Today, consumers are able to do almost everything online, which, of course, means there is an abundance of opportunities for companies. Naturally, companies are somewhat reluctant. Adjusting to this new 'measure-it-all' generation takes time, but awareness is a great starting point. 

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This article was originally published on FD.nl (in Dutch)

'In this day and age, the "digital client" no longer exists: all clients are now digital. However, some boardrooms still question the company’s necessity for an online strategy. Funnily enough, as soon as the meeting adjourns, the very same people reach for their smartphones straight away,’ smiles Marc Huijbregts, former Managing Director at Accenture Digital. ‘But why wouldn’t they? Today, the whole world exists online.’

A decade ago most of us were thoroughly impressed by the first iPhone. Today, consumers are able to do almost everything online, which, of course, means there is an abundance of opportunities for companies. Naturally, there is some reluctance from companies, and Huijbregts understands this. ‘Ongoing daily operations make it difficult to really take the time to investigate possibilities, but awareness is a great starting point.’

Make It a Smooth Ride

‘Banking, traveling, sending data or finding information online: this is the status quo in the 21st century. Consumers base their expectations of companies on what the market leader in the industry offers,’ explains Huijbregts. ’Consumers adopt new methods extremely rapidly, and expect the same level of service from other parties, too. If a company fails to live up to expectations, the consumer will deem its service(s) inadequate. The customer journey should feel like a smooth and pleasant ride from start to finish. From purchase, pick up points and service to warranty and returning the product, every part of the process should run seamlessly. Any glitch will immediately be picked up by the customer.’

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"The customer journey should feel like a smooth and pleasant ride from start to finish."

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How to Avoid “Bill Shock”

‘These days, many companies have an online department, but the question is: are they any good at running it effectively? I often can’t wrap my head around the fact that energy suppliers don’t fully commit to avoiding the so-called ‘bill shock, which many customers experience after receiving their annual energy bill, leaving them disgruntled. It’s responsible for the largest number of phone calls received by energy suppliers. This is interesting, especially if you consider that energy usage can be monitored constantly by smart meters. My advice: warn customers that a higher-than-expected bill will be on its way if they don’t decrease their energy usage. Your customer will thank you for taking the initiative, instead of blaming you for the high bill. It also doesn’t hurt that it saves your company eighty percent of phone calls.’

Familiarize Yourself With Your Customer

’Huijbregts offers another example of how technology can satisfy customers. ‘Say you’re a bank that wants to encourage your customers to invest. Rather than promoting it as something one-dimensional, ask yourself the question: “why would this customer want to invest?” You should familiarize yourself with the customer’s situation. Is there a baby on the way? If so, it’s likely that a new house is on the cards. Simultaneously, you should know the ins and outs of the latest economic trends and developments. Why? Well, because you should be able to offer the customers a personal investment plan that is tailored to their specific needs, present and future. Is all of this too time-consuming? No, not when you use analytics and algorithms to your advantage and for your own convenience. The widespread idea that technology is making the world less personal is not true: it doesn’t get more personal and customer-orientated than this!’

Seeing is Believing

The Internet of Things sees almost every device and even some vehicles equipped with the ability to connect online. ‘Look at the growing number of applications counting your heartbeat or number of steps, for instance. In the near future, we will be able to continuously measure a baby’s vitals. The older generation used to do that based on their gut feeling, but the younger generation wants something more quantifiable. Seeing is believing, as they say. This shift means that customers are expecting more and more from companies. Luckily, technology is becoming cheaper and more accessible, which opens endless possibilities.’

© Het Financieele Dagblad

Accenture the Netherlands

Accenture the Netherlands

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