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Power Shift: The Age of Customer Experience

The decade is witnessing metamorphosing change and the biggest challenge faced by leaders, organisations is to stay competitive and survive amid constant turbulence and disruption.

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We are witnessing an explosion of ideas and products. The decade is witnessing metamorphosing change and the biggest challenge faced by leaders, organisations is to stay competitive and survive amid constant turbulence and disruption.

"World today not only feels different but is different"

The usual and traditional ways of doing things is thwarted by changes in economy, eco-system and market where innovation,information has undergone unprecedented transformation. The product life cycles are shrinking and there is an inflow of newer technology, products, processes and above all users for newer solutions.

The earlier times witnessed customers/ users who were passive and resorted to goods and services provided by the producers. Customers certainly were not so expressive and engaged as that of today. The producers who were in command earlier have been taken over by customers connected through social, digital media. Social media has become one of - if not the - most important form of customer interaction within the last three to five years. This will further fuel significant reduction in traditional media, telephone and face-to-face interactions and research marks this growth at a 265% increase on the current situation.

A consumer now, has unlimited information, expanded choices and are connected as compared to previous era of limited choices and information where consumers were in silos, independent of each other. Thus, the decade witnesses an accelerated rivalry for organisations with disruptive innovations and Big Data to cater to global changes.

Further the consumer choices are expanding, fuelledby the growth of the wealth of middle class around the globe with political and social reforms. And we are also witnessing that shift of the balance of power from developed markets to the developing world and from institutions such as governments to individuals, who exercise their new power as consumers to gain information to their advantage. A recent survey found that 70 percent of customers use their smartphones to read reviews, 61 percent to compare prices and products, and 42 percent to contact the retailer. More and more, these individuals are doing these activities while they're shopping. Earlier, organisations used to communicate in highly controlled, carefully crafted messages. Now corporations and consumers, including Facebook's one billion active users, are engaged in unplanned, unscripted discussions. Executives now understand that any person has the potential to create a profit-threatening crisis just by hitting "send." At the same time, these devices and activities are generating massive amounts of data that can offer insights into consumers' lives. The digital revolution has empowered these same consumers, through access to information and by connecting to one another?anywhere, anytime.

This sea change with more connected consumers means global markets operate at remarkable speed. A powerful illustration is found in a comparison of the history of Apple's successful products. Mac launched in1984 took more than 20 years to sell 50 million units and the same threshold was crossed for i-Pad in two years. The latest i-Phone 6s has already crossed 15 million units sale across the world in a month. New product launches are now coordinated on the scale that has ushered in an era where the launch of a hot new device (or subsequent lack of inventory) is headline news around the world.

Empowered consumers now have greater choice and are more connected which is furtheraccelerating competition. The dynamic contact channel now is a top way to engage with customers today. Customers engagement and feedback patterns in turn is fuelling innovation, newer product and services unlike past when the inventors, producers themselves didn't had all the answers as of today. So for leaders, organisations, countries being more open and interactive are the ways to understand and work with the change. Engagement and active interaction with Consumers through feedbacks, interactions is not just a strategic imperative but a necessity to survive. The power equation has changed. Precisely, "Customer is the King"

Disclaimer: The views expressed in the article above are those of the authors' and do not necessarily represent or reflect the views of this publishing house. Unless otherwise noted, the author is writing in his/her personal capacity. They are not intended and should not be thought to represent official ideas, attitudes, or policies of any agency or institution.

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Bawa Grover

Manager Partner, Hexagon Consulting, Grover is an entrepreneurial leader with deep subject matter expertise in areas of Customer Service Excellence & customer Experience management, innovation & technology, Organizational due diligence, development & risk and compliance management, outsourcing/off shoring to name a few

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