When It Comes to Experience, One Size Fits None – or The Art of Listening and Mass Customization in the Digital Age

Adobe Summit – March 25—29, 2018, Las Vegas

At the end of March, the Adobe Summit brought together 13,000 participants in Las Vegas to discuss the digital transformation of organizations. One of the key buzzwords during the event was “listening”.

When interacting with clients, active and proactive listening allows you to develop products and solutions that deliver experiences – which is what consumers are looking for now. Companies have to be client-obsessed and see clients as their starting point, as opposed to their finish line. This means organizations must focus on tools and methods that create experiences and emotions, which can – and must – lead them to take action.

By putting the client experience at the very heart of their operations, organizations can achieve business results that will make their competitors green with envy, i.e. higher brand awareness and customer retention, 1.7 times more customer satisfaction, a huge jump in employee mobilization and, ultimately, a 36% jump in revenue growth. Tempting, isn’t it?

To achieve these goals, organizations must adapt their client approach and operational model in order to deliver a unique and unified experience across their customer touch-points (i.e. web, mobile, in-store, social media, customer service, etc.). Developing a unified client profile based on data and consumed content should be a key marketing priority in order to develop customization strategies for predefined consumer segments. This is where business intelligence can help make organizations more human (in contrast to most people’s perception) by creating client proximity, with the ability to predict customer paths between different channels, and propose adapted content in each client interaction. The industry is now moving from the Client Experience (CX) to the Human Experience (HX).

Mass customization should also be a marketing, sales and customer service motto, in order to break organizational silos, define a common vision, and develop empathy for clients – the better to create significant experiences for them.

These different elements were perfectly highlighted by a well-known speaker whose talents have been extolled since he was a young man: Richard Branson, CEO of the Virgin empire. In his view, listening is the most important leadership quality when it comes to inspiring both customers and employees. Without it, leaders and organizations won’t know which direction to take, and what their clients and employees are looking for. The key to success – especially in this digital age – resides more in our capacity to understand the desired customer experience, than in the actual products and services we offer. One last (Q-)tip: to perform in the digital age, you need to develop your listening skills!