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Are Domains The Next Big Customer Service Trend?

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Brooke Lynch

Contact center news, customer experience, CX trends

Customer service has emerged as a key driver of success; by implementing exceptional, all-encompassing, and hyper-convenient experiences, businesses have successfully heightened customer expectations. And while it may seem like businesses are doing everything right in upholding these standards, new MIT research states they may be missing a pivotal piece of the experience. 

In a new briefing from MIT’s Center for Information Systems Research, the authors argue that in order to provide truly exceptional customer experiences companies must undergo a complete mindset shift. By breaking down fundamental categorization, normally based on industries, companies can better fulfill customer needs through domain thinking. 

In their description of the shift, they note that companies often consider themselves in terms of the industry they operate in, like banking or retail. However, customers don’t box their own actions or desires within these categories, they think more broadly when seeking a product or service. For example, they note that a customer might navigate getting an education or a new home. These products and services don’t exist in one industry, they often work within an interconnected landscape of services. To best achieve this mindset shift, companies must rethink the way they solve customers’ needs in their own personal domains. 

One of the most evident problems with this discrepancy in customer vs. company mindset is that it supports a fragmented customer experience. When focusing on industry, companies are not looking at the 360-degree view of their customer; they’re emphasizing a single outcome rather than fully understanding the customer’s intent and overall goal.


Shopify Example

To better describe the concept of a domain, researchers highlight Shopify. As a whole, the company provides eCommerce software within a platform that allows businesses to set up their own digital shops. The key to their status as a domain-oriented business is their curation of accessible services.

The company wears many hats; they offer the ability to build a brand, set up a store, and market and manage that same store. Rather than finding a platform, using a marketing service, and finding a company that can help manage it, Shopify realized all of the components of operating an eCommerce store first, to curate an exceptional and simple experience. 

When it comes down to it, domain thinking really just zeroes in on the customer journey. However, instead of simply focusing on the customers’ journey within a single transaction, domain thinking predicts why a customer may be using your service and what other services they may be using with it, to establish a sort of one-stop-shop experience. 


Digital Requirements

While it may seem straightforward enough, the authors emphasize that this shift is actually a huge undertaking. They outline the importance of establishing a digitally savvy top management team. In addition to assigning the right team, they also must direct their sights on emerging technology that will provide ongoing, long-term success. By focusing on long-term goals, companies can work to establish services that attract a loyal and active customer base.

Additionally, a huge piece of this domain mindset is digital partnering. To curate an effective experience, companies will likely have to maintain digital partnerships to successfully integrate and produce a fully immersive service. For example, when looking to book a flight, a domain-based company would connect you to a taxi service for when you arrive, or a hotel chain to consolidate your customer journey. Ultimately, every company may not have the means or structure to personally sustain every aspect of the overall journey, but they should be savvy enough to identify partnerships that enhance the customer experience.