Posted on: Monday 23rd of November 2015
Amy Johnson, Customer Experience Officer at MyWave, is one of the speakers sharing their insights at Ctrl-Shift’s Growth Through Trust conference in London on December 8. We asked her about a subject close to her heart: the millennial generation ‘digital natives’.
Tell us more about the millenial generation
Well, all of them have grown up in this age of mobile devices/tablets. They expect things more instantaneously and they are looking more for experiences than products.
They find many current attempts at segmentation insulting because it puts them into boxes they don’t recognise or don’t want to be put in. Many are installing ad blockers because they are sick and tired of seeing the same ads again and again for products they don’t want. And if they aren’t happy with a company they go to Twitter and tell the world.
Challenges like this that are keeping CMOs and CEOs awake at night as they worry about maintaing relevance to the upcoming generation of customers.
Millenials are also much more informed, much more cynical, as well as more idealistic. For example, they love the concept of community and things that connect people to people to create a sharing economy. Yesterday, for example, we were looking at solar panels that are able to share energy with others in the community. Entire generations of companies have designed themselves around pushing more products to people, These sorts of developments represent a real challenge to them.
What do you see as the role of a Customer Experience Officer?
I think it is to really understand customers’ jobs to be done, to understand the friction and pain points and to use that understanding to create the next generation of solutions.
For example, at MyWave we’ve been working with a construction company that wants to disrupt the real estate market. There are cheaper companies coming in from China.
They want to take the market. This company didn’t have relationship with its end consumers, the people who bought the houses it built. So we asked, ‘What are the biggest areas of friction in buying your first home? What are the customer jobs to be done end to end?
Different industries answer in different ways from the point of view of what they are trying to sell. So for example, banks say it’s getting a mortgage? But getting a mortgage is just a way into getting the home.
When you look at all the pain points end to end what you discover is the need for orchestration to join all the different pieces of the chain. That is what Frank, our virtual personal assistant does – provide an orchestration layer that can make it all seamless. It’s about putting real personalisation back into business to create a better customer experience. As cheesy as it sounds we really want to change the world and make it better.
What in your experience are the biggest obstacles to achieving this?
Inertia and politics. Especially for the younger generation it is very difficult to see how slowly large companies move. In the end it seems to stifle innovation more than anything. Large companies have got a huge umber of legacy systems and having to integrate with them is a huge amount of work.
But if they don’t watch out they will be so slow they will be left behind. Many won’t be around in 20 years time. They have the opportunity to embrace these changes. A few leading companies will do this and come out with some amazing stuff.. But many will be dragged along, and if they are dragged along they won’t do it so well.
Then there is politics. A lot of people are fearful of change and try to stop truly innovative projects, which is why most of the big companies we work with set up side innovations, so they are not threatened by bigness. That’s why it is so important to have a strong internal sponsor to bring people along on the journey. This means there is a whole lot of work to be done, both on the innovation front and cultural front.