You update your status on Facebook or upload a picture on Instagram, and you instantly start seeing likes, shares and comments. You push a button on your favorite taxi app and a few minutes later you have a taxi waiting at your doorstep. You order food from an app and you have real-time visibility into the status of your order from the moment it’s placed till it is delivered.
As a society, we are truly beginning to push the boundaries of instant gratification. The ‘here and now’ economy has arrived and it’s here to stay.
This shift is almost second nature to most of the ‘born on the web’ companies and a few of them have been responsible for accelerating the phenomenon. But, what does ‘here and now’ economy mean for traditional direct-to-consumer businesses such as banks, utilities, telecom operators, retailers, health care providers and other large enterprises?
Well, it simply means that IT architects can no longer design and implement business applications based purely on technology imperatives. Instead, they need to embrace changing consumer behavior and preferences. This is even more pronounced in the case of digital natives and digital migrants – segments that no consumer business can choose to ignore.
The proliferation of always-on, smart, connected devices is fueling this shift in consumer behavior. Combine this with the fact that messaging apps are where consumers spend the most time on mobile devices and it’s easy to see why consumers now expect to be able to interact with businesses just as they do with their friends and family – i.e. over conversational interfaces. And they expect immediate response and actions. Instant gratification.
Let’s bring this to life through a few real life examples.
You have reached 90% of your monthly data allowance of your tariff plan and there are 10 more days to go before the next billing cycle starts. You receive a notification from your mobile operator letting you know about your usage and providing you an option to pay a small fee to buy extra data for the rest of the month by simply clicking on a link in the message itself. No need to call customer support or fumble around on websites looking for forgotten usernames and passwords.
You have no water running in your house, and you don’t know why. A burst water main is causing the problem. When a local water company engineer is first on call and records the problem, an automatic notification to customers within a 5 mile radius of the main is triggered. The notification informs customers about the problem and that everything is being done to fix the issue. Now, the customer isn’t left wondering and won’t call up customer service hotlines to ask what’s going on.
You have ordered groceries online and have been given a 30-minute window within which your order will be delivered. As you are waiting for the delivery, you receive an automated call letting you know that the delivery has been delayed due to traffic. You are presented with options to accept a delayed delivery or reschedule. As you have already made plans to go out, you select from one of the four time slots for the next day.
These are exactly the types of customer journeys and intelligent customer interactions that IMIconnect, our digital customer engagement platform, has been designed to automate. The journeys could be triggered by events that occur within enterprise business applications (as in the first and third examples) or by an event that occurs on the customer’s device or channel (as in the second example). The platform allows these events to be processed and linked to business logic and customer interactions which can be easily setup using visual drag-and-drop tools. Customer journeys can be orchestrated over telecom, in-app or OTT messaging channels – all of which are available through a single web-standard API.
We would love to explore how we can accelerate your digital transformation and bring you into the ‘here and now’ era. If you have any questions or would just like to chat about the challenges you face then contact me via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.