Well, haven’t times changed? Research shows customer experience (CX) has now supplanted price and product as the key to attracting and keeping business and that has created an environment where organisations are changing their business models to meet the digital needs and wants of their customers, as opposed to doing so at their detriment. In a recent survey of executives, global management consulting firm McKinsey & Co found most of them now recognise technology’s strategic importance as “a critical component of the business, not just a source of cost efficiencies”.
This is particularly so on the back of the global pandemic that has done more to change the digital landscape in a couple of years than endless planning in the decade or two leading up to it. In that same McKinsey survey, conducted in the first year of the crisis, respondents said their companies had accelerated the digitalisation of their customer and supply-chain interactions and internal operations by three to four years. Furthermore, the share of digital and digitally-enabled products in their portfolios had increased by an incredible seven years.
Make no mistake – this digital transformation is being driven by the customer. The modern consumer not only wants but expects relevant content in relation to what they’re doing anytime, anywhere and in the format and on the device of their choosing. The days of companies being able to dictate when and where customers could interact with them are over and if they want to win the hearts and minds (and wallets) of these new ‘always-connected’ consumers, they must embrace technology to deliver an unrivalled customer experience.
The good news is many organisations are already doing just that. One study shows 70% of businesses have increased or maintained digital transformation spending amid the COVID-19 pandemic, with industries such as construction, IT and manufacturing among the most willing to invest in such strategies. The rush to digitise is reinforced by statistics that show global spending on digital transformations, having clocked in at $1 trillion in 2018, is forecast to almost triple to $2.8 trillion by 2025.
Of course, not everyone has successfully made the leap across the digital divide. In its ‘Report on the State of Digital Business’, tech leader Progress revealed 47% of companies had not yet started their digital transformation, with almost 60% worried that it may already be too late for them. However, those companies would be well worth remembering the message Elton John shared in The Lion King when he sang: “It’s never too late to get back on track.”
In its simplest form, digital transformation is the process of using digital technologies to create new or modify existing business processes, culture and customer experiences. To better understand the concept though, it is well worth considering what digital transformation is not.
It is not digitisation. That is the process of converting information from analog to digital, with all those physical documents turned into digital computer files. It is not digitalisation. That is the process of using digitised information to complete tasks faster and better now that data is instantly accessible and not stored in a filing cabinet.
Digital transformation, on the other hand, changes the way business get done and, in many cases, creates entirely new classes of businesses. It requires companies to take a step back and revisit everything they do with a view to adding value to every customer interaction. It is not just about going digital but reimagining how one does business and engages with their customers in the digital age.
There are few better examples of digital transformation in action than Netflix. The streaming service needs no introduction now but it was once a little-known mail order service aiming to disrupt the traditional video rental business. Then technology allowed the company to not only stream video content directly to customers but gain unprecedented insights into their viewing habits, which it could then use to do everything from enhance its user experience to drive the development of shows and movies. Netflix’s approach epitomises digital transformation in action – that is, using digital technologies to inform and reinvent how a business runs.
When considering digital transformation, it is crucial to look at it from the customer’s perspective. Rather than asking what it can achieve for one’s bottom line, businesses need to ask what is most important to the customer and how digital technologies can help achieve what they want or need? No doubt the following points will be high on the list.
Amid all this positive talk of digital transformation and customer experience, it is worth remembering that not every such strategy is successful. Indeed, Harvard Business Review highlighted a study that showed 70% of all digital transformation initiatives fail to reach their goals and of the $1.3 trillion that was invested in the area in 2019, more than $900 billion was wasted.
With that in mind, here are a variety of tactics to keep top of mind when getting started with your own digital transformation.
It is never too late to start a digital transformation journey but with the rate of technological change happening faster than ever, it is imperative to not waste another second in seriously considering doing so. With today’s customers always connected, digital transformation is the key to allowing companies to engage with them regardless of where and how they want to interact and thus deliver the seamless customer experience they not only want but expect. CX is no longer just a buzzword – it lies at the heart of every successful organisation and may well be the motivating force you need to enter the new digital landscape.
Overhauling one’s entire technology architecture can be daunting, let alone when your company services 7 million users in numerous cities across the world. This case study explores how a global transport company overcame significant technological challenges to deploy a roadmap that engaged key vendors and multiple stakeholders and delivered a highly structured solution to overcome a complex landscape including different languages, time zones and resourcing levels.
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Following the Contact Centre Week interview, Probe CX's CEO Andrew Hume discusses the work-from-home mobilisation of its global organisation and what it means for the future of work.