In Connected Intelligence Platform, Customer Intelligence & Insights, Retail

With consumer-focused industries being transformed around us by digital technology, what does it take these days to get someone to change their behavior?

I recently heard an interview with a politician that shed light on this question. She was asked, “How do you get people who have never voted to vote?” She replied,”You have to walk in their shoes and answer the question, ‘How will my life be improved if I do this?’”

I thought it was a wise answer and I realized it also applies to how brands try to win consumers’ hearts and minds.

In a Knowledge @ Wharton video interview and podcast, “How digital tools support hyper personalized customer experiences,” Seeta Hariharan, GM and Group Head of TCS Digital Software & Solutions Group addresses this topic in detail. Seeta discusses how existing technologies can help companies understand their customers better so they can offer them the kinds of memorable, differentiated experiences that change hearts and minds.

At one point in the interview Seeta recalls asking a friend who buys copious amounts of dog food from Amazon what it would take to make him go into a neighborhood pet store. He told her Alexa already reminds him when he needs to order dog food, the price is competitive and the dog food is delivered to his home – so why change? Seeta then asked him that if the store offered to shampoo his dogs, would it make a difference? He said yes, he would even go in to the store if they offered to brush his dogs’ teeth.

Putting this example into perspective, Seeta explains, “In order to change the behavior of a customer, businesses need to understand what motivates them. For this, they need to understand their customers as individuals. They need to understand the personas of the customers.”

It reminded me of a shopping experience I had at Nordstrom. The story offers personal shoppers to people like me who like a little fashion advice and enjoy the convenience of getting recommendations in store and online based on our preferences.

On this particular occasion, I was shopping for a couple of items I wanted to take on vacation in early January. I sought out my personal shopper, Carla, to help me with my vacation wardrobe update. At the check-out counter, while she was bagging my new purchases, she asked what else I had on my “to do” list. I said I needed to run over to FedEx to return a couple of holiday gifts that I had ordered from other stores online.

Carla said she could help me with that too. I was sure she had misunderstood me. “No, they are purchases I made from other companies.” “No problem,” she replied as she escorted me to a counter where this sign was displayed: “Bring it in. We’ll Ship it Out.” I handed over my packages and crossed the trip to FedEx off my list.

Nordstrom answered the question, ‘How will my life be improved if I do this?’ with personalized service based on understanding my preferences.

They made my life easier. And isn’t that one of the promises of digital transformation?

For more thoughts about how to deliver the connected, memorable experiences that change consumer’s hearts and minds, please check out this video.

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