‘Eighty-five percent of respondents believe Machine-to-people transformations will positively transform the customer experience.’
‘More than 95 percent of respondents view accelerating workflows as a business imperative for improving customer experience.’
‘Almost 40 percent expect a correlation between improving customer experience and increasing revenue.’
These are just some of the findings which are the outcome of a survey administered by Opinion Research in August 2017, which ought to pique any company’s interest in going digital, if they haven’t already. It is interesting to note that this shift towards a digital paradigm is being driven not by companies, but by customers. Digital Transformation is forcing many companies, small businesses and entrepreneurs to change their business models.
Digital Transformation is the integration of digital technology into all the areas of business, resulting in radical changes in the way a business operates and the value they deliver to the customers. In other words, it is about changing the way a business interacts with its customers and how they provide their customers with a consistent experience whenever and wherever needed.
Digital transformation is driven largely by customer satisfaction. It helps in creating highly engaged customers who are in turn more likely to try a new product or service from their preferred brand and refer your brand to their family and friends. They also help generate better revenues, as highly engaged customers spend about 60% more and buy 90% more frequently compared to an average customer. (Source: research from IDC)
Building meaningful relationships with the customer begins with understanding the entire journey, starting with mapping the customer’s relationship with the brand and other factors like market trends and customer behaviour. Social media and online search are also important as they have completely changed the linear customer journey. Therefore, the journey begins on digital channels, such as websites, mobile apps and social media platforms.
So, how to get started with digital transformation? Here are some ways which can help:
A robust IT environment:
An organization must have the right technology to power up digital strategies. By easily interlinking cloud applications such as customer databases, Big Data analytics, and web and mobile apps, you can create a holistic, 360-degree view of your customers. Improved customer knowledge can help you provide a more improved customer experience.
Personalized Customer Experiences:
People want to be treated as unique individuals. And the best part is they are more than willing to share their data with organizations for a better experience. So how to harness this gold mine of data? One word: CRM. A good CRM solution helps you analyse customer data based on their previous interactions with your company. This can help you understand your customers better by analysing general requests, product quotes and enquiries. Armed with this information, you can create highly customized and targeted messages to match customers’ individual preferences, thereby giving them a personalized experience.
Hassle-free omnichannel experience:
In today’s age, customers expect to get what they want, when they want it and in the manner they want it. Come rain or shine, weekdays or weekends, be it on the web, mobile apps or social media, customers want access to information across any platform of their choosing.
Making brand interaction as smooth as rewarding as possible:
Websites and mobile apps must be easy to navigate and the content, graphics and other information on them should appear presentable to the user. At this day and age, the customer’s first touchpoint is digital and therefore it is very important to provide strong and unique digital experiences that would entice customers to further engage with a brand.
Turn customer data into actionable insights:
Targeted insights are essential for digital teams responsible for building and managing campaigns, and also for content teams in charge of driving customer experience.
A company should not forget about internal stakeholders when talking about customer experience. Every employee of a company is a consumer. Application experiences which enable employees to focus on their tasks and keep customers engaged are the foundation of efficient operational processes.
Organizational effectiveness plays a huge role in providing an engaging customer experience. Employees can come up with creative ideas and brilliant campaigns only when they are not demotivated due to inefficient processes.
Ultimately, customer experience is the nucleus of digital transformation. Digital businesses must create a personalized customer journey which gives customers the information they need and also engages them across multiple touchpoints. Business processes should be trimmed and made as efficient as possible so that employees can focus on high-level tasks such as driving customer engagement.
Some organizations like Amazon and Uber are already reaping the rewards of digital transformation. Today, Uber is not just a taxi service. It is transforming the way urban logistics operates through the technological trio, i.e. Big Data, cloud and mobile. Amazon is another example of a company which owes its progress to great customer experience in the digital era. Originally it started off as an online retailer, but today, it is the world’s largest cloud service provider too.
Although the awareness of how to build effective digital channels has risen considerably in the recent past, many such projects falter because not enough thinking goes into actively stimulating customer adoption. The reasons are many; it might be because of a preference for in-person contact, or e-care challenges such as a lack of personalized experience. Companies need to use effective marketing techniques such as Search Engine Optimization (SEO), Search Engine Advertising (SEA), or offline campaigns which are also critical for engaging customers. There needs to be a balanced mix of traditional and digital media techniques. It is also necessary to continuously improve and innovate digital journeys, based on user-experience assessments and customer tests. Simple tactics like developing a new landing page or changing the colours of functional elements on websites to improve subscription and click-through-rates have often proven to be very effective.
However, for all the hype and rosy forecasts for digital transformation, in a State of Digital Business Report, Progress has revealed that 47% of the respondents hadn’t even started on their digital transformation yet. Maybe that is because the ability to do something and technological readiness is one thing, and culture and the will to act and effectively do something is quite another, one that requires fundamental changes and a deep understanding of the customer journey.