‘Always on’ and expecting immediate, relevant and quality experiences, whether B2B or B2C, companies need to quickly understand and respond to this change in customer expectations.

Inherently a social tool the World Wide Web, as described by its founder Tim Berners-Lee in his book Weaving the Web, was meant to “…support and improve our weblike existence in the world”. With the acceleration of consumer-focused technology innovation, this goal is coming to fruition. As digital technology seeps into every facet of our lives, the relationship between customers and businesses has fundamentally changed.

Online interactions now subvert traditional hierarchies and are focused on two-way conversations, where peer-to-peer recommendations and advocacy reign supreme. In order to reach the always on customer, businesses need to shift from a broadcast model and re-evaluate their product/market-fit and approach to connecting with consumers.

The ‘always on’ customer

PwC - Always On Customer

Defining the ‘always on’ customer through sentiment, intent and action will be key to meeting their characteristics and expectations.

The digital megatrends of social, mobile, analytics and cloud are at the heart of driving the characteristics and expectations of the ‘always on’ customer. Beginning with a deep understanding of customer mindset and behaviour with regards to sentiment, intent and action will yield the insights to meet the characteristics and expectations of the always on customer. In order to meet the needs of the ‘always on’ customer the notion of ‘engagement’, needs to be the responsibility of the whole business – brand promises needs to be echoed in a business’ every customer interaction.

The NextGen business model

A clear understanding of the consumer ecosystem will? be another key differentiator to standing out in the always on world. Businesses that centre their models around the always on customer (as per below) – focusing on the right metrics, taking an integrated approach, obtaining a thorough understanding of the customer, and strategic investments – can reap real dividends. These businesses will be able to build loyalty, increase retention, and command price premiums.

PwC - The NextGen Business Model

Addressing the needs of the ‘always on’ customer will mean companies will need to put them at the heart of their business models.

In order to meet the needs of the always on customer and transition to a NextGen business model the following will be key:

  • Be bold, agile and innovative – Adopt agile business models to deliver real time engagement
  • Transactional relationships won’t cut it – Businesses that get customers to identify with their products and services at an emotional level will win
  • Customers want to be connected – Businesses need to understand these needs and meet them on their preferred ‘turf’
  • Customers leave behind a lot of data – Businesses need to actively listen, process and respond in a timely manner
  • Talent, technology and architecture will be a fundamental to overall business success
  • Enabling outcomes will add value, rather than just optimising delivery of products and services

To learn more about the ‘always on’ customer, please download our report ‘The new wave of business: Embracing the ‘always on’ customer’.



John Riccio

John is PwC’s Global Design & Deploy, Experience Consulting partner.

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