In today’s technology-driven world, customers and consumers have made the experience they receive from a brand a crucial aspect of any engagement or customer journey.

Brands will be competing for customers and loyalty based increasingly upon the experience the customer receives, not just the product they buy.

To guide organisations through this transition, International Data Corporation (IDC) has published the Future of Customers and Consumers (FOCC) framework.

Technology is playing a key role in the customer experience and the digital transformation of that experience. Customers are more technologically connected than ever before and now have amazing technology in their hands, on their laps, and on their desktops from phones to tablets to smart home systems, smart speakers, and wearables. And how customers are using technology is changing, which results in brands having to play the catch-up game.

“In 2020 IDC expects companies to spend over $553 billion on customer experience technologies and services. The actual impact on the customer experience in a dynamic market and the resulting impact on the bottom-line revenue for a brand remains a question for many executives,” says Alan Webber, program vice-president and the global lead for IDC’s future of the customer and consumer research. “The customer is the most important part of any business.”

The Future of Customers and Consumers is characterised by the changing and shifting nature of the relationship between customers and brands through a lens or prism of technology.

IDC has defined the FoCC as: An empathetic relationship between customers and brands built on what the customer wants and how they want to be treated through the technology lens of awareness, engaging, learning, and, measuring.

Customers and brands both want to be understood throughout the buying/selling journey. It is that understanding that makes us human; that makes our interactions human. The future for successful brands is going to be all about employing awareness, engagement, learning, and measurement to provide what customers desire – a more human experience in a world eclipsed by technology – what IDC terms EmpathyAtScale.