Firms not living up to the expectations of their 'augmented' customers

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Prompts on how to use Amazon's Alexa personal assistant are seen alongside an Amazon Echo in an Amazon ‘experience center’. According to Cognizant's Customer of the Future report, the majority of SEA respondents would trust recommendations obtained from search engines (77%), e-commerce sites (70%), mobile apps (67%) and voice-based personal assistants (48%) more than they would trust information provided directly by traditional company websites (44%).
AUGUST 06, 2019 - 1:55 PM

The new human-algorithm alliance is starting to have a significant impact on how traditional business models evolve. Trying to influence humans alone is no longer sufficient; brands also need to influence the algorithms. 

According to Cognizant's Customer of the Future report, customers are shifting their trust from brands to intelligent machines. 

SEA respondents specifically would trust recommendations obtained from search engines (77 per cent), e-commerce sites (70 per cent), mobile apps (67 per cent) and voice-based personal assistants (48 per cent) more than they would trust information provided directly by traditional company websites (44 per cent). 

The survey also found that Singaporeans are relatively less demanding of hyper-personalised experiences, and Malaysians appreciate brand offerings that help them save time and money. 

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While 60 per cent of Singapore respondents (compared to the SEA average of 65% and global average of 68 per cent) said a customised experience is vital, more than half (55 per cent, compared to the global average of 50 per cent) were satisfied with the level of personalisation provided by traditional businesses such as banks, insurance companies and telecom operators.

Nearly 54 per cent of Malaysian respondents (compared to the global average of 60 per cent) said they feel a bond with brands that help them save time and money and make their life incrementally easier, more enjoyable and more productive.

In terms of the payment experience, 28 per cent of respondents globally said that they cancelled a purchase because of a poor payment experience in the last 12 months. Consumers in SEA were slightly more exacting, with 30 per cent saying they cancelled a purchase. 

“Based on Cognizant’s research, traditional companies will need to go the extra mile in overhauling their digital infrastructure, go-to-consumer strategies, and customer experience goals,” says Manish Bahl, Associate Vice President, Centre for the Future of Work – APAC, Cognizant.

He suggested that companies should adopt a three-pronged ‘Reimagine, Rebuild and Rethink” approach: Reimagine their brand; rebuild digital reputation to reach augmented customers; and rethink their relevance to form deeper relationships with consumers and resonate with their behaviour.

"By focusing on the human-machine dynamic of this new era, brands will be able to understand and anticipate the needs of tomorrow’s customers, to swiftly deliver value that they hadn’t yet realised they needed.”