The customer meeting of the future
by Martin Glaumann
Seamless, personal and at the right time

The new wave of digitalization is driven by changes in customer behavior and rapid technology development that contribute to new business logic for companies and organizations. Being able to meet customers’1 or citizens’ specific needs is central. This means a change of focus from specific customer channels to an optimized and integrated customer experience throughout the entire customer journey, from the store to customer service and online. Companies that focus on the customer meeting in their digital transformation can strengthen their competitiveness, increase customer loyalty and decrease costs. The public sector can provide better service to citizens and unlock resources to increase welfare. 

In the future there are no channels – only a customer meeting 

In business after business, the borders between physical and digital channels are becoming blurred. Services that previously were exclusively physical are now becoming increasingly digital. The online healthcare provider Kry challenges traditional primary care by providing doctor appointments online through video-conferencing solutions. Products that previously needed to be tested physically can now be evaluated digitally; L’Oréal’s app, Makeup Genius, lets customers try on makeup on their smartphones. Using the camera, the customer can see the makeup applied and then order the product with the touch of a button. 

Figure 1: New business logic for companies and organizations

Meanwhile, previously separated channels such as telephone, email, chat, web and social media are being integrated in the same mobile apps. Facebook Messenger has features for voice calls, video, chat, file sharing and web browsing. This creates innovative opportunities to interact with customers and offering a first-class experience. The American “beauty box” company Birchbox uses Snapchat for customer service. Customers can describe their problems by voice, video and images and get help directly through the app. 

Industries with a high degree of digital maturity are now interacting seamlessly with the physical room. The New York Times has developed a virtual-reality app for news that lets the user experience news in the same environment as it took place. The American e-commerce giant Amazon has opened a bookstore in Seattle, and at the end of 2015, the Swedish online