Optus Vision 2014 - Do you know what your customers want?

It’s that time of year again! Yesterday marked the release of the 2014 Optus Future of Business Report an annual thought leadership research piece aimed at identifying emerging trends in the Australian business landscape.

For the fourth year in a row Stancombe Research + Planning were commissioned to undertake the research and this year’s survey was the biggest to date with a survey of 5,000 customers and 550 business decision makers. The theme this year was ‘customer experience’ (CX) and in partnership with Optus we have delivered one of the largest and most thorough customer experience studies to date.

The key take-outs were both simple and compelling:

  • CX matters: The level of customer experience a customer receives has a huge bearing on their likelihood to return and recommend. For businesses the implication is clear… great CX = increased revenue.
  • Good isn’t good enough: ‘Good’ CX doesn’t quite cut the mustard for customers. Outstanding CX is required to guarantee high levels of customer retention and recommendation.
  • CX starts from within: CX leading organisations are those with a customer-centric organizational culture, a clear vision, CX strategy and high levels of staff engagement. Getting these ducks in a row is the most important step towards delivering outstanding CX and therefore enjoying high levels of loyalty and advocacy.
  • Customers want the human touch: The top customer CX expectations were predominantly human factors e.g. friendly/polite staff, ability to interact with a real person (particularly when it comes to care and support!). Customers tend to value personal interaction more than they value self-service. Businesses on the other hand are increasingly focused on digital channels and tools due their seductively high ROI and are potentially neglecting the human side of CX.
  • Technology is just one piece of the puzzle (not the silver bullet!): Businesses are looking to technology as the future of CX and while technology is a great enabler of CX, technology and CX strategies need to be aligned to deliver great CX. Further, innovative (or ‘disruptive’) technologies are only ‘game changing’ when they’re implemented alongside a customer-centric culture and empowered employees.

The full report is available online and features all sorts of engaging digital content. Well done Optus, it’s been a pleasure working with you, as always.

‘Collaborative Consumption’

In an earlier post, we alluded to a concept that was further crystalised for us yesterday at the Optus Vision 2013 event at the Sydney Convention Centre. Rachel Botsman is a British author who is at the forefront of some emerging consumer trends and has recently published a book, and presented to TED, discussing  ‘Collaborative Consumption’. This trend is transforming business and consumerism by shifting power from organisations into the hands of consumers via fluidity of information and the ability to effortlessly pair up wants with haves in an increasingly connected world.

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This relationship is facilitated by innovative start-ups which create a platform for individuals to share goods and services with minimal friction. In addition to some of the sharing concepts we discussed a few weeks ago some notable examples include airbnb and taskrabbit. The haves mentioned above may take the form of a spare room, vacant car seat or simply some energy or free time. We all had a little chuckle in discovering that the number one task posted on taskrabbit is assembling a piece of Ikea furniture!

These start-ups have resulted in an unprecedented number of C2C transactional flows. And while using the power of technology to build trust and facilitate sharing between individuals results in an incredibly efficient allocation of finite resources, this is destabilizing the traditional dominance of large organisations in providing consumers with goods and services. So according to Rachel, these “disruptive” consumer trends leave businesses with three options:

1. Stick their head in the sand and hope it all goes away

2. Fight the trend using legal action

3. Embrace the change and incorporate these innovations into their business models.

We’re all in favour of number three!

This is also a perfect opportunity to point out that the Optus Vision 2013 event was the official unveiling of the third Future of Business Report, an exciting piece of research conducted by our team of experts.