Guest Post

Build trust in technology by reimagining customer experiences

During this uncertain time created by the pandemic, brands that win their customers' trust and add value through services will stand head and shoulders above the competition.

Trust is central to the human experience. All civilizations, societies and communities are based on our ability to form bonds with others and to have faith in them.

In today's digital, data-driven world, trust continues to be the critical commodity. But trust is a finite resource. It can be easily lost or squandered. When we can't trust people, we stop collaborating with them. When we can't trust a company's technology, we stop doing business with them.

This is important because the more that technology is central to our lives, the more we expect from it. And we have never relied on technology as much as we do today. COVID-19 has thrust digital into our homes and we now, more than ever before, routinely use it to buy goods, connect with friends, work from home, entertain ourselves, access public services and much more. Any breach of trust today will be more damaging as a result.

To maintain trust, pioneering businesses are evolving their tech-driven business models around a human focus. Accenture's Technology Vision for Oracle survey shows that there needs to be a virtuous circle of trust, data and deeper experiences. This is something that business leaders understand as important. Seventy-six percent of the executives surveyed agree that organizations need to dramatically reengineer experiences that bring technology and people together in a more human-centric manner.

To start down the path toward this goal, I look at one of the trends the survey showed, which is adding much higher levels of personalization to the customer experience.

From consumption to collaboration

In the past, business transactions were one-way. A business created a brand or employee experience that was then consumed by the customer or employee. Today's digital leaders realize that transforming these one-way transactions into collaborative, co-owned relationships is much more effective.

The 'secret sauce' to these experiences is personal agency. This empowers people and makes them feel like they truly have a stake in the services and tools they use. It unlocks a new relationship where the customer or employee is an equal partner.

These relationships demand trust. Digital loyalty is only as good as the digital trust that is provided and agreed upon between partners in the experience creation process. Where this trust is earned, the results are powerful.

Personal agency drives engagement

Take the employee experience. Businesses are increasingly adopting PaaS cloud technologies to enable cooperation between employees and deliver them more control over their workplace and HR experience. Virtual HR agents or chatbots, for instance, are being used to deliver personalized, self-service experiences to workers. Here, the employee is elevated by the technology and made an active and necessary contributor to their own workplace experience.

The same sort of empowerment lies behind innovative customer experiences. One large U.S. telecom company provides a good example. Looking to give customers more control over their marketing experiences, the telco enabled personalized, cross-channel experiences that are fueled by data streaming and analytics. The company found that empowering customers to make their own relevant choices to drive their experiences increases engagement, turning passive audiences into active participants.

Another good example is a major airport in Southeast Asia. The airport enabled digital marketing automation and the delivery of targeted customer experiences across channels and touch points. The resulting 360-degree view of the airport's customers enables it to run hyper-relevant, near real-time campaigns delivering personalized and timely messages to passengers and customers through their preferred digital channels.

Fulfilling the experience promise

Truly personalized experiences deliver value to your stakeholders. But the days when people were willing to trust their data to 'black boxes' within organizations are over. Today, consumers want to know how their data is used, and they also expect their data to buy them influence over how their experiences are designed and developed.

Choose-your-own-adventure stories, customization with live user input and tools that let people design their own experiences are all ways that businesses are embracing cooperative experiences to deliver business value and align to the values of customers and employees.

Leading businesses are already building these new relationships, accelerated by the struggles many people are facing as a result of the pandemic. In an age of uncertainty, brands that can win the trust of stakeholders and add value through services that are truly relevant will stand head and shoulders above the competition. If you've not yet started out on this journey, now is the time.

About the author
Patrick ("Pat") Sullivan leads Accenture's Oracle Business Group in North America. He spends his time helping clients build solutions to current and future enterprise challenges that span hot topics across cloud, data, integration and how to deliver real business value from technology. His proudest accomplishment is his team, which is comprised of the world's top Oracle-skilled technicians. Additionally, Sullivan is the executive sponsor for Accenture's Experienced Hire Program and the lead for the annual Accenture Technology Vision for Oracle.

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