Customers have been extensively using Twitter to contact brands and ask for support for at least five years so it's surprising that they took this long to improve the interface. It was only recently that they removed the need for users to be following each other to send DMs, which was a major issue for brands that wanted to support customers using Twitter.
The omni-channel and seamless shopping experience is the Holy Grail many retailers continue to seek to achieve. Companies are told that the customer expects the same level of brand engagement whether in-store, on a phone, a computer, tablet or mobile and by delivering this, the customer will remain a loyal shopper, spend more, returning again and again.
One technology attracting attention is artificial intelligence. AI and its current early form, machine learning - computers that can "think" for themselves and tailor their actions and responses to situations based on experience - is going to play an increasingly significant role in our everyday lives.
I have been reading several research reports from both sides of the Atlantic recently that talk about how customers are starting to favour the online shopping experience over the real, in-store experience. How could this be? Haven't retailers always found that some customers prefer to see and touch products before purchasing?
Companies placing responsibility in the hands of the public is both bold and precarious. Nowhere is this more evident than in the review sections that gild the product pages of Amazon. Of course, the majority serve as a valuable steer for would-be customers. Many, however, fail to reach even the most basic criteria required.
Technology is only as good as the thinking and planning behind it; and new customer initiatives are only as good as their design and implementation. The companies that fail to understand this are risking not just money, but their reputations and livelihoods too. Good customer experience programmes can hold the key to every business's future.