Tobias Mitter: Customer-centric is about a consistent, exceptional experience!

Tobias MitterToday’s answers within our interview serie on the latest thoughts about the “web & mobile experience” are the ones of Tobias Mitter from IBM Deutschland. Coming with a track record of consulting and helping companies to succeed in a digital age he is now part of the Social Business Center of Competence at IBM Deutschland. He has a profound understanding of social and analytics and a holistic idea of digital customer experience integrating social and mobile technologies with content and analytics.

1. Why is the “customer experience” so important for digital strategies?

The customer’s voice makes and breaks companies today in days. There are many larger developments at play that enable this dramatic change: 1. Social media carries good as well as bad customer experience around the globe and creates tremendous ripple effects. 2. Consumers want to take an active role in engaging with their brands – think of the large number of successful companies funded by Kickstarter for example. 3. Customers expect a consistent experience 24/7 and on every channel when interacting with brands. And new companies founded in the web era set the pace for all players in the market.

2. What are the building blocks for a good web/mobile experience strategy?

There are obvious and less obvious success factors. Obviously brands need to be consistent when engaging with their customers across all touch points. This requires the capability to deliver content and experiences across a variety of channels and devices. But leading brands are already thinking far beyond that. They tap into the global stream of social data to predict market trends and customer behaviour to adjust their experience in real time. Less obvious yet tremendously important: With the new customers expectations for convenience and cross-channel experience come significant security challenges. Brands will carefully have to advance their digital security strategies as they build out their digital experience.

3. What are the key challenges in the handling of the digital customer?

The digital customers impacts three areas of every brand: 1. Business – is your business model ready for the digital consumer? Are your processes agile enough? New competitors can disrupt industries much faster than ever before. 2. People – we see a tremendous shift in the workforce going on right now. Transactional tasks are being automatised where companies fight for the creative talents. Companies founded in the pre-web era need to reinvent their way to work to compete. 3. Embrace digital – it’s the only to collect the data and foster the business agility to be a customer-centric company.

4. What is the state of realization on the corporate side? What are companies already doing right and what do they still need to improve when in comes to web/mobile experience?

We have seen some progress over the last couple of years. Yet there is an exercise I suggest every brand to go through: Lock your PC for a month and use a smartphone only to interact as a consumer as well as to collaborate as an employee. Customer-centric is about a consistent, exceptional experience. And the smartphone reliably shows the gaps you need to adress.

5. What is the first thing to think about while starting the project assessment/planning for this topic?

Your customers! Bring them into the process right from the start. Design thinking for companies like our IBM Design approach is a great way to make the right decisions and move fast at the same time.