Tag Archives: Customer Experience

Data + AI is the new customer experience (CX) currency: adapting to the accelerating pace of customer changes

Data + AI = New Customer Experience Currency?

I do speak to a lot of marketers and CX practitioners around the globe about the fast pace of customer changes – which has been accelerated by COVID-19. Bring to it, technology and regulatory changes, and it certainly comes as an interesting time to be leading a deep transformation and make your business thrive in today’s world.

Today, being committed to customer-centricity is more important than ever for a brand. So improved management of customer data is the key component to success.

In  2019 Mcdonald’s invested $300M in acquisition for Dynamic Yield, an Israeli AI company specializing in personalization and decision logic technology, and again for Apprente a silicon Valley AI-powered speech understanding company.

Why is the world’s largest fast-food chain buying tech startups?

McDonald’s realized that the ability to detect customer signals quickly, to make offers, and to deliver them across digital channels are essentials to win in their industry.

The first application of the technology appeared in McDonald’s drive-thrus by optimizing the digital menu board. The features included detecting the customers, their car type, the people sitting in the car, factoring in seasonality and the time of day. AI is driving the selections on the menu board. Instead of an overwhelming 35 items, only 7 of the most likely items to be selected are displayed based on past preferences and patterns. The result: orders are placed faster, and both the average order size and the volume of cars able to get through at peak meal times increased. Taking into account that McDonald’s’ owns 38,000 locations, this represents real revenue.

The next steps are the extension of personalization capabilities to in-store kiosks and McDonald’s mobile app. McDonald’s gets that customer experiences must be personalized and fuelled with data. McDonald’s gets that investing in technologies – AI, real-time customer data, and digital personalization – can deliver strategic competitive advantage.

Where does this acceleration come from? Have companies already used data to bridge the CX gap?

The sanitary crisis we are all going through has accelerated existing trends about CX transformation. As McKinsey reckons: “Indeed, recent data show that we have vaulted five years forward in consumer and business digital adoption in a matter of around eight weeks.”

But what are these major trends?

  1. Experiences define value – more than goods and services.  “The burger was good, but it was great how they knew what I wanted”
  2. The customer is the innovator – the real innovator today is the consumer, whether digital native or like me, digital immigrant. We’re all trying new devices, channels and subscribing to services. Change is a constant. And this applies to B2C consumers and B2B buyers.
  3. Customer journeys are non-linear and unpredictable – we use a mix of digital and physical channels now, often in the same transaction. Today, we talk about digital, physical, and even “phygital”. Customers also want to transact in channels you don’t own like What’s App, Messenger, WeChat, or Smart Speakers.

At all stages of the customer journey — discovery, engagement, consumption, or service — brands should provide  the ability to whoever is to interact with the customer next, including automated touchpoints :

  • the context and channel for the best interaction possible,
  • what to know, say and do

This will in turn provide the most effortless customer experience possible, measured ideally with the Customer Effort Score (CES). Tracking and improving the CES improves associated metrics naturally like Net Promoter Score (NPS), customer satisfaction score (CSAT), and more.

How can we make it happen? Where to start?

I’ve been asked these questions many many times. My answer has invariably been articulated along these lines: start with the data!

  1. Break internal silos and walk the talk of customer centricity: create a central repository (MDM)that combines all of the data you can gather from every department in your business about your customers — front and back-office altogether. This is called 1st party data. This challenge is a matter of logistics and agenda rather than a technology one. If you can, add your ecosystem’s customer data as well, called 2nd party data.
  2. Augment your holistic customer data with the signals they leave all over the digital realm and outside of your own digital “real estate”. This is often referred to 3rd party data. This is heavy-duty as you will be looking at something like 40,000 data points per individual. Aim to collect it the closest to real-time as possible, as you don’t want to miss any of the micro-moments sparkling the customer journey. Each time an individual uses their mobile device to make a decision, take action about going somewhere, knowing, doing, or buying something, your brand should proactively be there in the very micro-moment.
  3. Apply intelligence to your customer data to be able to determine what would be the next best interaction with each of them, in what context, on what channel and who or what in your organization should be delivering it: digital marketing, eCommerce, sales, customer service, … In this area, given the volume of data and the impatience we all developed as individuals, AI and Machine Learning will be your best friends. Ask McDonald when in doubt!
  4. Automate these CX interactions as much as you can, don’t forget about the increasing usage of conversational UI like chatbots, instant messaging, and voice devices. Create consistent digital-first experiences across all channels.
  5. Cultivate authenticity in your interactions as emotions play an important role in customers’ decisions making, personalize every customer interaction across the customer journey taking advantage of the many CX technology vendors as they offer powerful means to help you make it happen.

