May 04, 2017
Art, Love and Engineering: Nurturing devoted customers through an artful approach to technology
By: Jim Bailey

As organizations progress toward the digital future, they’re learning that a successful user experience (UX)—which leads to the conversion of users into sustainable customers—is key to business growth. Today, we are moving from a world of one-size-fits-all products and services to one in which we create custom, personalized experiences for the end-user. Startups are setting a fast pace of disruption and new standards for customer experience that established companies, regardless of industry, must keep up with.

For example, chemical companies never imagined that they would need to provide the same “user experience” to their customers as consumer electronics companies. User experiences in one area of their lives are shifting user expectations in others, and businesses must respond. Today, chemical companies no longer have to only compete with other chemical companies; they need to cross industry lines and match or better high-tech or communication companies. Consumers demand digitization, predictability, speed and mobility, all wrapped in a secure environment that offers whatever they want, when they might want it. For many, this might mean considering a shift in business models, or providing "adjacent" services to core offerings to help keep a customer’s interest.

Where art, love and engineering meet—Why providing a robust user experience in the digital age means looking at technology with a different eye. @AccentureTech

Keeping all of these balls in the air is no easy task, but the smartest companies use analytics and mobile applications to help meet increasing consumer expectations. However, an application must not exist for the sake of itself. They must serve a real purpose, and be continuously managed to ensure user pain-points are addressed quickly so that they keep coming back for a seamless, easy experience.

Businesses around the globe are recognizing that meeting the liquid, evolving customer expectations depends just as much on art as it does on science. Part designer, part engineer, Steve Jobs recognized this phenomenon early on and responded with what he referred to as “lickable technology,” meaning he wanted to create products so enticing and in excess of user expectations, that people would be tempted enough to eat.

Design thinking is one way to achieve this, ensuring that every customer channel—including mobile applications—refocuses its operations around how a user will experience something, reimagining the pathway to get them to the ideal solution quickly and easily.

The power of prediction

At the risk of stating the obvious, analytics has become an indispensable capability to understand not only how to satisfy users, but also how to surprise and delight them. And today, the most prescient organizations are using analytics to peek around the corner and anticipate their customers’ wants, analyzing patterns of behavior and using the insight from those decisions to personalize experiences in ways not possible just a few years ago.

This type of predictive capability is helping to exceed customer expectations across the corporate spectrum. Accenture Interactive has been a leader in understanding that the shift from engineering to human feelings is seismic. As a result, Accenture has developed the Accenture Genome, a personalization technology, designed to help accelerate transformation by enabling brands to create highly individualized experiences based on individual customers’ unique motivations

Mobile maturity at a turning point

The digital world would not be possible without mobility and the ecosystems it creates. We see more and more clients requesting a mobile-first environment, especially in the retail sector, where many organizations want to do away with computers and kiosks altogether, allowing their employees to interact more naturally with customers. This maps to consumer habits; consider the US mobile purchasing market where the number of mobile buyers has grown to over 150 million, an increase of more than 30% in just two years.*

Mobile applications are expanding so quickly and organically—like wildflowers blooming in a field—that many companies really don't have a handle on how many mobile applications they even have. This lack of central governance means they can't guarantee a seamless experience to their users—be they consumers or employees—and as a result both performance and security are put at risk.

Companies are reaching a turning point in mobile maturity where they need a more comprehensive approach to portfolio management rather than allowing things to happen entirely organically. With ongoing management and design iteration, mobile applications can be improved time after time to deliver a consistently strong user experience that ensures applications deliver on their promise. This agile approach to managing and iterating on applications also helps to address the increasing pressure to develop more new application capabilities, faster, but on the same budget as was available two years ago.

Nurturing the devoted customer

Making customers fall in love with your brand is the key to business growth. The delicate art of knowing your customer supports UX design that generates seamless experiences and improves customer conversion rates—making it easier for customers to consume what they want, how and when they want. Done right, companies not only survive in this new complex environment, but thrive in it with a devoted customer base.

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