Brands claim to compete on experience, rather than just products or services. It is a widely used tactic, employed by both the brands themselves and the vendors selling the technology that helps deliver them.

During an Oracle CX event in Sydney this month, executives from Oracle CX and local customer Sendle explained why brands see experiences as the new battleground, and why many often struggle to deliver them.

Des Cahill, Oracle CX VP and CMO says it is a mix of technological approaches from both brands and consumers driving change.

The biggest single driver of the race to deliver experiences is the consumers themselves, according to Cahill.

“We as buyers are really so innovative in the way that we want to change and interact with our brands through new channels and new experiences.”

Cahill also cited the shift towards conversational interfaces as a key driver. Conversational interfaces allow users to interact with technology in more natural, conversational ways, ultimately creating improved experiences. Think of virtual and voice assistants, able to fulfil consumer requests without the specific details or hardware intermediaries of the past.

According to Cahill, conversational interfaces will soon be the primary way consumers interact with the web and smart devices — altering channels and creating the potential for new experiences.

Business models are also changing, Cahill said, referencing the rise of subscription services in particular.

“Increasingly buyers, whether they’re B2B or B2C, aren’t looking to own goods but are looking to subscribe to them. We’re seeing that with digital media services like Netflix and Spotify.

“But we’re now seeing that move over into automobiles and medical equipment and manufacturing equipment.”

Experience roadblocks

With trust in institutions languishing, brands face a trust battle — one that must be won before any experiences can be delivered, according to Craig Davis, cofounder of local logistics company Sendle.

“Before you even get to experience I think one of the big questions for consumers is trust.”

Davis argues that a company’s internal culture will also help in delivering experiences —  specifically when values are aligned around the customer.

“[Purpose and values] are lead indicators of customer experience,” Davis said.

“If those things aren’t well aligned in the customer’s interest then it’s going to turn into mediocre products and poor customer experiences. That’s an inevitable byproduct of not having those things right.”

On the technology side, the challenge is data, according to Cahill. In order to understand an even anticipate customers’ demands, Cahill says, brands need sufficient oversight of data — an accomplishment that is “easier said than done”.

“The key to unlocking that understanding of customer intent is organising data from across the organisation … [But] most companies have their customer data in several different systems across their business.

About this author

Joseph Brookes is a writer for the Which-50 Digital Intelligence Unit, of which Oracle is a corporate member. Our members provide their insights and expertise for the benefit of the Which-50 community. Membership fees apply. 

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