Data comes from many different touchpoints and activities you can and should conduct:

  • optimizing the website,
  • automating marketing communications,
  • streamlining online commerce and optimizing product ordering and fulfillment,
  • driving efficiencies in in-store POS systems,
  • implementing and upgrading contact centers to better help support customers needs,
  • monitoring and billing for the usage of the products you sell,
  • creating loyalty programs to connect with your most valuable customers

Don’t be shy, be bold!

Overall, reconnect with your customers’ right brain! Do not only rely on demographics, historic data, and other left-brain data-driven methods to evolve the offered experience, but opt for real-life immersion in your customer’s view of the world to address their real pains, and offer value they will perceive vs. your competitors. What the sanitary crisis taught all of us, is that the past does not predict the future in terms of customer behavior. We should always be listening with empathy.

Don’t be shy, be bold! Let’s even try even to challenge your CEO to experience what happens when connecting to customers in real life. In this area, using some design thinking methods could be of great help.

I would be delighted to hear from your own experience and help you during this endeavor. Feel free to reach out.

Article initially published on CX Buzz

Mobile is reordering tech industry and internet forever

traduction française ci-dessous

Try to remember, back in 2010, we anticipated Mobile Internet would overtake fixed Internet by 2014. We actually entered the mobile era for some time already with 5.2B mobile phone users (73% population penetration) and 1.6B of these owning Smartphones, 789M laptop users, an astounding 440M tablet users to be compared to 743M Desktop users and 5.5B TV users.


Tablet Shipment Growth

Tablet Shipment Growth © KPCB

Tablets have been taking this industry by storm. Would you believe it took less than 3 years for tablets shipment to outgrow Desktop and Laptop?

Tablet and smartphone business accounts for nearly 50% of the global consumer electronic industry.

Mobile Apps

Time spent on mobile apps surpasses now the time spent on the web in the US already. Way to go is for every business to have a customer app.

As presented by Benedict Evans from Andreessen Horowitz, Mobile is eating the world. A typical startup back in 2000 would raise $10M with 100 employees and 1M users. Today, startups are raising $1M with 10 employees and 10M users.

That’s it! Our world changed forever. But mobile internet is indeed more than just Smartphones and Tablets, but also MP3 players, cameras and home entertainment, not to forget wearables as watches. Each new computing wave is associated with about 10x the number of users compared to the previous one. The client server one brought 100M+ PCs, Internet brought 1B+ desktop/laptops, mobile will connect 10B+ devices. Let’s not even think of, for now, of the Internet of Things (IoT), it’ll be at least a 10x factor.

Mobile is now becoming the by default place to start thinking about our customers interaction with our brands and their experience of it. Industry after industry, the business transformation to a digital mobile one is happening.

In the meantime, have a look at Mary Meeker latest Internet trends great presentation.

Get ready, we’ll be back on this topic.

Le mobile bouscule l’industie des technologies et l’Internet pour toujours

Essayez de vous rappeler: en 2010 nous avions prévu que l’Internet mobile dépasserait l’Internet fixe en 2014. Nous sommes en fait entrés dans l’ère mobile depuis un certain temps déjà avec 5,2 milliard de téléphones portables (73% de pénétration de la population) dont 1,6 milliard de Smartphones, 789 millions d’ordinateurs portables et un étonnant chiffre de 440 millions de tablettes à rapprocher des 743 millions de PC et 5,5 milliard de télévisions.


Tablet Shipment Growth © KPCB

Tablet Shipment Growth © KPCB

Les tablettes sont entrées dans cette industrie avec force. Croiriez-vous qu’il a fallu moins de 3 ans pour que le nombre de tablettes livrées dépasse celui des PC de bureau et portables?

Le chiffre d’affaire des tablettes et smartphones représente déjà près de 50% de l’industrie mondiale de l’électronique grand public.

Applications mobiles

Le temps passé sur les applications mobiles dépasse maintenant celui passé sur le web aux Etats-Unis déjà. Pour toutes les entreprises avoir une application mobile pour ses clients semblent une évidence.

Tel que présenté par Benoît Evans Andreessen Horowitz, le mobile est en train de manger le monde. Une start-up typique en 2000 levait 10 million $ avec 100 employés et 1 million d’utilisateurs. Aujourd’hui, les startups lèvent 1 million de dollars avec 10 employés et 10 millions d’utilisateurs.

Et voilà! Notre monde a changé pour toujours. Mais l’Internet mobile est en réalité beaucoup plus que simplement les smartphones et tablettes, il faut compter également les lecteurs MP3, les appareils photo et l’équipement de divertissement à domicile, sans oublier les objets qui se portent comme les montres. Chaque nouvelle vague de l’informatique est associée à environ 10x le nombre d’utilisateurs par rapport à la précédente. Le client/serveur apportait 100M + de PC, Internet connectait 1 milliard ou plus de PC de bureau / portables, l’ère mobile ajoutera 10 milliard de périphériques connectés au moins. Ne pensons même pas pour l’instant, à l’internet des objets (IoT), car ce ce sera au moins encore un facteur 10.

