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Paul Papas, Global Leader, Smarter Commerce, IBM Global Business Services

Paul Papas, Global Leader, Smarter Commerce, IBM Global Business Services

By Paul Papas

The swipe of a finger is all that it takes – to lose a customer to a competitor – forever.

In today’s digitally-driven economy, the reality is that consumers hold unprecedented levels of power to make or a break a business. Social technologies have amplified the voice of the customer to broadcast every positive or negative experience to everyone, everywhere.

As such, it is critical for businesses today to focus on engaging customers with exceptional experiences each and every time they interact. And businesses must do this seamlessly and consistently across all digital and physical touch points.

While many know that customer experience has become a powerful differentiator for organizations, the majority of businesses are only at the brink of shifting their strategies in order to keep up. The majority of CEOs (63 percent) polled in IBM’s recent C-suite Study said that their organizations still do not have an integrated physical and mobile strategy for customer engagement.

The question, rather than how do you keep up, becomes, how do you get ahead? What comes next?

I lead a team of consultants that help our clients take on these very challenges — from differentiating a brand, to crafting harmonious digital and physical strategies, to delivering distinctive customer experiences. By prioritizing customer experience, some businesses are breaking new ground and boosting new personalized, 1:1 models to attract, deepen and win increased loyalty.

IBM Interactive, for example, recently worked with Jaguar Land Rover to create an innovative Virtual Experience to engage customers in new ways. Using new motion detection and 3D digital technologies, customers can not only browse vehicles, options and features from the Jaguar and Land Rover product line and customize a car to their specifications, but they can interact with the car of their dreams with a simple lean of their body or wave of their hand. This is the auto industry’s most advanced virtual showroom.

Another company that is redefining the customer experience is leading Mexican bank, Banorte. IBM is working with Banorte to create a new model for customer-centric banking – one that brings together customer insights and interactions with advanced technologies to increase customer loyalty, reduce costs and drive higher profitability. Using Big Data, analytics, cloud, social business technologies and marketing automation capabilities, Banorte will create more personalized interactions to improve customer attraction, satisfaction and retention.

Looking at the Jaguar Land Rover and Banorte examples, it is clear that the customer experience is rapidly evolving. As such, the risk of not acting or acting fast enough is tremendous. Customers today have endless choices and endless options, so for a business to merely think about re-defining a customer experience isn’t enough. The time to act is now.

To compete and win in the customer experience battleground, companies must intelligently bridge the digital and physical worlds to drive new experiences, and earn their customers’ time, trust, and ultimately their business.

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