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Understand the Age of the Customer

Learning Objectives

After completing this unit, you’ll be able to:

  • Explain how technology is changing customer expectations.
  • Describe the challenges facing businesses today.

The World Is Getting Smarter

We’ve watched as technology evolved from simple mainframes to a world that is cloud, mobile, social, connected devices, and smarter than ever. As a result of these technology shifts, we see evidence everywhere that consumer behavior has changed. Behind every product is a customer who expects intelligent and connected experiences.

Today, when we need a ride, we grab our smartphones rather than hail a cab. When we need to get somewhere, we consult personalized step-by-step directions instead of browsing a generic map. A whopping 61% of consumers say that technology is changing their behavior. Today, we see a shift in behavior driven by interactions, devices, and apps that are getting smarter with artificial intelligence.

The Age of the Customer

With over 75 billion smart devices out there, creating trillions of interactions, it's easy to get lost in the volume of data. But it's important to remember that behind each and every device is a customer. Someone just like you, who expects businesses to know them, promotions to be relevant, and support to be personalized.

This is what we call the Age of the Customer, where customers are driving expectations that each and every touch point be connected and intelligent. To succeed in this new era, we believe that businesses need to:

  • Put the customer at the center of everything they do.
  • Have a single view of the customer across touch points—email, in-store, and online.

The Customer Gap

With all of these connected devices, customers are creating more data than ever. It's an opportunity for businesses to connect with customers like never before. But making sense of that data is much easier said than done. Many businesses don't have the resources—time, technology, or people—to take advantage of their data and turn it into insight. On average, less than 1% of this data is being used.

The Customer Gap depicted in two bubbles. On the left is an image of buildings, representing businesses, and the statistic that less than 1% of customer data has been analyzed. On the right is an image of a woman holding a smartphone, and the statistic that 77% of customers are not engaged with companies.

This is what we call the Customer Gap, and it's a sign that companies aren't connected to their customers. To close that gap, companies can harness the data from customers to create personalized experiences with the right recommendation, the right product promotion, and the right support. To do this, businesses need a complete CRM (Customer Relationship Management) solution. More on that in the next unit.