Attention Saving Automated, data-powered, seamless and happily forgotten. A CX strategy for the future.

In the 2017 customer journey, attention saving moments are frequently invisible. And the customer will only appreciate them the first time round. Delightful solutions quickly become routine, noticed only when broken. Competitors (within and outside your industry) are working around the clock to reduce friction through incremental improvements and radical shortcuts. If you’re not up to speed on changing expectations you will trigger disappointment, frustration and even a little rage. Yikes.

Why Now

What has driven customer expectations around attention saving so high?

  • The On-Demand Decade: No category has remained untouched by on-demand expectations. The decade where mobile-wielding masses have embraced everything from Narcos to narcotics on-demand. Didi Chuxing’s platform can provide 20 million trips a day (yep, more than Uber!), while as of April 2017, Amazon Dash button orders were being placed four times a minute.
  • Verbal Intelligence: Alexa, Siri, Google Assistant and other virtual assistants harnessed developments in voice recognition, natural language processing and cloud-based intelligence and leapt from novelty to revolutionary. 76% of all regular voice users say that “using voice technology feels really natural now and I don’t even think about it.” (JWT Intelligence, February 2017). As platforms, they offer a growing range of access to third party services. Along with their awkward cousins, chatbots, they are rewriting expectations around brand interactions: from complex to casual.
  • Status via Busyness: With connected lifestyles the office never closes, as any modern knowledge worker knows. Research published in the Journal of Consumer Research found: “status inferences are driven by the belief that the busy individual has higher human capital characteristics and is scarcer and more in demand.” In plain English: an epic cultural shift has occurred, whereby leisure time isn’t always the status symbol it once was. On the contrary, being so busy one needs time-saving apps, within-the-hour services (and not-so-smart juicers) to survive is a sign that the individual is a very big deal.

Where Next

How can your Customer Experience outpace expectations around attention saving?

  • Go Off The Map: When asking which parts of the customer experience to make disappear, think beyond the typical route of your customer’s’ journey with your brand. What experiences, outside that journey, in daily life would do well to just disappear?
  • Make Multitasking Easy: Attention maximizers love to layer hands-free, eyeball-free escapism or education on to otherwise lost time (see how sales of audiobooks boom while ebooks flicker). How might you empower customers to cram in additional experiences?
  • Guilt: Outsourced: Even the world’s most conscious customer doesn’t want to idle in the supermarket aisle weighing up which eggs came from the happiest chickens. Free up their attention by assuring negative eco or social impacts are minimized.
  • Don’t Be Evil: The dark side of easy and invisible experiences is they can encourage customers to overindulge or pursue harmful behavior (such as driving for longer hours with Uber) in pursuit of profit. Make sure your nudging is not nefarious.

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About The Author:

Maxwell Luthy

Maxwell Luthy, Director of Trends & Insights is based in our New York office. He co-authored Trend-Driven Innovation (Wiley, 2015) and delivers lively workshops for leading brands along with insight-packed keynotes at conferences. He previously oversaw the company's 3,000 member spotter network.

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