With relevance to meteorology, convergence zones mark the site of merging and clashing weather patterns that can produce distinctive and violent storms as a result of vertical accumulation and cloud formation. These dramatic consequences are not unlike the results from the converging trends challenging today’s chain of consumer industries.
Consumer package goods (CPG) manufacturers, as if in the eye of this storm, are uniquely positioned to be the ambassadors of an experience-positive ecosystem — from upstream supply chain partners’ through to retail and distribution channels and ultimately to the consumer. CPG firms need to see this reality as both a threat and an opportunity. Those that step up to navigate today’s trends will be empowered to optimize the end-to-end customer journey — creating the ultimate, integrated customer experience and a lasting competitive advantage. Those that do not will forfeit their competitive advantage.
The first step in fulfilling this mandate is to understand the seismic changes happening in the market today from all sides of the ecosystem. Customer demographics are changing, the population is aging and incomes are polarizing. Consumer attitudes have also changed. Tech-savvy consumers have heighten expectations for premium experiences that blend products and services in more personalized environments. Accustomed to the instant gratification and personalization delivered from the likes of Amazon and Google, customers want efficiency and simplicity in every interaction with full access and consistency across all channels. Adapting to these new customer requirements is critical. Research shows that 25 percent of customers will defect after just one bad experience. Given this, what can CPG CIOs do to delight their customers and successfully weather this storm?
This environment may be new for most CPG CIOs. It was not that long ago that managing the customer experience was mainly the purview of the CMO, who was most likely within a retail partner focused on improving the user interface as the company extended to online channels. Today, it is imperative for CPG companies to tighten and extend their supply chain support to create an end-to-end experience as they reach out to build and secure closer customer relationships and take advantage of new business models. This means going beyond the digital facade to find and fix customer friction wherever it may hide. With the growing complexity and importance of digital technology throughout the organization, that means CIOs must step up, working closely with lines of business, and take the reins to lead this charge.
Finding and fixing friction across the entire customer journey is essential, but it is not the only new goal for CPG CIOs. Creating differentiated customer experiences means leveraging IT in fresh ways to add value to traditional offers. Simply put, the real experience comes not just from the iPhone, but from the applications delivered and the personalized interaction that strengthens the relationship with the customer. For example, Telsa provides not just a car that offers substantial sustainability but a new driving experience with automatic downloads to onboard systems on a regular basis.
Service becomes the secret sauce that will separate leaders from laggards in this new age of the consumer. Invariably these services and personalized experience are driven by innovation and implemented through process and technology. In support of customer obsession, CPG CIOs now have the opportunity to play a leading role in refining and defining new offers as well as the ability to introduce new business models and ultimately shape the destiny and success of their organizations.
It is clear that CPG organizations cannot afford to stand still, or be superficial. In the recent Forrester report, Disrupt Your Business From The Outside InAs a digital business leader, you know that even bolting excellent digital faces on the periphery of your business isn’t enough to satisfy the ever-increasing expectations of your customers.” So how do CPG CIOs use technology to create value and deliver better outcomes for existing and new customers? Forrester recommends that you embrace innovation partnerships and continuous improvement. NTT DATA Services is pleased to offer complimentary access to this report as well as the essential industry information you need to get started on refining your customer journeys. As one of the world’s leading innovators and IT services organizations, NTT DATA is ready to help you take full advantage of your opportunities and help you navigate the storm.
To get additional insight, access our Consumer Packaged Goods Knowledge Center, which features access to the Forrester Research report mentioned above, to see how friction reduction improves business outcomes, such as asset turnover and gross margin while delivering greater time-to-value to customers. Learn more about NTT DATA’s unique two-pronged approach that combines our Customer Friction Factor℠ service with practice expertise for rapid friction resolution.
Download the new Forrester Research to find out how to Disrupt Your Business from the Outside In.