Global consultancy firm Forrester has released a host of reports recently encouraging businesses to embrace ‘the age of the customer’, as a number of trends coalesce and make it important for firms in all industries to adopt engaging policies or risk being left behind by their rivals.

JP Gownder, an infrastructure and operations analyst with the firm, recently posted a blog discussing some of the technical implications of these predictions.

According to Mr Gownder, computing is to become “critical” in the age of the customer, in a trend that will effect both b2b and b2c companies.

Technology “is a front-line, customer-facing experience that helps companies win and serve customers more effectively”, he added.

This can take many different forms depending on the specific industry in which a firm is operating – CRM, for instance, can help businesses keep track of their customers and offer a personalised, engaging approach to each one individually.

Mr Gownder presented six meta-trends that he feels will emerge during the age of the customer – mobility, fragmentation, intelligent assistants, wearables, gestural computing and channel innovation.

The latter will see businesses strive to bring a sense of “relevance and tailored experience” to customers, such as can be offered through CRM technology. People are increasingly demanding of companies when it comes to personalisation, meaning firms will need to invest in this area if they are not to be left behind.

In terms of fragmentation, device proliferation looks set to continue, meaning marketers will need to take steps to ensure that they can offer a balanced, engaged approach over mobile and desktop platforms.

“Customers will actively shun businesses that lack mobile applications to enrich their experiences. Customers will gravitate toward businesses that use mobile technology proactively to solve their hardest problems,” added the Forrester analyst.

Certainly, it appears that companies are being asked to do more to connect with their customers – technology can make this process easier.