Knowledge and Agility are the Foundations of the Blue Goldfish

This was the first blogpost in a nine post series for IBM focused on the intersection of customer experience and technology, data and analytics. This post covers the concept of the Blue Goldfish and the 3R’s.

Customer experience is the new battleground for competitive advantage. But with every company focusing on customer experience, how do you stand out?
Former GE CEO Jack Welch speaks to this challenge, “There are only two sources of competitive advantage: the ability to learn more about our customers faster than the competition and the ability to turn that learning into action faster than the competition.”
Competitive advantage must then come from knowledge and agility. That is: what you know about your customers and then how quickly you can put that into action. This is where technology and data come into play with customer experience analytics.

Rising Customer Expectations
Today’s customers expect faster response times, a shorter wait, and lower cost all at once. A recent IBM Institute for Business Value report brings these expectations into sharp focus: 76% of consumers expect organizations to understand their individual needs, 81% of consumers demand improved response time, and 68% anticipate organizations will harmonize consumer experiences.
There’s no doubt that consumer expectations have changed. Each innovation is now faster and more accessible than the last. The same expectations apply to your business. You need to stand out in a sea of sameness.

The Blue Goldfish
The book, Blue Goldfish, co-authored with Evan Carroll, highlights dozens of companies using technology, data and analytics to improve customer experience. It’s the little things that make a big difference.

Why Blue?
King Harald Gormsson inspired the color blue. King Gormsson ruled Denmark in the 10th century. The medieval king was notorious for uniting Scandinavia and converting the Danes to Christianity. Legend has it that King Gormsson sported a dead tooth that turned blue over time, earning him the nickname, Bluetooth. Fast-forward over ten centuries to 1996. A consortium of companies including IBM, Intel, Ericsson and Nokia came together to create a new short-range wireless standard. In honor of King Harald and uniting together, they called it Bluetooth. Blue is symbolic of convergence. Our convergence is that analytics can allow big data and little data to come together to deliver high-level trends and personalized insights.

Why the Goldfish?
The origin of the goldfish dates back to 2009 and has now become a signature part of the Goldfish book series. First, a goldfish represents something small. The inspiration for the goldfish came from Kimpton Hotels. Introduced at Hotel Monaco in 2001, the boutique hotel chain offers lonely travelers the ability to adopt a temporary travel companion for their stay—a goldfish. It quickly became a signature element of the Kimpton experience – a little thing contributing to the overall customer experience.

Blue Goldfish looked at over 300 case studies. In writing the book, we assessed the patterns and discovered eight ways to leverage technology, data and analytics to improve the customer experience. The eight types of blue goldfish can be segmented into the 3 R’s:

Relationship
1. Personalization
2. Personal Data/Behavior Change
Responsiveness
3. Customer Service 3.0
4. Waiting
5. Real-time Response
Readiness
6. Frictionless Commerce,
7. Location-Aware Convenience
8. Trust/Safety

Takeaway: The best companies take advantage of all three R’s. They understand the little things that enhance relationships, responsiveness and readiness. Creating blue goldfish that drive both profits and prophets.

Today’s Lagniappe (a little something extra thrown in for good measure) – here’s a slideshare on the Blue Goldfish: