In 2012, 174 meters below the Franco/Swiss border in a circular tunnel stretching 27 kilometres, the Higgs boson was discovered, through particle collision. It is through the observation of the by-products of these collisions that scientists and researchers are growing our understanding of the universe.
Can we apply the premise of collision to commercial business models; and through observing the by-product, understand the drivers of social and commercial evolution? May we be able to gain a greater understanding of what CX and customer expectation will look like 5 or even 10 years from now?
If we take, for example, Schiphol airport in the Netherlands who provide parking spots and collided it with the business model of a car rental company who invests in car fleets to rent out, what might we observe? Would we discover a company like ParkFlyRent who pairs departing passengers with those who wish to leave their car at the airport for long periods with inbound passengers looking for a car to rent? The pair never meet but trust is established.
Consider the shape of the ‘peer to peer’ model against this ‘peer to business to peer’ model. What is the role of the business? Is it to provide convenience, to provide a marketplace, or something else?
The ability to throw two markets together and turn them into one without affecting people’s access to mobility is surely the premise upon which market places exist.
Convenience is not key. While it may remove friction in terms of customer experience, it may also remove the customer experience altogether i.e. trust, relationships – the human element.
We are moving towards a world where marketplaces are becoming the dominant place for economic transactions. In the past the marketplace may have been defined as ‘an arena of commercial dealings’. Today these new market places facilitate micro-entrepreneurship that only thrive on positive feedback.
Let’s be contentious, let’s say that insurance companies don’t reward their customers with fair play and caution. When the insurance industry collides with a community based model like a social network, what would we observe? German Insurance broker Friendsurance.de provide a group based claims cash back bonus structure. They group people online who have a similar insurance policy and if no claims are submitted, the members of the group get a cash bonus at the end of the year. For two consecutive years more than 80% of the consumers who took advantage of the claims free bonus received a proportion of their premiums back. Both the insurance companies and the customers can win.
I suggest that all of these examples come from a quickly growing meme which is the consumer viewpoint of what brands are describing as digital disruption: the collaborate consumption economy. Rachel Botsman, in her TED talk, discusses the fundamentals behind the concept of the collaborative economy and predicts that it will evolve every commercial industry that we know today. In the collaborative economy, trust and relevance are the key drivers and what digital has brought to the table is the ability to build trust without having to meet someone.
It is interesting to note that the definition of a community is “the condition of sharing or having certain attitudes and interests in common”.
Is this collaborate-economy an evolution or a revolution of the marketplace? Is the secret to meeting its challenge to reconsider the linear, consumer to business based model and look to the cluster based community model?