Challenged customer experience

5. September 2017

It took half a century until a more comprehensive approach to client/customer relationship building replaced 1960’s marketing classic and dinosaur: the 4Ps model of marketing. Today, customer experience management shapes the way clients and customers build brand loyalty. Customer journeys are meticulously scripted. No touchpoint is left unplanned.

A patchwork of experiences

And only when the very last industries have adopted this new paradigm of customer experience, technology and new business models were awaiting to nix the beautiful idea of a company controlling its brand experience. The experience has never been more fragmented than today. Industries have been flooded with new intermediaries with digital interaction or distribution models that make the customer experience increasingly a patchwork of experiences, in which the B2B and B2C customer is exposed to various players.

Because of these intermediaries and digital channels, customer experiences alter, which results in changing customer behavior a new equilibrium of loyalty drivers which challenge brand owners’ business models.

Implications for brand owners

With a more fragmented experience and changing behavior, brand owners are even more challenged to manage customer loyalty and to understand their motivations, drivers, and behaviors. Companies who embrace this new reality and rather integrate and try to influence these new intermediaries in their experience strategy will be closer to their audience than those who try to fight the new players.

A dominant excuse of why brand owners hesitate to integrate new channels and digital intermediaries is product complexity in their respective industry. However, a recent McKinsey&Company1 study revealed that neither product complexity nor industry are decisive factors when selecting a digital versus traditional channel. What determines the channel of choice is whether or not the buyer is making a first-time purchase. This underpins that to offer a customer centric experience, brand owners need to integrate digital and traditional channels and liaise with intermediaries to increase the seamlessness of the experience.

Table: Industries and their experience disrupters

Philippe Hügli experiences this huge pressure on brand owners with his start-up hystrix medical AG, a new web based market place for medical and pharmaceutical products, implants and services representing an additional sales- and sourcing channel for manufacturers such as Boston Scientific, his earlier employer, as well as for healthcare providers. Marketplaces like hystrix medical will transform the way doctors (in private practices) and hospitals purchase from and interact with their suppliers. Hügli: “Hystrix medical addresses the manufacturers and healthcare providers who want to be at the forefront of tomorrow’s customer-/supplier-interaction and try to stay as close as possible to their partners. This allows them to remain an active designer of the respective sales-/purchasing- experience by using our market place from the very beginning.”

Author: Tobias Ammann, Partner at Brandoos


1McKinsey Quarterly Article (2017); When B2B buyers want to go digital – and when they don’t;; (28. August 2017)