When Selfridges brought the first department store to the UK and put items on display so customers could actually see and feel them, it was the start of a series of changes that would put the customer in charge.
The next big change came with the internet. Just a few years after it opened for commercial use in 1991, a number of online banking platforms and retailers appeared. By 1995, Amazon and eBay had emerged.
And the launch of 3G in the early noughties saw another increase in mobile shopping and browsing – literally putting businesses into the palms of their customers’ hands.
Online, by phone, in store, or using a mobile or tablet. As customers, we can choose how we interact with businesses. If we have a query, we choose whether to call, email, go into a physical store or office, or even use web chat. And we get in touch at a time that suits us.
It’s up to businesses and organisations everywhere to ensure that every customer interaction, regardless of channel, is consistent. Customer experience is paramount.
Transforming for the future
Online and mobile communications are making interactions between businesses and customers more flexible. Our stats show that our own customers prefer to use web chat when they have a query: the volume of voice calls has gone down by 24% over the past two years, while web chat has seen a five-fold increase over the same period.
Stay agile and ready to adopt the next big trend
With consumer habits changing so quickly, it’s no longer enough to simply implement one big transformation project every ten years or so. Now, businesses need to continually transform.
Solutions like cloud hosting and managed services are significant tools for transformation and should be given serious thought. They help take the weight off large organisations, and they’re quicker on their feet to respond to future technological changes.
A business transformation project is still no mean feat. You need the right strategy in place from the start. You have to be clear on your vision and your strategy, and then execute your plan effectively.
Only then can you start to be a guide to your customers, helping them to interact with you in a more mutually beneficial way.