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Jun 26 2019

In the customer journey, age is just a number

It’s a misconception to think of only young people as being “digital”. Seniors, too, can be tech-savvy and digitally native. But regardless of age, we all want the same thing when it comes to our digital services: convenience, personalization, and contextual engagement that happens at the right time with the right service delivered through the right channels.

That was one of the many fascinating topics discussed at Digital Transformation World 2019, where I was a panellist for a talk on how service providers can establish engaging, proactive digital interactions for people across all age groups.

The key is in individualization. While they may be of similar age, every person who falls under the “seniors” label is different. The implication for service providers is that fixed, rigid, one-size-fits-all interactions that are “pushed” to customers are no longer effective, engaging or enticing. Instead, in today’s digital age, the goal is to “pull” customers into interactions that happen on their terms and in their time by building a deeper understanding of their wants and needs.

That starts by moving away from very broad market segments, like seniors or youth, and thinking in terms of smaller microsegments.

Getting a 360-degree view of the customer

To get there, service providers have to create a data model that depicts a real-time, 360-degree view of their customers. The best way of doing that is to adopt what’s known as “design thinking” — an audience-driven, person-centered approach that puts the end user at the heart of the innovation process.

360 degree

Design thinking means analyzing customers based on the four qualities listed below (with a few examples of the insights to be explored in each):

  • Circumstance: What is their age, gender, location, etc.?
  • Behavior: When and where do they use different engagement channels, services, devices, etc.?
  • Experience: How satisfied (or dissatisfied) are they with the service they receive? How many calls do they make to customer care?
  • Attitude: Are they planning to move to a different service provider? Are they recommending the service provider to others?

Across these four categories are more than 300 different data insights that can be tracked and measured — with age being just one of them. With that data, service providers can use artificial intelligence, machine learning and trend analysis to profile and cluster their customers, establishing personas and grouping them into microsegments. A microsegment might be people who are a good target for a service bundle upgrade, use a niche device or are “dormant” subscribers who need to be woken up.

From there, service providers can take targeted actions for each microsegment, such as providing special offers on the latest services or upselling value-added services to encourage greater service usage from the dormant subscribers. They can also use automated experience monitoring for a “VIP” microsegment so they can act immediately or even proactively in case of service degradation.

The end goal, however, is to work down from microsegments to a “segment of one” where each person becomes their own individual market segment, allowing for the most hyper-personalized services and offers.

Working together to create better digital experiences

At Nokia, we involve service providers in co-designing and co-developing the software they get from us. Service providers can include their end users in a similar co-creation approach, asking them to contribute to the design of their digital interactions and engagement channels. That involves reaching out to customers across many different age groups, behaviors and channels, then sculpting the digital experience based on the feedback received.

One way to do that is by establishing and promoting online communities or user groups that their customers can join. These kinds of spaces encourage the exchange of ideas and foster the type of co-creation that will benefit everybody in the long run.

Ultimately, it’s vital for service providers to offer a broad range of engagement models and channels. But they can’t know what those should be — or start offering an exceptional customer experience — until they fully, truly understand their customers and their individual journeys and choices.

Visit our website to learn more about how we can help you get a 360-degree view of your customers with our Cognitive Analytics for Customer Insight software.

Share your thoughts on this topic by joining the Twitter discussion with @nokianetworks or @nokia using #CustomerExperience #DesignThinking #CustomerRelationship #ArtificialIntelligence #Analytics #Insights #MachineLearning #AI #tmfdigital

About Malla Poikela

Malla oversees the messaging around Nokia Software’s intelligence and operations portfolios, which include analytics/AI, customer- and network-driven insights, service fulfillment and assurance, and end-to-end automated service operations. Malla is very visible at industry events and on social media, where she is a passionate advocate for the customer experience, digital transformation and the future mode of operations.

Tweet me at @MPoikela