Having worked with some of the best super brands in the world for customer experience both supporting them as our customers for five years and then advising hundreds of them on customer experience for 11 years, I know what good looks like.

In his book "The Fourth Industrial Revolution," Klaus Schwab states that the fourth industrial revolution has four main effects across industries:

  • customer expectations are changing

  • products are enhanced by data, which improves asset productivity

  • new partnerships are being formed as companies learn the importance of new forms of collaboration

  • operating models are being transformed into new digital models

Brands that are deepening customer relationships think differently. They have a strong vision, mission statement and values that revolve around stakeholders – Employees, Customers, Partners and Community.

As the technology of the fourth industrial revolution affects all aspects of our lives, customer expectations are being redefined into experiences. Smart brands deepen relationships by delivering the right solution for your issue today, while advising on next issue avoidance, at the right time via the right channel with the minimum level of effort by the customer.

They empower engaged agents to go off script to go that extra yard to provide a satisfying experience. They constantly iterate as consumer needs are evolving at a rapid pace in this new age.

Attracting a new customer costs 7-8 times the cost of retaining an existing customer. These super smart brands know this and think in medium term for long term. They understand that when you look after your key stakeholders — your customers — the business will thrive.

The traditional business model solves a problem via innovation. Lets use music consumption over time as an example. The Sony Walkman I used as a child was a quantum leap on the old tape player I used to carry about. I had mobile music using the same format and loved the freedom this provided for several years.

Along comes digital music in the form of MP3 players which killed the tape playing Walkman. Next Steve jobs comes up with the ipod 2000 songs mobile and much smaller, I get an ipod vs a digital Walkman as they have itunes and millions of songs to choose from – Apple recognize that consumers want to self serve knowledge via an up and coming search engine called Google and that it can become the question to answer super highway and that consumers are posing how to troubleshoot problems on youtube and becoming super support agents working on a free basis and consumers crowd source their own knowledge bases becoming the world’s most effective KCS deployment as they refresh youtube on a massive scale for solutions to issues with iphone 1,2,3,4,5,6 etc.

The arrival of powerful Search engines +Youtube +Communities of brand advocates means consumers are milliseconds from the answer to their query and can share their delight with potentially millions of twitter followers becoming brand super fans and revenue engines for these brands.

Then we have the arrival of Spotify as the legal descendant of Napster, disrupting the disrupter of Sony, Apple with a new digital medium, streaming music with a new Freemium and Premium model, no longer do you buy an album from a store or an album from Itunes but you can listen to over 5 million songs for free.


So how do you scale massive global growth with customer experience as a disruptive emerging technology?

Well, you learn from Apple your competitor and innovate faster using big data to provide weekly discover playlists of new music personalized to your tastes and prior music you have listened too.

You can share and collaborate on creating playlists on facebook  while  providing effortless online self service options. You provide a public knowledge base indexed by google for organic self service. You deploy social customer service to serve mobile consumers via their smartphones, and you provide communities for collaborative crowd solving of issues.

This leaves email support for the issues that need agent interaction.

You support the free and paying customers the exact same, treat each quirky and fun customer touch point is an upsell opportunity. This way, you rapidly scale and grow your business to over 100M users in 50+ countries.

The digital age of the fourth industrial revolution is about accessing and using data.

When you redefine the experience with a move to continual adjustment and iteration while ensuring the human dimension remains, you surge your customer experience forward.