Le Mobile est maintenant en train de devenir l’endroit par défaut pour commencer à penser à l’interaction et l’expérience des clients avec nos marques. Industrie après industrie, la transformation de l’entreprise à une entreprise mobile numérique se réalise.

En attendant, jetez un oeil à Mary Meeker et ses fameuses dernières tendances Internet, une excellente présentation.

Préparez-vous, nous serons de retour sur ce sujet.

Week in review: Social Networking Bubble – Value of User Experience – Winston Churchill leadership lessons

Are We in a Social Networking Bubble? 
Coming back from the Bay Area, I can attest IT is on a roll again. The front stage vendors have changed and the topics making a lot of buzz are Big Data with Hadoop, Cloud Computing and PaaS with a heating battle accelerating, Mobility with a head to head competition between Apple and Google Android and of course social networking with a search for talents and executives move (100k+ job posts in the Bay Area).

All of this could make one think that we are living through a new bubble, thus I found this analysis pretty thoughtful and interesting.
Additionally, here are some recent data about VC’s investment in the US: Venture capital investing hits 10-year peak, sparking bubble talk.

Volume is not enough, User Experience is key: Android’s Market Share Collapses As Apple Surges Thanks To The iPhone 4S
I am a big believer in the importance of UI for user adoption and as the main User Experience differentiator. User Experience, as I did state many times, is nowadays critical to stand out in crowded world. Any business not giving some thoughts on this is exposing itself to tough competition. Apple vs. Android is a very good example of how User Experience makes a difference in a very competitive market that saw key leaders like RIM Blackberry and Nokia decline, attesting to it.

Winston Churchill’s Leadership Lessons
Let’s close with some lessons learned from Winston Churchill leadership, though this ebook is not that great 😉

  • Seize the day,
  • Never hesitate to occupy the limelight
  • Do the necessary
  • Learn to be eloquent – but don’t get carried away by your own words
  • Stick to your guns – but know when to compromise

Have a great week.

Productivity Future Vision: do you like this future world?

You should take the time to review this video — produced by Microsoft — and immerse you in this future world we are presented here.  In the beginning I was attracted but after a while I felt a bit oppressed and I guess the absence of true emotions is the reason why. You never hear anyone speak truly and the visuals are very clean, so cold.

Some ideas are very interesting but companies putting together such tentatively inspirational videos should pay attention to emotions as this is fully part of the customer experience… more, it is center stage.


You can see more of videos I’ve noticed about the future ergonomics in my future playlist on youtube.

Managing Customer Experience: the next big thing?

I am a big believer in management guru Peter Drucker saying “What gets measured gets managed“. When it gets down to tracking a company’s success, too many businesses tend to rely on market share, profitability, EPS growth or repeat purchases only. Don’t take me wrong, you still need to track these down, but as one brilliant Berkeley Marketing guru asked: “Do you think your partner is loyal only because he’s having diner every night at home? So, does the number of repeat sales indicates that your customer is loyal?” At least for the first one you must admit he’s got a point.

Nowadays, customer experience is one if not the main ingredient of customer loyalty which translates into market share — as loyal customers are the best brand advocates, profitability and EPS growth i.e. the way most businesses would define success. Then what are you doing about it?

If you’re still in doubt, take the coffee business as an example. Who has been insanely successful in this business? Starbucks and Nespresso success stories — follow the links for more — can attest about it.

As Shaun Smith, author of Managing Customer Experience, details in his post, there are 10 best practices to create real business value:

  1. Successful deployment requires the active and continuing involvement of leadership
  2. Ensuring cross-functional ownership is vital
  3. Focusing on your most strategically important customers
  4. Finding out what these customers truly value
  5. Being clear about what you stand for
  6. Delivering the promise at every touch point
  7. Providing branded training to ensure that employees understand the brand story
  8. Designing CEM before installing CRM systems
  9. Measuring the customer experience
  10. Aligning KPIs with the customer experience

This is heavy duty, but social media — as you can see in the Starbucks video in the link above — is becoming instrumental in that regard.

I’ll leave you with the five barriers to measuring customer experience, from mycustomer.com:

“Customer experience isn’t just about giving customers a good time. It’s about understanding just how good a time (or not) you are giving – and making adjustments”

  1. We rely on magic numbers
  2. We don’t really listen
  3. Measuring word of mouth is hard
  4. We have too much functional data – too little insight
  5. We don’t look beyond the obvious and the superficial