way to turn this annoyance into an opportunity to surprise and even delight customers. Renny’s message is, “Well-designed moments build brands.”
Or consider the music industry, which historically struggled to find its feet in the digital world. In Ryan Holladay’s TED Talk, “To hear this music you have to be there, literally,” he explains how he is experimenting with what he describes as "location-aware music." This programming and musical feat involves hundreds of geotagged segments of sounds that only play when a listener is physically nearby.
The key to designing exceptional experiences is understanding the customer.
This is where big data and analytics come in. In the past, focus groups and surveys were the best if not the only tools companies had to gauge customer sentiment, understand preferences, identify potential PR problems, etc. This approach could only reach a limited number of respondents, who may or may not answer honestly, and is inherently backward-looking.
Today, forward thinking companies like Wimbledon Championships, Shop.CA, SKYItalia and Rackspace understand customers not by looking at where they’ve been, but rather by identifying where they are now and predicting where they’re headed. They are able to gather information about them in the moment at any touch point, combine it with data from other sources, and transform it into insights that can be used to target actions that influence the customer experience.
Big data and analytics technologies are delivering those insights, which will just get deeper and better in the future. According to IBM research, 65 percent of executives already use social business tools to better understand market shifts (MIT Sloan Management Review, Social Business Study: Shifting out of First Gear, July 2013), and companies that use social tools report 36 percent better customer service (ESG Research Report, Social Enterprise Adoption Trends, June 2012).
Are you ready to reimagine big data?
Being able to understand and relate to how your customers will feel when they interact with your product is really what designing exceptional experiences is all about. The organizations that fare the best will be those that are able to combine insights and imagination to surprise and delight people at every turn. From elegant lines tracing airline flights to landscapes of cell phone calls, big data reflects on cultural trends and the rapidly changing relationship between humans and technology.
Join me and other industry influencers on Thursday, July 24 to discuss how organizations are reimagining big data at www.CrowdChat.net/TEDatIBM.