Digital transformation: Enhancing customer experience and business growth
Customer experience (CX) is one of the essential aspects that is important in fuelling the growth of businesses. It goes without saying then that improvement and innovation in customer experience would improve business growth. A well-designed digital experience is a feature being increasingly expected by customers, and the pandemic certainly pushed this trend. A vast majority of businesses increased their budget for digital transformation because of Covid-19. Customer expectations and requirements changed, most of them irreversibly. Many businesses have bridged the digital gap successfully and are now reaping the rewards of enhanced customer experiences.
Digital transformation can be defined as the adaptation of digital technology in all areas of a business such that there are significant changes in the way the business operates and delivers to its customers. However, it is impossible to club digital transformation under one general umbrella since it looks different for every business, one size does not fit all. For example, online and mobile banking has transformed the way customers interact with their banks; and always-connected fitness watches and tools allow those in the healthcare business to be aware of patient behaviour all the time and nudge them when needed to make healthier choices. In short, businesses are trying to build continuous relationships digitally with their customers instead of only the episodic interactions of earlier days.
Digital transformation requires businesses to challenge the status quo and sometimes walk away from long-used processes and techniques and embrace promising new practices, some of which may still be in a state of flux. Leading global online retail businesses have grown the way they have because of their customer-first business strategies. They have made tremendous efforts to leverage the best technology to give their customers a seamless digital experience and improve their overall operational agility*.
Most business leaders agree that the word ‘digital’ means a million different things to different businesses. Digital transformation must begin with an aspirational and achievable goal that can be clearly defined. The frameworks most commonly driving digital transformation are:
- Customer experience
- Culture and leadership
- Digital technology integration
- Operational agility
- Workforce enablement
Enhancing customer experience
Enhancing customer experience again has different meanings depending on the industry a business operates in. Yet, almost everyone agrees that enhancing the customer experience is crucial for growth and success.
Here are a few pointers to go about it.
Understand customer needs and expectations:Before transforming any feature or touchpoint of a business, customer needs and expectations must be analysed and understood. A customer-first approach must be adopted so that all strategies evolve from that thought. Brand loyalty and positive recommendations from customers are sure signs of customer satisfaction. Incidentally, a number of business leaders agree that digital transformation has helped them meet changing customer expectations.
Observe and learn:Businesses must observe and learn from leading businesses in their industry. They need to understand and imbibe what is being done differently.
Understand a customer’s complete journey:Every pain point in a customer’s journey must be identified, understood, and analysed. If a business is losing customers, or not being able to retain new ones, it is time to dig deep and understand the reasons why. Errors, if any, in the digital transformation process must be identified before moving ahead.
Every department must be involved:Digital transformation can be successful only when every department of a business is onboard and collaborating. Working separately will only lead to conflicts. Customer experience does not mean only customer service or the website. Data sourced from customer feedback, analytics and other studies and reports must be shared, understood, and acted upon for best results. Only when every department is obsessed about customer experience will digital transformation be complete.
Retain and nurture a human touch:When customers develop an emotional connection with a brand, they stick to it. Achieving that connection digitally is not easy. A business must leverage technology to build that emotional bond with customers. Customers must feel they mean something to the brand. Addressing customers by name in emails and messages is one way to do that. Messages must not feel cold and distant, they must address customer needs compassionately. Personalised recommendations and relevant offers always make customers happy.
A business may use the best technology available but still fail to provide the best customer experience. It could be because of something as simple as a bad website layout that is difficult to navigate, an absence of innovative products, or a change in customer expectations that has not been noticed, or perhaps a change in market trends.
The personalised approach must be consistent across channels and devices.
- B2B businesses could try to replace cold calling with social selling. Almost all customers are on social media and can be reached directly. Relevant content can be shared and awareness about new products can be built here.
- Instead of focussing on offline activities only, marketing teams should focus on reaching out with targeted messages. A data-driven marketing strategy would help a business achieve this goal.
- Customer service teams must be proactive and be ready to meet customers on many platforms - social media, forums, review sites, and communities.
The Research & Markets report of 2020 indicates a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 16.5 percent over five years in the digital transformation sector globally. The expected market growth is from a modest USD 469.8 billion in 2020 to a massive USD 1,009.8 billion by 2025. And a McKinsey report states that businesses that leveraged technology to improve the customer experience, increased both customer satisfaction and business growth by 20 per cent each. Clearly, to remain relevant and competitive, it has become imperative for almost all businesses to wake up and roll with the digitised flow. The numbers are convincing enough for any remaining naysayers to come on board.
* For organizations on the digital transformation journey, agility is key in responding to a rapidly changing technology and business landscape. Now more than ever, it is crucial to deliver and exceed on organizational expectations with a robust digital mindset backed by innovation. Enabling businesses to sense, learn, respond, and evolve like a living organism, will be imperative for business excellence going forward. A comprehensive, yet modular suite of services is doing exactly that. Equipping organizations with intuitive decision-making automatically at scale, actionable insights based on real-time solutions, anytime/anywhere experience, and in-depth data visibility across functions leading to hyper-productivity, Live Enterprise is building connected organizations that are innovating collaboratively for the future.