Predicting Future Trends with Anders Sörman-Nilsson: Bankwest Connect Event highlights
At our recent Connect Event, Predicting Future Trends, guests heard from global futurist and author Anders Sörman-Nilsson, who helps leaders decode trends and decipher what's next.
View yourself as a technology company
Regardless of your industry, size or location, all businesses need to view themselves as technology companies in order to attract and gain loyalty from increasingly digitised customers, according to futurist Anders Sörman-Nilsson.
Speaking at a Bankwest Connect Event, the Swedish-born, Australian citizen said customers increasingly expect digitised services and touchpoints that provide immense value.
“Every business model is being digitally hacked, either literally or metaphorically, and increasingly at exponential rates,” he told the crowd of business owners.
“74% of buyers conduct more than half of their research online, before ever contacting your sales reps.”
He said all businesses needed to view themselves as technology companies, regardless of their service or product offering, to help reach these increasingly digitised buyers.
He used the example of his mother’s men’s wear business that has been operating since 1916. Like many other bricks-and-mortar retailers, the business was suffering from shoppers moving online.
“Imagine how different my mum’s business would look if she thought of herself as a technology company with a men’s wear retail licence,” he said.
“Really, we are all just technology companies.”
Look towards future customers
With the emergence of Generation Z, who will be the first to never know life without the internet and social media, Mr Sörman-Nilsson warned businesses risk alienating customers if they did not incorporate digital touchpoints into their customer journeys.
“How is someone who is immersed in the digital world going to make procurement decisions, either for or against you, when you ask them to read a 150-page contract that needs to be printed, signed and scanned back because you don’t take digital signatures?”
“How is he or she going to react?”
Attract customers and gain their loyalty
In order to attract customers and gain their loyalty, Mr Sörman-Nilsson said both analogue and digital touchpoints need to provide immense value to their audiences.
Companies that were leading the way were those that were helping their customers transform their lives for the better, he said.
“Clients want to deal with brands and organisations that really help them transform.”
He used the example of how he ran a marathon with the assistance of a Nike mobile app, which provided him with real-time updates through his race and allowed friends to track his progress and digitally cheer him on.
This is a product that comes from what is essentially a clothing retailer.
“We are in the transformation economy,” he said. “We (customers) want to team up with organisations that are going to help make a difference in our lives, just like Nike helped me run a marathon.”
While helping customers transform their lives for the better may seem too big of a leap for some businesses, he said companies can also provide immense value to their customers in other ways.
“Things that are relevant to your customers on the go, will go a long way towards creating digital touch points that will help the great analogue touchpoints that you already have,” he said.
Digital and analogue touchpoints need to be complementary
While digital touchpoints were transforming customer service, Mr Sörman-Nilsson stressed that this did not mean the death of analogue or human experiences altogether. He believed this to be the case even with the rise of artificial intelligence replacing some human jobs, such as chat-bots taking over from call operators for example.
He said the role of digital was to remove friction in customer journeys, and it was all about striking the right balance.
“Ask yourself the question, are you balanced in the way you offer value to all of your customers?”
“What analogue aspects of your business do you need to keep and complement with digital touch points?”
“When you think about your business’ customer journeys, as customers move from awareness, engagement, evaluation, decision, usage and loyalty, think about whether you’re evenly balanced between analogue and digital touchpoints that help to educate your clients.”