Businesses are constantly changing, we all know that. That is because consumers like us change all the time. But one thing is constant these days; delivering the ultimate experience to customers is the main focus. Since humanity passed the industrial revolution at least ‘customer experience’ has become one of the most prioritized subject within businesses. But what do you consider a customer experience?
For businesses today ‘customer experience’ is very different from what it was 20 years ago. Obviously all the changes were mostly due to the technological sort of advancements that humanity have made. Of course at this day and age, the biggest contributor to the changes in the way we consume things is the invention of the internet. When it was first invented though the internet was just meant to be a communication tool for the military. It has evolved to so much more nowadays; we live in it, we live by it.
Because the internet has made nearly all of the information of the universe available to us, we become more informed of our own surroundings. We are able to interact with hundreds and thousands of people worldwide to find out what’s what at the other side of the world. We can speak to strangers in a timezone 12 hours away from home just to find out if our hotels are properly booked, or whether we can do an early check-in. Due to that accessibility of tailored information as well we start to demand more from not just the internet; the businesses too. A company without a proper website is ‘uncool’ and irrelevant. If you do have a website but there are no interaction channels, you are old-fashioned. If your website has all that but it takes too many clicks to achieve what your customers want, it is ‘cluttered’, ‘confusing’, and ‘unintuitive’. If your contents do not fit into their criterion your site gives them ‘irrelevant’ information. So in a sense, the current trend seems to be that the online experience makes or breaks a business.
Here’s the thing though the online presence has to be accompanied by a great offline support. With great, intuitive user interface (UI) on your; let us say e-commerce website you still need to deliver on logistics. Your customers would have to be able to track their orders, estimate a delivery time, and are able to return the product if it is unsatisfactory. Large businesses struggle on that front too; they have to keep track of each and every one of their products that is coming into and leaving their stores. They would also have to handle queries posted online while reflecting the physical store. The social media game has to be top-notch too but your store still has to look the part. Companies still have to deliver (be it a product, or service).
But put all of that together we have what Adobe calls an experience business. These are businesses that focus on the journey of their customers and building their experiences around their preferred journey. Adobe is a huge advocate in this field and they recently released their own study on the subject through Creative Pulse research 2017.
The research surveyed more than 5,000 relevant professionals and aims to determine the relationship of design and creativity with businesses transformations across the Asia-Pacific (APAC) region. In simple terms, it is identifying the role of a marketer’s design and creativity in engaging consumers like you and me.
According to the study, businesses across APAC places customer experience to be the number one investment. This basically says that every business out there is now spending more to improve their customer’s experience while dealing with them. The study as well showed that having an online presence while having a proper offline experience has been a shift that businesses have made in APAC. In fact, the combination of online and offline experiences has been one of the biggest change factors in the creative community across the region.
Of course the merge of online and offline experiences does not happen alone. The emergence of virtual and augmented reality technologies does contribute to this adoption of new technology with the old. The fact that these things are now powered by Artificial Intelligence (AI) as well does help with easing the transition processes.
When it comes to AI though the 2017 Creative Pulse study found that half of the respondents across APAC are fine with AI and machine learning. Some 64% from the South East Asian (SEA) region though have concerns regarding the new technology while 22% expressed a strong concern over the issue. Their concerns, as the study found is that due to the effectiveness of AI and machine learning in replacing human beings in the most mundane of tasks job opportunities will shrink. Therefore, their concerns are mainly to do with job securities and opportunities rather than the technology itself. More than half of the respondents from SEA though are also looking to embrace new skills that would give them advantage over the ever-changing market conditions.
As the study takes a closer look at SEA it is found that social media is currently the number one investment followed by customer experience and content. For the creative industry’s biggest disruptive trend is new technologies such as augmented and virtual reality. Even AI and machine learning made that list. These new technologies though did create new avenues for both consumers and professionals to learn and create new platforms. Despite the heavy investment on social media though more than half of the respondents from SEA advises that their organisation still revolves around customer experience more than anything else. Plenty of these professionals are also integrating more design thinking process across all their functions.
The high investment in social media is unique to SEA though (at least for the APAC region). That also makes the region a little unique as demands for online content blows up. This puts a lot of pressure on organisations to keep their content updated and customers happy. That does not sound like too hard of a job except that budgets are shrinking constantly and creative professionals now rely on data more than ever to create and design new contents.
