There is no doubt that technology has helped to put the consumer into the driving seat, allowing users to influence the way in which organisations conduct business today. In fact, according to Forrester’s “2017 Predictions: Dynamics That Will Shape The Future In The Age Of The Customer”, almost all competitive markets are on the move.
“Banks try to innovate before digital banks become formidable competitors; big-branded retailers confront the digital threat with store closings and amped-up omnichannel and mobile efforts; manufacturers get serious about their digital business; relationship-driven investment firms try to adapt to the encroachment of tech titans; and utility companies – yes, utility companies – launch customer experience (CX) initiatives to influence consumption habits and change their operations,” the paper states.
It adds that empowered customers are more than prepared to move on should their experience not be pleasing. “Forty percent of consumers have a high willingness and ability to shift spend, with an additional 25% building that mindset. Today’s customers reward or punish companies based on a single experience – a single moment in time.”
Another interesting point made by the report is that revenue risk is set to increase up to 50 percent, and even industries that have traditionally tied customers into ironclad contracts, telcos and cable companies for instance, are under immense pressure.
Chris Pretorius, Cisco business unit manager at Datacentrix, explains that one sector feeling the impact of this profound shift is the Internet service provider (ISP). “Historically ISPs were able to strong-arm individuals and businesses into long term contracts that were binding, whatever the level of service received.
“Today, innovations such as software-defined WAN (SD-WAN) technologies – like Cisco’s iWAN solution – allow the consumer to select the best combination of providers and connectivity for them. The secure system automatically routes network traffic based on the best path for optimum application performance at the time, meaning that customers are now able to drive improved service delivery and ROI.
“Previously, local ISPs commanded connectivity, but SD-WAN solutions have now placed the control back into the user’s hands, allowing them to redefine contracts based on consumption, a real consumer-driven service evolution.”
Datacentrix is focusing on its delivery of ISP-agnostic technology and solutions that are ready for the new, consumer-driven age.
“From SD-WAN and multichannel collaboration capabilities, to the delivery of a business’ digital transformation at branch level, Datacentrix and Cisco are able to meet the growing demands for cloud and Software as a Service (SaaS) applications, rich media like teleconferencing and high-definition video, and the increased use of mobile and Internet of Things (IoT) devices; essentially anything that will provide today’s business with everything needed to expedite its digital journey and help improve customer engagement.”