How To Succeed In The Age Of Assistance

Craig Fenton, Director of Strategy & Operations at Google, shared his insights at #StrategyUK


Today's web user is more curious, demanding, and impatient than ever. How do you deal with them?

Today's consumer demands a rich, highly personalized, internet-of-me that travels across devices - whether this is phone, desktop, or tablet. If you can't serve your customers in this age, if you can't keep up and you're not there in the moments that matter, then you're dead in the water.

Speaking at the Chief Strategy Officer Summit, Craig Fenton, Director of Strategy & Operations at Google, detailed three things you need to do to succeed in this environment:

1. Show Up

You have to be there when you're actually needed. If your customer has to wait for you, they'll move on to something or someone else.

Craig gives the example of retail giant River Island. They studied the behavior of their digital customers and found that customers were browsing but not following up on their interest.

They decided to include a map reference. This means that today, when a consumer searches for a particular item in the River Island shop, they are informed of the nearest store to their location that carries that item and whether or not it is in stock.

This marriage of digital and physical means River Island can always be there when they are needed. In an era where consumers want things right now, the physical store experience has to evolve or it will become irrelevant. It needs to become more experiential and play to its strengths, but it also needs to be part of the online experience to adhere to the rule of showing up.

River Island's update to their digital search led to 17% increase in shop visits.

2. Wise Up

It is not just a question of being there though - when your customers arrive, you have to be able to provide them with what they want.

In order to provide the kind of rich experience necessary to do this, you have to use the data you have on them. You have to analyze it and have a structure in place that enables you to exploit it fully.

This is now easier than ever. We produced more data last year alone than in last 5000 years combined. This data can create a full, rich, picture so that the experience you are providing for your customers is personalized and relevant to their needs.

Craig gives the example of Ocado's customer service, who applied machine learning to all of the data they collected to differentiate urgent requests from non-urgent ones. This means their customers are getting what they want, when they want it.

3. Speed Up

The average load time on mobile 12 seconds and 53% of people will leave the site if it takes longer than 3 seconds longer.

When sped up their website it led to a X3 increase in conversations.

Key takeaway

  • Be there for your consumers, be ready for them when they arrive with things they want, and be prepared to give it to them quickly

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