Mobile Apps are revolutionising the relationships between firms and their customers by becoming platforms for life ‘sat-navs’ or real-time personalised guides. Firms can use them to be with their customers before, during and after any transaction – all through the customer buying process and into repeat purchases. A two-way relationship across all channels and devices.

Customers choose to download apps themselves, onto their very personal phones, that they carry everywhere and which these days are very high-tech computers that are connected to further massive capabilities in the cloud. This is a very powerful combination of personalisation, permission and capacity.

And this new relationship platform is built on a communications device so it can support all levels of two-way communication down to real-time feedback and support. Which enables proactive prompts, rather than just reactive data capture, and suggestions to influence as well as add value.

Mobile Apps are amazing platforms for adding more added value services to your offer or for servitising your products. Not just after sales support and add-on services but helpful ways to make easy for customers to choose your products and services and then to choose you again next time.

But the real opportunity is for firms with very wide and varied product offers, like very large retailers, because each type of product is concerned with a different aspect of a customer’s life. And the more aspects of a customer’s life that you can analyse then the more you can guide them through with your app – a life ‘sat nav’. If you can link up your insights about different parts of their lives.

A retailer with a limited offer, like an insurance firm, does not affect much of a customer’s life – looking at one of their customers through that relationship is like looking at the customer through a key hole. But the limited offers of multiple retailers could be aggregated, like the Nectar loyalty card, to make a sort of phased array telescope for studying a customer’s life. Google may be trying to do this with Google+ and its variety of other services.

But you would need some way to orchestrate this network of retailers and well as a way of linking together about different parts of the customers’ lives. PIGs could be used to do both because:

  • different partners in an orchestrated network of retailers (or a single firm’s fragmented databases and siloed departments) all need to come together at the point of service consumption – so a model of how and when services are needed is also a model of how to coordinate them
  • a PIG is just a contextual model of how and when services are needed