In this opinion piece, Mobiddiction co-founder and director of strategy and innovation Midu Chandra (pictured below) explores how brands and marketers can create better blended online-offline experiences using mobile technology and the IoT.
When it comes to customer experience, moments of truth matter.
In FMCG, people talk about the first moment of truth. Then Google introduced zero moment of truth (ZMOT).
Brands put so much energy into acquiring customers, but often leave loyalty and advocacy to the end. Progressive brands have always understood the importance of customer experience, and have shown that advocacy comes from focusing on subsequent moments of truth.
Recently, I’ve had to travel to New Zealand to support our trans-Tasman clients, which has also meant increasing my carbon footprint. I started flying Air New Zealand (as they have the earliest flight out) and got to experience a brand that has certainly understood moments of truth in all aspects of the customer experience.
Here’s a simple example:
The act of ordering a coffee with a long queue at 5am can be daunting, but now:
- Push a button.
- Get a notification when it’s ready.
- Seamless bliss.
So, let’s unpack a couple of things that are going on here.
Firstly, there is a deep understanding of the human condition – our desire for things to be kept simple and convenient.
Secondly, there is a commercial imperative – driving sales and tracking demand in real time. If they can capture the ordering from an app, they’re able to understand the customer’s preferences, track and report on demand in real time and tell if one of their lounges is having a problem meeting demand.
After being in operation for just one year, it had been used to order over one million cups of coffee!
How did they do it?
Quite simply, really. As a traveller, you are encouraged to install the app to keep track of your travel schedule. The app helpfully lets you know if there are delays based on your location, it recommends when you should leave for the airport, and once you’re at the airport, it prompts you to order your coffee as you’re completing check-in.
In the background, the app is communicating it’s geographic position, and as you approach the lounge beacons, activates additional promotional prompts based on the services available in the lounge.
This is just one simple example of how mobile technology and the IoT expands the opportunity to create blended online-offline experiences.
I’ve been working on something similar for the last three years with the Sydney Royal Easter Show.
To ensure families got the best value for experience, we had to undertake extensive ‘need state’ and ‘customer journey’ mapping. From this, we identified utility, relevance, transaction and social CRM, as the core need states the app needed to deliver against.
What brand and tech teams should consider
Again, planning this experience required a blended skill set of good old marketing knowledge, and a desire to bend technology in interesting and innovative ways. Having done this a couple of times, here are my recommendations:
- Understand the real-world environment your brand lives within. Map out where digital interaction could enhance customer experience.
- Use the ‘see, hear, feel, do’ empathy mapping technique at each moment of truth to identify how you can leverage technology to create a moving mobile experience.
- Challenge the technology to solve the problem in innovative ways. Don’t let it restrict your thinking.
- Be the customer. Walk in their shoes. Experience their experience to identify new CX opportunities.
Retail is where it’s at!
I think the single biggest gain for this technology exists in the retail customer experience. With online shopping trends shifting rapidly, it’s important not to throw the baby out with the bathwater.