Another update from Orange Business Live in Munich, here's a report from my colleague George Malim.....
Until recently the customer relationship lifecycle was extremely simply. Companies simply advertised in a magazine or on TV, customers came to their shop or called their call centre and bought their product. Now, the lifecycle has become continual and multi-layered. At Orange Business Live 2011, Orange’s Dan da Costa demonstrated a scenario involving car hire to illustrate the extremes to which the customer care lifecycle has developed.
The demo scenario started in da Costa’s Atlanta home where he surfed the web looking for information about travelling to Munich to event. A contextualised advertisement put the idea of car hire in his head and offered the possibility of special deals on car rental for one hour. He then thought nothing more until arriving in Munich and seeing a hire car from the same company parked in a street.
That reminded him of his interest and he scanned the 2D barcode on the car. That initiated a text-based customer interaction. That asked him if he wanted to rent the car he saw. He didn’t, it was a base model Fiat and the application offered him other vehicles he chose one and at that stage decided he needed to interact with a human. Signifcantly, da Costa pointed out that most people like to deal with a person at some stage of a transaction, the clever thing is knowing when to introduce the agent in the process. “You don’t need to delight customers,” he said. “The process just needs to be efficient.”
Following running through the options, da Costa selected a vehicle and was sent location details to collect it and a GPS map from his current location. On arrival at the rental vehicle he scanned another 2D tag which then entered him into another text-based interaction to authorise the use of eCertified documents previously loaded to the system. In this case those are identification, credit card and driving licence. The vehicle is then automatedly unlocked and used by the hirer. Following use the hirer can pay for the car using NFC.
Importantly the process doesn’t end there. On his return home, da Costa will blog on a social networking site and the hire car company will notice this and say thanks and offer a coupon code for a discount on a future rental.
“The experience is now very rich,” he said. “The relationships are getting more complicated.”
In the hire car demo 18 different technologies were involved from 2D tags to social media monitoring. The process is also far more precise and beats advertising on a billboard and hoping for the best.
I've been writing about technology for nearly 20 years, including editing industry magazines Connect and Communications International. In 2002 I co-founded Futurity Media with Anthony Plewes. My focus in Futurity Media is in emerging technologies, social media and future gazing. As a graduate of philosophy & science, I have studied futurology & foresight to the post-grad level.