According to a Nielsen report, consumers are all about convenience, connection and control. The new generation of shoppers is more informed, far more demanding and more focused on getting things done quickly and easily.

By Lizette Akker, customer experience management lead at IQbusiness

From a technology point of view, customers will continue to adopt digital alternatives to, again, save on time and gain access to a larger product offering. Africa, in particular, is seeing the emergence of a more sophisticated digital consumer.

Key global technology trends relating to cloud-based technology, analytics and the Internet of Things (IoT) provides an unprecedented level of mobility. These advancements also enable companies to collect data about consumers in a way that once seemed impossible. The result? Opportunity to gather intricate insights into customer behaviour.

So what are the tech trends companies should be aware of if they’re to build a customer-centric organisation effectively?


Autonomous things

Automation plays an important role for companies looking to maintain a sense of agility while keeping their customers happy.

Cloud-based technologies essentially help make this possible. They provide budget-friendly ways to better a customer’s experience without having to rely on staff or make any operational changes.

On the back of cloud computing’s evolution, there’s machine learning that’s becoming more and more sophisticated. Suddenly, automatic data analysis is made possible, providing companies with personalised recommendations for the end-user.

For example, organisations that leverage robotics to take care of the tedious tasks in a customer’s life, will make utility tasks simpler and free up time for more valuable face-to-face interactions. Technologies will be seen as playing a supporting role in customer engagement strategies rather than dominating the experience. This will ensure an organisation’s ability to deliver a unique human interaction that will result in a truly differentiated experience.


Internet of Things

Through the Internet of Things (IoT), organisations find themselves in a uniquely competitive position thanks to their ability to better their internal operational processes, develop new products and, by default, become far more innovative.

IoT, at its core, is a network of physical objects (read: smart devices) that use sensors to connect and exchange data over the internet. It, therefore, enables organisations to analyse and leverage said data in real-time, enhancing their decision-making abilities.

The Internet of Things also enables the integration and adaption of business models. So, not only are customers served with products and services that are, to an extent, tailored to their needs, but they’re also able to improve efficiency, reduce costs and gain insights into their business in greater detail than ever before.

Importantly, getting these areas right internally will ensure ongoing alignment with evolving customer needs and prioritise customer experience enhancements.


Cloud analytics

Whether to streamline systems operations or monitor employee performance, there’s a myriad of digital applications that allow companies to do things with more precision.

Cloud-based analytics is no exception. Where once organisations would have to store and export data from excel spreadsheets manually, is now a solution that does it for you. That, and because it’s cloud-based – the way analytics content is developed, consumed and shared changes drastically for the better.

Importantly, the cloud model also allows organisations to scale analytics capabilities as their organisation grows. This is one sure way to both maintain a sense of agility while customising products and services that cater to a unique target audience. This kind of technology will then be seen as playing a supporting role in customer engagement strategies rather than dominating the experience.


Bottom line

By staying on top of global tech trends, organisations enable themselves to have a deeper understanding of what forms part of the customer’s end-to-end journey – enabled by the vast amount of data available from the ability to digitally track customer movements.

This will allow the development of a more systemic and collaborative solution design – playing a crucial role in connecting the dots in the customer’s current disparate universe and developing a differentiated and hyper-personalised experience.