Of course delivering the final product to the customer is still one of the most important things that organisations would have to do. Their products and services are, after all what customers look for at the end of the day. However as time changes products and customers evolve. We, as consumers now expect prices to be as cheap as they can be while demanding solid quality. But more importantly, we care about our experiences while making an acquisition of a service or product. The 2017 Creative Pulse research just reinforces that thought. It also proves that creative designs and unique customer experience would be the core for customer retention or even gaining additional customers. It is about creating a compelling experience for customers.
The 2017 Creative Pulse research was conducted on more than 5,000 creative and marketing professionals across APAC region. The full results and findings of the research can be found here. Press release after the break.
Adobe Research: Design and Creativity Underpin
MALAYSIA, 15 August 2017 — In the era of Experience Business, design and creativity are key differentiators for businesses looking to pull away from competitors and deliver the best experiences for their customers. New research from Adobe has highlighted the role of design thinking and creativity as key components of business transformation.
Adobe’s 2017 Creative Pulse research surveyed more than 5,000 creative and marketing professionals and examined the role of design and creativity in businesses transformation across Asia Pacific (APAC). Markets surveyed include India, Australia, New Zealand, Korea, Southeast Asia (SEA), Hong Kong, Taiwan and China.
The 2017 Creative Pulse found that merging online and offline experiences is the biggest driver of change for the creative community, followed by the adoption of data and analytics and the need for new skills. The research also found that customer experience is the number one investment by businesses across APAC.
“Businesses everywhere are ramping up on customer experience, and the merging of online and offline experiences is a significant shift in the way organisations are thinking about customer experience. While many organisations have been focused on digital transformation and experiences, people still expect great physical experiences as well,” said V.R. Srivatsan, Managing Director, Adobe Southeast Asia. “Great customer experiences need to transcend the entire customer journey and be consistent at every touchpoint, whether online or offline — and results from the 2017 Creative Pulse reflect that.”
Impact of New Technologies
Online and offline experiences are being driven by new technologies such as virtual and augmented reality, powered by artificial intelligence. The 2017 Creative Pulse found that half of those surveyed across APAC did not feel concerned by artificial intelligence or machine learning, however, in SEA, 64% of respondents expressed concerns about the impact of these technologies, with 22% saying they were extremely concerned.
“Artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning can automate mundane processes and help creative professionals streamline their day-to-day production, allowing them time to focus on ideation and creativity,” said Srivatsan. “These new technologies are not going to replace the role of creativity; instead they can help free up time for creatives to focus on what they do best—being creative and scaling their ideas.”
While creatives in SEA are concerned that new technologies will take over their jobs, they are not sitting on their laurels. 51% of respondents are looking to embrace new skills in machine learning and automation to raise their value through design thinking. 69% also said they are updating their skills every six months to a year to keep up with industry developments.
Summary of key findings for SEA from the 2017 Creative Pulse research include:
- Social media is the number one investment by businesses across SEA, followed by customer experience and content
- New technologies, such as augmented and virtual reality and machine learning, are the number one disruptive trend for creatives, followed by the impact of social and new platforms for reaching audiences
- 54% of respondents advised that customer experience is at the centre of their organisation’s strategy
- 36% of creatives and marketers have recently implemented a customer experience program; 38% plan to develop one and 24% do not plan to deliver a customer experience program in the next 12 months
- SEA creatives and marketers are integrating design thinking across functions: creatives (64%), marketers (51%) and those working in product development (47%).
Content and Social Media
SEA organisations are also investing in social media more than any other regions in Asia Pacific. This is followed by customer experience and content. This emphasis on social platforms presents a variety of opportunities and challenges in the region.
“Social media is big in SEA, and it has forced an explosion in demand for content, putting pressure on organisations to keep up. Budgets were identified as the biggest challenge, followed by conflicting views and internal processes,” said Srivatsan. “To deliver the maximum impact with a shrinking budget, creatives and marketing teams must leverage data and analytics to align their content strategy, and ensure what they are creating is relevant, and delivering an amazing experience for customers.”
The 2017 Creative Pulse has reinforced the importance of design and creativity in digital transformation and Experience Business.
“Becoming an Experience Business is not simply achieved by transferring an existing ordinary experience onto a digital platform. It is about harnessing the power of great design and creativity to stand out from the competition by delivering an exceptional, compelling experience for customers,” said Srivatsan.
Only Adobe Experience Cloud provides businesses everything they need to deliver exceptional customer experiences. Leveraging Adobe Sensei’s machine learning and artificial intelligence capabilities, Adobe Experience Cloud combines world-class solutions, a complete extensive platform, comprehensive data and content systems, a robust partner ecosystem delivering an unmatched expertise on experience delivery.