Always-connected, app-native, digital-savvy customers are driving digital transformation. Customer experience (CX) and the communications they choose are forcing companies to innovate and begin along the digital path, but there are risks. When it comes to digital transformation strategy, many companies have to cater for preparing for tomorrow while making sure today is looked after.
Digital transformation is profitable
Improving CX has become the central reason for companies to digitally transform, and according to the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), businesses which have already embraced this process are 26 per cent more profitable than those which have not. Investing in a digital transformation roadmap with a focus on security, speed, consistency and personalisation as crucial customer outcomes will improve their experience and benefit your company.
The willingness from companies is there. According to global market intelligence firm IDC’s whitepaper, The Digitalization of the World, 34 per cent of businesses believe they will fully adopt digital transformation within 12 months or less. Yet, 47 per cent haven’t even taken their first steps along the digital path.
Key decision-makers like CEOs, CMOs and CIOs are hesitating before pushing the button on digital transformation, which many feel could jeopardise revenue and security. But are they right to be to apprehensive? Or is there a more accommodating way of achieving both outcomes? Customers are driving digital transformation, and companies need to listen or risk being left behind.
Working alongside a trusted partner, there are four practical steps a business can take to digitally transform its customer communications.
Step 1 – Discovery built on client-focus
Digital savvy customers are being let down by the customer communications experience they have with many companies. It can be disjointed and fragmented with confusing information delivered from multiple sources. They deserve and expect better.
Customers care about the detail and the information they receive, the specifics matter. If you are not giving customers what they want, when they want it, then you risk losing them to someone who does. Last year, the big six energy companies lost 1.4m customers to smaller challenger companies, many of whom are entirely paperless and provide customers with real-time information and communicate with them via mobile apps.
Digital transformation at any organisation must begin with discovery. Not only is it essential to understand what your customers experience when communicating with your company, you must also discover what your company knows, at every level, about this CX.
It is essential to review all the touchpoints of your customers’ experience, the purpose and objective of each communication. Everyone in your company needs to understand your CX, which is more than customer journey mapping, and any blind spot is a risk. A full-scale, top-down, down-up understanding by every person in your organisation towards CX is necessary. This first step is as much self-discovery as it is the discovery of your customer.
A few years ago, employees in a company were expected to know (and sometimes be able to recite) its vision, mission, goals and ethos and for it to drive how they thought and worked. We are now entering the age of the CX-driven culture.
This forensic first discovery step will ensure you are setting the right requirements for your digital transformation to meet your customers’ needs and at the same time expanding the knowledge of those in your company.
Step 2 – Insight built on trust
According to the State of Digital Business Report, by software company Progress, 61 per cent of companies lack a centralised strategy and governance when it comes to digital transformation. Even worse, 58 per cent of companies lack the skills to even implement a strategy. If your company falls into either of these groups, you are not alone but you can find help. When it comes to digital transformation and the risks it entails, companies need support, and they shouldn’t be afraid to admit it.
Taking advice from a trusted customer communications provider who can use its knowledge, expertise and sector experience to review your current communication activities and look at ways to improve the efficiency and effectiveness – always with a focus on the end customer – is the best way to do this.
A good customer communications partner will provide a challenging insight that will lead to the reorganisation your company might need to benefit its CX. Good insight allows for responsive and creative change that will, in turn, speed up digital transformation, which could otherwise have been lost, siloed or just missing from your organisation.
Step 3 – Collaboration built on innovation
Consumers expect innovation. The technology that your customers have in their hands continues to advance at seemingly unstoppable rates. As a consequence, their expectations for how they can use this technology to communicate with your company will only rise too.
Following discovery and insight, collaboration is the next step. A company’s cooperation with its customers must be underpinned by the desire to make things better.
A higher risk, however, is what’s happening in your organisation. Siloed thinking and a lack of collaboration internally between departments was cited by 57 per cent of companies as a barrier to digital transformation. Legacy customer communications systems, for example, can contaminate the communications between company and customer.
Within companies, most digital initiatives are likely to be driven and paid for by the IT department rather than the marketing department, and both must be aligned and collaborate if the customer is to benefit.
It’s not always a clear path. Sometimes it’s a labyrinth which needs to be navigated to reach digital transformation – adaptation and innovation will be required every step of the way. Your digital transformation roadmap, however, must always read ‘make things better’ otherwise your customers will go elsewhere.
Step 4 – Partnership built on empowerment
Technology and the expanding knowledge of the digital-savvy consumer have advanced their CX expectation and made them more powerful. This power will only increase.
The final step for your company is to replicate this consumer empowerment within your organisation. Digital transformation should be a mechanism that empowers your employees, your company, and as a result, your customers.
Improving CX is an opportunity to differentiate your company from its competitors. Partnering with a customer communication provider is a sure-fire way to feel this empowerment. A good partnership is built on equality with both sides enabling the other. This must be the foundation of the consultative approach, which is the foundation of your relationship with your customers.
Customer experience is not based on service, it’s based on a partnership between consumer, company and its CX Eco-System of partners.
Customer experience will benefit if you digitally transform
Digital transformation is an inevitability. Each generation of consumer is more digitally savvy than the last, and their expectations of how they engage with a company will only become higher. The real question is have we covered all the real options for our company to meet them?
Companies have the willingness and see the incentives of digital transformation and improving customer experience. However, they remain constrained by the fear of risk and are apprehensive about taking those first steps down the digital path.
Governance, financial and cultural barriers all limit and slow digital transformation, and the journey on its own, without a partner, can seem at best a little daunting and at its worst a considerable gamble. But it’s a decision you have to take if you want to future-proof your company and most importantly provide a customer experience that enhances your brand and sets you apart from competitors.
Adare SEC is an integrated communications solutions provider offering document creation, multi-channel delivery and inbound management, combined with expert consultancy. We aim to inspire clients with choice and insight to deliver their vital message securely. Find out more about our multi-channel delivery here.