Davies Hickman Partners have focused on the opportunity for ‘smart service’ for some time, so it was interesting to see IBM Global Process Services moving forward with their Smarter Managed Services Offerings. Specialising in BPO (outsourcing), IBM Global Process Services is one of the biggest global players and they have built a range of new services which capture the drive towards being ‘smarter’.

This shift in service reflects the consumer move from phone centric customer relationships to contact being driven by PC/tablets and smartphones. Our own data has shown that 4 in 5 purchases are researched online prior to purchase across increasingly omni-channel interfaces. In this environment, linking up the consumer experience across channels, including in-store, has become more important to a public which wants to do more in the same time.

The core of IBM’s Smarter Managed Services seems to be the anticipation of the full complexity of consumer journeys for commerce and then to manage these with a range of software and services which make the whole process seamless for customers. So, for example the link between smartphone access for price information, vouchers and consumer location will link strongly to the in-store experience. Equally, awareness for agents of customer behaviour online can be matched to good customer experience whether delivered by web-chat, phone, co-browsing or video.

Outbound and push notifications based on Big Data will be more accurate, with privacy issues better managed. Overall, the plan is to create friction free customer experiences, but there will still be a need to ‘nudge’ customers to behave in a particular way. Here, data and great omni-channel influences should be supplemented by psychology and behavioural economics to encourage the behaviours which are rationally beneficial for customers and business.