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Customer Obsession; the customer at the helm

Digital experience of the consumer is leading for the strategy of organizations

Through the rapid pace of technological developments the expectations of consumers continue to increase, certainly where it concerns customer service. The consumer is now the core around which all business operates. This is referred to in marketing terms as customer obsession. During recent events organized by the Forrester market research agency we have been informed about how companies can most effectively cope with this. 

A familiar example of how customers become accustomed to a specific level of service is the check-in at an airport. If a traveler gets his boarding pass pushed to his smartphone on the day of travel, he expects the same in a comparable situation, for example, with a concert ticket. He certainly knows from previous experiences that this is technically possible, so that in a comparable situation he expects a comparable service. Forrester carries out a lot of research into this development and the associated results were presented during their annual events in Chicago and London. The research agency concludes that organizations that can quickly anticipate and respond to the increasingly higher expectations of consumers have the greatest chance of success.

Consumers have the power

And there are many more examples of innovations that strangely enough are not applied in every branch. For example, updates that you receive automatically on your Smartphone. Why doesn’t this also happen with the navigation software in your car? Why does this in many cases still have to happen clumsily with an SD card, while navigation software on every smartphone is directly updated via Internet? Another example is a hotel-app whereby when making a reservation you can still change your room right up until the last minute. This is something with which companies in other branches could also distinguish themselves when providing their services.

The downside is that a company can lose or miss customers if it does not satisfy the high expectations of customers. There is always a competitor that will provide the desired service. It makes no difference for the consumer that an organization must make large investments in a complex omnichannel sales and marketing platform. He just wants to be waited on hand and foot and thereby has fewer ties with companies or brands. This gives consumers more power. Businesses must therefore dance more or less to the tune of the consumer and adjust their strategy accordingly. Customer obsession is an absolute necessity, but this requires a completely different way of doing business. Organizations that want to adjust themselves to meet customer requirements, have to set up their entire operation differently. Consumers take the helm of the organization as it were. 

Software must develop with the organization

Adjusting an entire organization to satisfy the current requirements is no easy task. It demands an extremely efficient business-IT alignment, in which everything and everybody must be focused on the customer; everybody must be customer obsessed.

The largest bottleneck in this is usually the business software that has to support the new business processes. Carrying out the necessary modifications is often very expensive and time consuming when using standard software packages or customized software. Furthermore, this is a continuous process. An alternative for packaged software and customization that better satisfies the demand for flexibly modifiable software is low-code model driven software.

According to the July report, Supplier Landscape: A Fork In The Road For Low-Code Development Platforms,Forrester defines a low-code development platform as follows: “Products and/or cloud services for application development that make use of visual, descriptive techniques rather than programming, and that are available for customers at little or no initial investments in money or training time, with costs that increase in proportion to the value added by the platforms.”

Users of a low-code platform can themselves make modifications to an application with little to no programming knowledge. The focus can therefore lie far more on the business side of an application. A low-code development model is much more in line with the wishes of companies to become ‘customer obsessed’. It is no coincidence that these platforms are seeing strong growth. I can do nothing but applaud this development, because it can greatly improve the connection of IT with the business.