THE GUIDING QUESTION
What are the demands of my customer?
To answer this question, it is enormously helpful to learn more about people today: Who are they and how do they behave? Constantly learning more about real people in real life is key to gaining relevant customer insights. Like you and me, people have developed new ways of thinking and knowing: Smart devices, web services and platforms have considerably expanded the knowledge base and improved its availability, thereby having a strong impact on consumer behaviour. And this story has only just begun: Their access to applicable knowledge will increase exponentially in the near future through new AI-based systems. This would significantly increase the negotiating power of the individual.
DISCOVER THE EDUCATED DECISION-MAKER (EDM)
Today’s and tomorrow’s customers cannot be simply boiled down to their traditional role of just buying and consuming. We describe their new role as Educated Decision-Maker (EDM). This model, a consumer transformation or human transformation approach, sees the consumers as well-informed, independent and self-reliant decision-makers who actively form their decisions based on higher levels of knowledge and information, rather than just buying whatever they are offered. The impact of this new consumer model and behaviour on business and economy should not be underestimated.
This may be the first time in history that consumers have taken the driver’s seat – directly determining where your company is heading.
And, thinking ahead, even farther than that: The EDM in the driver’s seat might not only determine the direction and speed; maybe he will simply get out and leave your car deserted, preferring to run instead of driving. Did we already mention that learning is key? Often the user or consumer is only seen from the point of view of the respective industry. The influence of learning experiences from different areas and verticals is left out of the picture.
With the iPhone, people learned to touch and swipe instead of typing – and they used this new technique in every corner of the digital world. With Alexa, people learned to talk to their devices, and they will go on talking. And once you have learned to verify your account digitally, for example at Airbnb, you will better understand pure online banking, such as N26. This learning experience can be easily transferred to the next time you have contact with an insurance company. Therefore, ignoring how clients are treated at a platform far outside your traditional industry may simply drive you out of business.
HOW TO HANDLE THE EDM
It’s always the consumer who decides the future success of products, not the available technology. The more technology is in play, the better the information and knowledge level of the people you address. We use Knowledge Currency Units (KCUs) as a new parameter to define the level of knowledge experience and access to information. A bet on new technology must always be accompanied by a bet on smarter people; on EDMs. What does it mean for me and my company when the consumer turns into an Educated Decision-Maker? In a nutshell: It’s all about Radical User Focus, and companies need to face up to this new reality.
… AND NOW YOUR ANSWER
As with all of our five dimensions, the guiding question at the beginning is easy to ask but needs time and energy to answer. So, take your time to browse through your mind and our magazine, and then return: What are the demands, the needs, the expectations of my customer?