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Credit by Cyzoom

From Experience Economy to Experience Ecosystem

They argued that there is a shift from providing a ‘commodity’ to actually creating a memorable experience around the commodity. The physical commodity was hardware and music which created an ‘on the go’ listening experience to consumers. The commodity changed from something physical to a broader experience . By embedding iTunes into many devices, the commodity experience transposes into new ecosystems – into cars, into running apps, an online store and more.

The exponential growth of new technologies, new channels & business models, big data,cognitive technologies, together with the boom in millennial thinking of ‘personal’ and ‘now’, has made ‘customer experience’ that much more challenging, yet opportunistic.

Beyond Commodity Experience

These three assets – customers, employees and partners – remain key to any company,without which companies could not succeed. So long as these assets remain human then there will always be the need to deliver experience to them and take into account their interdependencies. In this sense – we should not talk about ‘experience economy’ but instead an ‘experience ecosystem’. Lets take a deeper look into the three areas of experience, how they are evolving with new technologies, their dependencies, as well as highlighting a couple of companies that excel in the experience ecosystem.

Customer Experience

Nearly twenty years on from Pine and Gilmore’s definition of the experience economy,companies are still hammering away at creating memorable experiences for customers. In order to help companies manage their customer experience , a number of methodologies, tools, and metrics emerged in the 90’s and early 2000’s. Customer Journey Mapping introduced by IDEO in 1999 has been a tool long used in a companies’ mission towards CX excellence . Furthermore, Bernd H. Schmitt wrote extensively about the customer experience framework in 2003 in his book ‘Customer Experience Management’ .

Some of these tools as we know them today, will become a thing of the past. The next twenty years will dramatically evolve thanks to real time behavioural insights,neuroscience, artificial intelligence and predictive modelling. The current tools and metrics are still often ‘after the fact’. Already today we are starting to see some great examples in how AI is impacting experience.

They are providing real time improved website customer experience for companies like SHOEme in Canada. If we look at ‘experience’ as a primary factor for any ecosystem we should not just start and stop at the customer journey experience.

Employee Experience 

Without employees’ hearts in the right place and acting as ambassadors for the company,it would become very difficult to attract new customers. Patrick Harris suggested that customer experience begins internally at the heart of an organization . It was in 2003 when Professor Kaveh Abhari conceived Employee Experience Management as an aspect of the Experience Economy . EEM takes experience further than Human Resource Management or employee engagement.

It is how an employee experiences every interaction across his employment lifecycle,from awareness to alumni, encompassing the physical, social and mental journey.Typically companies have focused more on driving positive customer experience for business success than on employee experience.  However, this is beginning to change.The Temkin Group found a correlation between efforts in employee engagement and customer experience success.

They concluded that companies that excel in customer experience have employees that are one and a half times more engaged compared to their CX laggards . This is especially critical in a world where millennials expect more and technologies are continually advancing. By 2025, millennials will account for nearly 75% of the global workforce . The new generation are looking for more challenge, community, ownership, immediacy,wellbeing and purpose.

Upcoming technologies and cognitive AI solutions are already playing a big role in transforming how HR handle employee experience. Intelligent apps, bots and automation in areas such as talent aquisition, collaboration, performance, career development,learning, employment services and wellbeing have significantly increased in the last years and will be set to grow. Deloitte’s Global Human Capital Trends Report 2018 , suggested that there is a “readiness gap” for addressing these types of opportunities. Of the 11,000 respondents interviewed, 72% confirmed that upcoming technologies are important, yet only 31% feel ready to address it.

Partner Experience

Partner relations are a critical part of customer experience, especially when you think of how to transform the ecosystem of your product from commodity into an experience. It is impossible to do this alone and will always require partners – from R&D, value chain partners, channel partners, to maintenance and beyond. Partners that leverage new technologies are not only critical for maximizing the experience for the customer but also that of the employee. Consider training partners, using technologies such as immersive reality or cognitive applications to ensure capabilities are in place.

Application partners that provide tools to improve workplace efficiencies in being able to carry out processes seamlessly and with extreme ease. Unlike CXM and EEM , the partner experience phenomenon is yet to set the stage. Consequently, this can delay delivering the experience to the end user. Large companies have built their strength on the back of partnerships like Intel and Microsoft, and start-ups are doing just the same only quicker.

Their need for investors, channels, and corporates will be an important element of their growth strategy. When it comes to innovation and experimentation, partnerships will come and go. There will be more experimentation ‘at the edge' before partnerships are nailed down. There also needs to be an element of flexibility concerning how solutions are built.

This flexibility means partnerships may become as disposable as the technology itself.We should also not forget that partners sometimes become potential competitors. Today Uber and BMW are partners who will also soon be competitors to each other in the future – grappling for a share of the driverless car market. With partnerships, the power of data sharing comes to the forefront of the relationship, not only to optimise experiences but also to redefine business models.

This process will be underpinned by trust. For this reason you see more and more companies employing a partner experience manager whose main focus is to connect an ecosystem of solutions together and enhance collaboration, inspiration and innovation. In addition when talking about trust, it is good to understand how blockchain can be utilised to facilitate the dynamics of data.

Bringing the Ecosystem Together

If your company is embracing Customer Experience as its strategy – make sure the Experience culture is embedded across all domains. At the end of the day, benefits across all areas will help amplify your results but most important of all, your relationships.Take Airbnb for example, they are a company that are executing true experience management across all its domains. Their HR director, Mark Levy, became its Chief Employee Experience Officer, trying to find synergies between employee focus and customer focus .

They are also clearly incorporating partner management into this domain by recruiting CX Partner Managers with a refreshing job description. Another example is Tiqets, a start-up that recently raised $17 million in funding and which puts experience at its core. Already their pioneering online experience to buy tickets has filled a gap many establishments failed to fill. Besides the CX focus, they too are recruiting to get the best in-house capabilities and are also employing Partner Experience Managers.

It's not surprising that these two companies are young, disruptive and agile which helps when bringing ‘experience’ to the core.

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