There’s a storm of disruption on the horizon – and only intelligent companies will thrive.
Success in the years ahead depends on a firm’s ability to understand and harness the power of the four disruptive forces we describe in the book, and your ability to serve smart customers.
The forces you must be aware of include the power of social influence, pervasive memory (does your company remember everything about your customers?) the billions of digital sensors that populate our world and the physical web, where we interact with the real world much as we interact with the web today.
To thrive in the face of these forces depends in large part on your company’s ability to Act SMART.
To us, SMART means the five steps any organization can take – regardless of size, industry, or structure – to better serve smart customers.
You need to start by segmenting your customers. Then, modularize your products, services and capabilities, and build a culture that thrives on anticipating the needs of each valuable customer, by leveraging the data that surrounds them.
Supporting such a culture means rewarding employees for focusing on the needs of your customers. Finally, you need to transform your touchpoints – the places you interact with customers – from dumb to smart.
Your touchpoints need to be able to meet customer needs by sensing and responding to them in near real time, not hours (much less days or weeks) later...
“So energizing it actually made my skin tingle and
– Chris Zane, Founder & President, Zane's Cycles, and author of REINVENTING THE WHEEL: The Science of Creating Lifetime Customers
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How smart are your customers? If your company is like most, they’re likely smarter than you realize. How smart, you ask?
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It is not a sustainable strategy to act dumber than the customers you wish to serve.
At the same time, everything and everyone has become or is becoming interconnected. Customers have smartphones loaded with apps that let them check prices, compare service agreements, read reviews, and check in with friends (and strangers) even as they examine your offers and products, and those of your competitors.
Consumers and businesses alike research, connect, and purchase online and over their phones without a second thought.
With these tools come radically higher customer expectations. Higher expectations of experience. Greater demands for personalization and customization. Lower tolerance for mistakes, for running through inane hoops, or for interactions that require mindless repetition (“... What is your account number ...?”).
In short, the world has changed dramatically, but many companies have not. Forget about innovation, they’re not even sure how to keep up. This is the challenge that your company needs to confront.
Companies that can’t pass basic tests of memory, flexibility, responsiveness, and innovation will die.
Among the many disruptive forces that are making it impossible for firms to survive with outdated strategies, four in particular are changing the basic ground rules for business competition and are the focus of this book: Social Influence; Pervasive Memory; Digital Sensors and The Physical Web.
Together, these forces will bring customers more choices, better information, and stunning new services. They are already providing individuals with tools more advanced in many cases than the most sophisticated commercial enterprises had just five years ago.
Put another way, they’ll continue to make your customers even smarter.
We’re just at the tip of this revolution.
For reasons that will become crystal clear as you read this book, established firms will need to reinvent themselves and disrupt their own industries to stay alive. With thousands upon thousands of very bright developers and entrepreneurs working around the globe to provide your customers with ever better, ever more disruptive tools, it’s a certainty that innovation will be coming to your industry if it hasn’t already.
Those companies who react slowly or tentatively will be increasingly marginalized, until finally, they’ll wither away. It may take five, ten, or even fifteen years, but eventually, these companies will be smothered by the competition and the growing demands of their ever-smarter customers.
Table of Contents
We are not talking about trivial change
ONE: SMART CUSTOMERS
Digital innovation is leaving companies behind
Customers start gaining superhero powers
Companies can’t be competitive if they can’t
Smart customers expect smart customer experiences
TWO: INTELLIGENCE IS EVERYWHERE
Beyond 1to1 to 1toEverything
Identify anything, anywhere, anytime
A framework for infinite opportunity and innovation
Innovators look through the eyes of their customers
What your customers could do with a pair of smart glasses
Technology is magic your customers need to trust
THREE: A PERFECT STORM OF
The four disruptive forces
Disruptive force number one: Social Influence
Disruptive force number two: Pervasive Memory
Disruptive force number three: Digital Sensors
Disruptive force number four: the Physical Web
Disruption favors the smart customer
FOUR: STUPID COMPANIES
Does your company behave stupidly?
What happens when smart customers meet
Why CRM hasn't helped
Does this mean the end of loyalty?
Many managers don't care – and aren't paid to
Guess what? Your customers don’t care either
Dumb touchpoints anchor your performance to the past
FIVE: GET SMART
A five-step system for acting smart and growing faster
Getting smart: a simple system you can use
Segment your customers by needs and value
Modularize your capabilities to increase your flexibility
Anticipate your customers' needs
Reward your employees for win/win behaviors
Transform touchpoints (and make them smart)
In summary: It really pays to get – and act – smart
SIX: CRITICAL STEPS
“If anyone disrupts this industry, it's going to be us.”
Welcome to simultaneous change
Be smart enough to learn what your customers really need
Start making your company smarter, now