In our previous post, we discussed how digital can enable new business models. This week we'll explore how to provide next-generation customer experiences, taking you through the ways to transform your business, win and retain more customers and gain a significant competitive advantage.
We live in an era of constant change, where our "old normal" has been disrupted by several factors, like the COVID-19 pandemic that changed our ways of living and working. Trying to adapt to this ever-changing nature of today's world, customers' behaviour and expectations are shifting towards digital. Customers now expect to get all the benefits of the physical business world and even more through digital or hybrid digital/physical models. This applies to all businesses, from retailers to steel manufacturers.
To win and retain customers as well as gain a significant competitive advantage, you need to respond to this change as quickly as possible, aiming to provide an excellent customer experience through digital or hybrid channels. Businesses, especially the more traditional service providers like manufacturers, contractors, doctors, dentists, legal services etc., focus less on customer experience and more on the actual service they offer. However, this contrasts with the seamless experiences consumers get from brands like Netflix, Uber and Amazon.
Today's customers expect to buy, access and use services on-demand, require personalised experiences and easy access to knowledge through sophisticated digital platforms.
How to digitally transform your customer experience
A survey conducted by Cognizant and Econsultancy found that 73% of marketers agree that customer experience is seen as "integral to commercial success" within their business. However, only 54% of them agree that they have the technology required to provide a seamless customer experience.
One of the main barriers to improving the customer experience is the use of legacy technology and infrastructure, which are often disconnected from the other systems and processes, creating organisational silos and causing problems in accessing data. Legacy technology platforms and systems could be hard to use and do not provide the functionality needed to provide an end-to-end customer experience.
Transforming your customer experience to offer the digital or hybrid services of the future that match your customers' expectations in the digital age requires the deployment of design-led platforms that allow a 360° customer view, personalisation and automation.
360° Customer View and Personalisation
A seamless customer experience requires a sophisticated digital platform and data capturing system, allowing your customers to receive relevant information, offers and services when needed. To achieve these, your teams need to have a holistic view of the digital customer journey and understand their behaviour and expectations. What services do your customers need right now? How do they want to access and use them?
Digital platforms that capture real-time customer data and analytics enable effective personalisation. Knowing not just your customers' name but also their needs, desires and problems, you can predict their intent in the early stages. And understand what service is best for them and what representative is best to solve their issues. You will also be able to provide them with personalised digital journeys through your digital platform, showing relevant content and services at the right time.
Treating your customers as unique individuals will differentiate your organisation from your competitors, increase customer loyalty and drive cross-selling and recurring revenue.
Leverage experience design
As digital interactions are now the new normal, experience design is one of the most critical aspects of your platform that defines how customers perceive your brand. To provide enjoyable digital journeys and experiences that customers will want to return to, you need to invest in the front-end experience. Choosing a partner proficient in design-led platforms and digital experiences design is essential to ensure you will deploy a world-class digital platform designed to delight your customers in every step of their journey and increase conversions.
To decrease the friction of the multiple devices, channels, touchpoints and marketing messages, user-experience experts leverage customer-centric design strategies, including customer personas and user stories. Leading with these strategies, they create consistent experiences that match your customers' needs and even go beyond their expectations, differentiating your organisation from your competitors.
Designing new digital services for the future
Digital platforms allow service providers to transform the very nature of their offerings and the way customers experience this service. It is crucial to move the focus from what service is convenient for your organisation to what your customers want and how they want it.
Future scoping for changing consumer demands and behaviour, changes in technology and having access to a rich pool of customer data can shape new services or significantly improve existing ones. To succeed in these, businesses need to be digital to the core, using digital platforms to deliver next-generation services and experiences.
These platforms can work as online marketplaces where your customers choose the services or people they need quick and easy. They can also use services on-demand, at their convenience, either working from home or the office. Your customers can easily access knowledge or directly contact a business representative without picking up the phone or scheduling a zoom call, all through a single digital platform with a seamless customer experience.
By using digital platforms, you can launch a new digital service that meets your customers' needs and expectations or transform an existing manual and time-consuming service offering and turn it into a digital process, saving time and money and providing a brilliant customer experience!
Adopt a people-centric and agile culture
Without adopting and successfully implementing the right culture, your customer experience is unlikely to be transformed and improved. You need to place your customers at the heart of your business and align the whole organisation around them. Your customer-facing teams need to be motivated to offer the best experience possible, and your back-end teams need to be empowered with customer-centric processes and technologies to help the business provide a seamless end-to-end customer experience. These require a culture of cooperation with multidisciplinary teams united around the same customer-centric goals.
Business leaders need to communicate their vision to digitally transform the customer experience with the whole organisation, showing an understanding of what needs to be done, providing guidance and expecting the challenges that their teams could face while being in the transformation progresses. CEOs in particular, are responsible for ensuring that everyone across the board and the business is pulling in the same direction.
Future scoping is also very important if the transformation of customer experience is to succeed. C-level executives and their teams need to have the customer of tomorrow in mind, anticipating changes in the environment and proactively transforming to match customers' future demands, shaping an agile, flexible and people-centric culture.
How to start with digital transformation
At Calls9, we help big brands and scale-ups launch, scale and build value through technology.
We have designed a process that helps you quickly see how your organisation can use digital to transform by understanding:
- How your customers and employees perceive your business to identify areas of improvement
- What the competitive landscape looks like, and what changes in your sector could affect your business
- How digital can enable new business models, better ways of working and improved customer experiences
At the end of the process, you will have a clear digital transformation strategy built around your specific needs and designed to help you improve your business, disrupt your market or enter a new one.
We then use this strategy to kick-start a programme of digital transformation.