I was sitting in a Starbucks today writing this blog. My regular store (Bethesda Maryland for those who may want to know) has just been remodeled and I was thinking how nice it looked, more spacious, open and much brighter inside. The barista said ‘hi’ to me and of course they knew I wanted a clover brewed coffee. In every respect a pleasant experience, I was treated with a personal touch and my needs were meet quickly.
Starbucks has spent a tremendous amount of time and energy creating an “experience” that is consistent with their brand and mission. While there is a high premium on efficiency, getting everyone through the lines quickly, etc. it does not come at the expense of the brand experience. As many of you know I travel fairly regularly and I count on a consistent experience when I go to a Starbucks, no matter what country I am in. It takes a lot of hard work, determination and quality control to achieve this and Starbucks is an example of a company that recognizes the value of “experiences”.
Every single client of Tahzoo is wrestling with this problem. The web has changed and is still changing everything. The practical outcomes of connected societies, friends, consumers, and business is one of the most profound forces in our world today. We see dictatorships being toppled without bloodshed, social and charitable campaigns reaching audiences that would otherwise be ignored or uninvolved and it feels like every day we learn about new and innovative business model. How could you not feel this is one of the most amazing and inspiring periods in the course of human history?
During periods of great change, great leadership is required because the course is not clear. In a disruption phase, clarity of mission and vision are the hallmarks of success. People need a beacon to guide them through uncertainty and the opaqueness of an evolving new order. More stable periods require a focus on efficiencies and consistency, management vs. leadership becomes the central winning theme. If they survive long enough, all businesses oscillate between these two dynamics.
Tahzoo is in a period of great change. Fortunately for all of us the world of Advertising, Marketing and Customer Service are also in a period of great change. As expressed in my story about Starbucks, they’ve done an excellent job of providing a consistent experience that appeals to a broad audience and the personalized touch comes through human interactions.
I believe that for companies to compete in the 21st century they need to deliver personalized and relevant digital experiences to their customers. We’ve all enjoyed TV shows and movies where the characters interact with a computer and the experience seems almost human. The computer “knows” the person and is knowledgeable about their interests, desires and engages appropriately. It made great entertainment because it used to be novel and unachievable, now it’s expected.
The core value proposition of Tahzoo is enabling our clients to deliver contextually relevant and personalized experiences to their customers.
In order to do this our clients must be willing to change and adopt new approaches to doing business, new technologies and new ways of organizing themselves. This is often described as Digital Transformation. In order to undertake this level of effort, a client needs to have the willingness and the motivation to engage in this level of change, not something to be taken on lightly.
When I meet with clients I am always trying to understand if they are asking for consulting support around a technology implementation or a marketing initiative or have they committed to a new way of doing business? Because transformation is hard and the practical application of new marketing strategies and technology is not commonplace we need to be selective when choosing our clients.
When I started Tahzoo we made a decision to focus on the Fortune 500, because they had the financial resources and enough at stake to engage in a multiyear transformational process. For those of you who don’t know, our very first client project we built a call center application on top of SDL Tridion. It is now the primary application for over 100,000 customer service representatives. Not only did this client realize the importance of improving their customer interactions, they were willing to spend time and money to see it through. That’s what happens when consultants and clients trust each other.