Harness what you’ve learned during the COVID-19 pandemic to create a vision of the Future Normal and build Customer Experiences to empower tomorrow’s business growth
What a time to be in business. We are facing an interesting moment: The impact of COVID-19 is far-reaching. The supply and demand chain has been disrupted. According to one IBM newsroom study, consumer behavior is certainly changing. The global marketplace is shifting, and we must adapt to a new Future Normal if we want to be successful.
Our business models and strategies have been completely uprooted. What worked pre-COVID is likely out of commission now. The footwork and foundations we laid have lost their relevance, and the rulebooks can be tossed aside.
If we want our businesses to thrive, it’s time to innovate. Transactions and customer experience must evolve.
If we want our businesses to come back stronger, we must ask a few questions:
How can we transform the customer experience to keep our business relevant?
Can we use innovation strategy to transform those customer experiences?
How can we adapt and even reach new customers?
Harness what you learned from the pandemic
Businesses must evolve to remain relevant. Rather than close up shop in response to the challenge, it’s time to be inventive and ingenious.
This is the time to ask, “How can we rebuild for a better and stronger business?”
This is the time to allow unexpected partnerships to surface, to be willing to try new things and to strategize innovative development.
Change your vision
Start by redeveloping the vision. As your business adapts to the changes and challenges of 2020, recognize the innovations you can make right now.
Define a new intention for your future normal. Identify a north star and be willing to make changes to follow it. Ask questions about how you want your business to evolve and what you see your business growing into.
Take this time to acknowledge points of contention in your customers’ experiences. Reevaluate the experience your business offers on the whole and in each of its parts.
Consider exactly how much value you bring to your customers. Then, ask how you can become more valuable to the customers who care about you. How can you develop more meaningful connections with those customers by providing value?
Once you’ve developed a new future normal vision, you’ll need actionable steps to achieve that vision. We work with the “Check the FACTs” model:
Feedback (ask your customers questions and act on what you hear)
Allies (a coalition to team up and make a change)
Culture (a sense of open-mindedness to try new things)
Timing (start now)
What is an Innovation Strategy?
Innovation Strategy is an opportunity to see your business in a new way. It asks us to totally rethink our business model, plan and approach.
As we let go of flawed processes and broken systems, we must consider that innovation is hidden in plain sight.
Innovation Strategy is a tool to help us re-envision a brand-new business. With an innovation strategy, you create a powerful Customer Experience that will help you become their go-to solution for the kinds of problems you solve.
To develop an innovation strategy, start by examining all the existing variables, then look for new ways to put the pieces together. Take the evolved global marketplace into consideration and develop a strategic plan based on the future normal vision you developed.
What do your customers' needs look like now? What might they trend towards in the short and long term? What features or services would set your organization apart from others in the industry?
What is Customer Experience?
When we interact with a business, we have a specific, memorable type of experience. Consider online shopping versus in-store shopping, or shopping in a high-end retail store versus in a street market. There are many ways for customers to interact with buying, selling and general merchant experiences.
Because there are so many ways for people to choose to interact with you, it can be overwhelming to optimize the experience for every path. By focusing not on the paths, but on the touchpoints (the types of interactions people have with your brand, no matter the order) you can build experiences that fit together in whatever order your customer chooses.
Experience Design is a tailored and purposeful approach to nurturing customer experiences that allows organizations to create micro-moments that matter — moments that let your audiences know that you understand and have anticipated their needs.
A truly great Customer Experience is a critical part of the loyalty-building process. It’s important to give customers a reason to be loyal to you. By putting emphasis on Experience Design, you develop that loyalty.
Innovation Strategy and Customer Experience at work
Two organizations that are guided by Innovation Strategy and Customer Experience are Apple and British Airways. Both use a proactive innovation approach to update their business models and better reach the right customers.
Apple: Apple stock has risen to five times its 2005 price. Innovation Strategy and Customer
Experience play a big role in this steady, consistent change. First, Apple did effective research
and aligned new products (innovations) with the current needs of their customers. Next, they
adapted the Customer Experience to match the new Future Vision they’d created. In this way,
organizations meaningfully increase their odds of success with research and adaptation.
British Airways: BA is transforming airport experiences using innovative technology. By paying
close attention to customer needs, they’ve developed an approach that effectively captures the right audience and offers real value. They keep a Future Focus, watching trends, anticipating new needs, considering all possibilities, and creating brand new realities.
Turn your new visions into reality
We’ve all had an unprecedented opportunity to re-examine how we do business during the disruption of COVID-19. Now we have another opportunity: To create better ways of doing business based on those lessons.
Your Innovation Strategy should offer solutions to meet your audience’s needs today. Take your new Future Normal visions and implement them as one integrated reality. This means updating the entire transaction process and even what products or services you sell.
There should be a major shift in focus to Customer Experience. When you emphasize Customer Experience and Innovation Strategy, you create a cohesive brand image that eliminates experience gaps and delivers consistent value to your audience.
Even out of the worst disruption, when we use Innovation Strategy to update our business vision and Experience Design to adapt business operations, we improve the Customer Experience.
At The ExperienceBuilt Group, we build Customer Experiences from the ground up, so you can bring genuine value to the people who support your business. After COVID-19, it’s more important than ever to build a business that connects with people. Learn more about the LIVE 8 Experience Design Principles and how your Innovation Strategy can fuel long-term customer success.