In customer experience, boring is the new cool

Press release – December 1, 2017

By Oisin Lunny, OpenMarket for Adrian Swinscoe


This is a guest post from Oisin Lunny, Chief Evangelist, OpenMarket, and follows on from a discussion that Oisin and I had about the annual tech prediction cycle. This is #BoringIsCool article No. 2. No. 1 is here.

Customer Experience in 2018 is all about the latest new tech baubles, right? Sure, if you want to forget about your actual customers.

CX conferences are full of the latest variations on isolated themes within the customer journey, and companies’ quarterly forecasts are riddled with this month’s “silver bullet” which will definitely, absolutely, solve whatever problem is being presented as being utterly vital to solve this week.

But, with the micro-focus on what’s “so hot right now” to quote the great Jacobim Mugatu, we lose sight of the big picture. And the big picture has never been more interesting, and has never had more potential to deliver the next level of CX. But, in order to see the wood for the trees, we need to get boring again.

Let me explain. Technology which can make customers lives better at precise moments, while simultaneously saving companies oodles of cash, has been around for decades, but hardly anyone is using it to its full potential. Why? Because it’s been around for decades, so it’s “boring” compared to, say, a retail app which mashes up Wi-Fi based geo-location data with embarrassing social graph moments on real-time digital signage. The new stuff might be “exciting”, “radical” or “cutting edge”, but, how does it ACTUALLY make anyone’s lives better (aside from a few app development agencies in Shoreditch?). In 2018, we don’t need more tech solutions, we need to take time out to get brilliant at the basics again.

I’m talking about boring old SMS, which celebrates its 25th birthday this week and is actually very exciting technology. With global mobile penetration exceeding 100% this year, humanity has now evolved to a species of phono-sapiens. The huge CX advantage of this is that businesses can be sure that all of their customers have a device through which they can interact with them on.  SMS has close to a staggering 100% open rate, and a response time which can be measured in seconds rather than days. Pretty exciting for 25-year-old tech, right? In fact, I would argue that this boring old tech is the new CX cool.

We have more data about our customers behavior than ever before, and more business intelligence to leverage the data to actually predict what will make our customers happy. But there is a big disconnect between this tantalizing “holy grail” of joined up CX and actually reaching our customers. It’s high time we got over our magpie-like tendencies towards whatever tech is exciting this week and asked: “What interactions can really make our customers lives better, right now? How can we anticipate their needs and deliver a CX which will make them happy?”

How about a simple text message, telling your customer exactly when a package will be delivered, and allowing them to reply and reschedule in real-time? Seems pretty boring, but if you are an ecommerce customer there is nothing more important. Or an SMS survey to see how your customer liked their holiday, right after they’ve checked out while its fresh in their minds. Again, it’s probably not going to make the front page of WIRED, but it could boost your NPS by 140%. Or how about allowing people to complete simple tasks such as password reset by automated text message, instead of wading through “ye-olde 40-minute flute solo call centre hold music” to speak to someone? Not WWDC keynote material, but your customers (remember them?) will love you for sparing them the flute-fest. As will your skilled call centre staff, now liberated for some more fulfilling tasks that utilize their emotional intelligence.

No new stuff, no shiny paradigm-shifting gadgets, just good clean CX, using a channel that can reach everyone on the planet. Your customers can reply, interact, and make important choices, even if they don’t have 5G, even if they don’t have a smartphone, even if they are using an original Nokia 3300.

How boring. How cool. #BoringIsCool

This is a guest post from Oisin Lunny, Chief Evangelist, OpenMarket, and follows on from a discussion that Oisin and I had about the annual tech prediction cycle. This is #BoringIsCool article No. 2. No. 1 is here.

About Oisin (taken from his LinkedIn bio)

Oisin is part of the Market Development team at OpenMarket, looking at new verticals and strategic business and technology opportunities for the company. OpenMarket helps the biggest brands in the world use mobile messaging to connect with their customers in the moments when it counts. When they need to be there and be responsive in real-time. When customer experience isn’t just a buzzword: it’s an obsession.

Oisin’s background of over 21 years in technology and media includes roles as UK Managing Director for the world’s largest social space for teens, and Global Product Manager for Media Services at Europe’s largest network operator.

Oisin speaks and moderates at conferences globally, maintaining a parallel profile as a film composer, producer, and DJ. Oisin has spoken at over 130 conferences, contributes to The Guardian and Digital Doughnut, sits on advisory boards for SXSW and The Economist Big Think, and was named the #5 most engaged marketer in the UK by LinkedIn.

Check out OpenMarket at, find out more about the Empathetic Interaction via the free ebook here, connect with Oisin on LinkedIn here and say Hi to OpenMarket and Oisin on Twitter @openmarket and @oisinlunny.