VIDEO: How to Contend with the New Normal in Customer Behavior and Relationships

In this excerpt from his CRM evolution 2018 keynote, Prophet Principal Analyst Brian Solis discusses the mobile-centric "new normal" and what it means in customer strategy. 

You can watch Brian Solis's complete keynote, Designing Customer Experiences for Accidental Narcissists, in the CRM evolution Conference video portal. Learn more about CRM evolution here

Read the complete transcript from this clip:

Brian Solis: There is a new normal that's starting to unfold, and I am making decisions based on the normal I know. My whole business infrastructure is built on the normal that always was. What happens when we make those decisions based on what we know is that we'll never be innovative. At best, we'll be iterative--not that that's a bad thing, it's just different.

I try to use metaphors a lot because this stuff is all so complicated, but this picture, to me, represents business. Operations, processes, strategies, you name it. Most of how we operate, most of what we're trying to do is all designed for that person right there, front and center. She is the customer that we've always known. She reflects the processes, the policies, the strategies, the low risk, all of those things that we know very well. And we insist on only seeing her, whereas everybody around her is clearly living life differently. Psychologically, we might look at this picture and say, "This is exactly what's wrong with the world today."

I can't even go to a concert and see the act because everybody has their phones up and I'm thinking, "Why are your phones up? You're here, let's enjoy this moment together." And then I realize that I start to sound like that cranky old grandpa.

Because when you look at this picture, what's actually happening is just life. Everybody in this moment is actually experiencing whatever it is their way, so who am I to tell them to put their phones down? All I can try to do is understand how to design experiences that are going to be meaningful to them. I'm not them, but does that make it okay for me to make decisions based on what I know versus what they want, or how they live.

So you could change perspective on an image like this by looking at this person right there in the front and saying, "Wow, look at this selfish woman, not sharing this super-special moment with all of her Facebook friends that couldn't be there. They're missing out and she's holding it all in her head."

Over time, I've just found consistently what's happening when we study customer experience strategies, when you study digital transformation, when we study innovation, we're just doing so based off our priorities, what we know, and not necessarily from the other side of it, which is also called human-centered or user-centered design, which creates a natural experience divide. The more we make decisions based on what we know without taking into account the other side, that experience divide starts to widen, and that's the exposure for disruption. This is where competitors, this is where startups see these opportunities because they're looking from the outside in.

In fact, what I found in a lot of my digital transformation research is that when I ask companies who are focused, digital transformation on CX, if they’ve studied their digital customer, every single year the number goes down. Yet, they're making decisions about their digital customers and their customers without actually knowing why. In fact, this was the biggest drop. It went from 54% to 35% in one year.

So what happens is, when we're making decisions without actually understanding or being empathetic about how people are changing, we're doing so with a serious cognitive bias which affects everything: the technologies we use, how we interpret data. I came up with a fancy name for it: the law of accelerated societal and selfie disruption. But really, it’s just trying to appreciate how people are changing, and as a result, what they value, how they make decisions, how they behave, what they prefer. In fact, a lot of this research I'm doing right now with Google is simply looking at how extensively the mobile phone has changed us.

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