Digital transformation is forcing organizations to alter their business models and adapt to the new market reality.
And what’s interesting about this is that it’s the customer who’s forcing this change.
Customers expect relevant content in relation to what they’re doing anytime, anywhere and in the format and on the device of their choosing.
In order to keep up with the new kind of always-connected customer, organizations must embrace technology to deliver an unmatched customer experience.
Fortunately, putting the customer and his experience first is already at the center of many organizations` strategy.
According to data from IDC, two-thirds of the CEO’s of Global 2000 companies will shift their focus from traditional, offline strategies to more modern digital strategies to improve the customer experience before the end of 2017 - with 34% of companies believing they’ll fully adopt digital transformation within 12 months or less.
However, in their State of Digital Business Report, Progress revealed that 47% of companies haven’t started their digital transformation yet - while 59% are worried that it might already be too late for them.
The good news is there is still time for organizations to begin their digital transformation.
In this article, we’ll introduce you to digital transformation, who the new digital consumer is and how you can use technology and data to provide a better customer experience.
What is Digital Transformation?
Digital transformation is the integration of digital technology into all areas of a business, resulting in fundamental changes in how a business operates and the value they deliver to their customers.
Put simply, it’s about changing the way a business interacts with its customers and how they provide their customers with a consistent experience whenever and wherever they need it.
In fact, when asked about factors that influence a business’ decision to implement a digital transformation strategy, nearly half of all organizations cited customer experience and customer satisfaction as their leading influences.
And for those companies that do transform digitally, they are experiencing an increase in engagement, loyalty and conversions.
The customer is firmly in the driver’s seat. But, in order to deliver on a better customer experience, you first need understand who this new kind of digital customer is.
The New, Digitally Conscious Customer
Digital technology has transformed consumer habits.
Mobile devices, apps, machine learning, automation and much more allow customers to get what they want almost exactly at the moment they need it.
What’s more, these new digital technologies have caused a shift in customer expectations, resulting in a new kind of modern buyer. She’s constantly connected, app-native, and aware of what she can do with technology.
Because of the opportunities that rise from using modern technology, customers often rate organizations on their digital customer experience first.
Digital first requires you to rethink how you interact with your customers.
For sales teams, digital first means replacing cold calling with social selling. Your customers are already active in social media and that’s where you need to be. Instead of waiting for the customer to contact you, you will need to reach out to them, build a relationship and help educate them. You can do this by sharing relevant content and your expertise as part of a solution to their problem.
For marketing teams, digital first means reducing your spend on offline marketing activities, such as direct mail, billboards and TV ads. Your customers want and expect highly targeted messages, which can only be achieved through a digital marketing strategy. Now, you need to use digital channels such as email, social media, organic search and website to track engagement.
For customer service teams, you’re no longer restricted to waiting for the phone to ring or a fax to come through. Digital first is not just about being reactive. It’s about being proactive in the way you help your customers, who use a wide range of channels to seek out support. Social media, reviews sites, forums, and communities are all now part of the customer service eco-system.
To accommodate the new, modern-day buyer, your business needs to think digital first.
Getting started with Digital Transformation
Digital transformation offers organizations an opportunity to understand the modern-day buyer, engage with them and deliver on their expectations of a multi-channel customer experience.
Here are three ways to help your business to get started with digital transformation.
1. An agile, flexible IT environment
Having the right technology to power up digital strategies is fundamental in today’s business world. But, did you know that 45% of executives believe their companies lack all the necessary technology to conduct a digital transformation strategy?
Fortunately, organizations recognize the need for implementing agile systems and 86% of businesses believe that cloud technology is critical to digital transformation.
The cloud enables companies to be fast, dynamic and flexible – giving your organization the ability to test new projects that are cost-effective and low-risk – allowing you to use technology to meet customer demands quicker.
By easily connecting cloud applications such as customer databases, Big Data analytics, web and mobile apps, you can digitally record all touch-points to create a 360-degree view of your customer. By using this data, you will learn how, when and why your customers do business with you and from it, you can provide a better, more improved customer experience.
This brings us to the next factor in digital transformation – personalization.
2. Personalized customer experiences
Today’s buyers want organizations to treat them as unique individuals, and know their personal preferences and purchase history.
According to Accenture, 75% of customers admit being more likely to buy from a company that:
- Recognizes them by their name
- Knows their purchase history, and
- Recommends products based on their past purchases
The good news is that customers are happy for organizations to use their data to improve their experience. But, in order to take advantage of this opportunity, you need to invest and engage in CRM.
If your business does not invest in CRM, then you cannot treat your customers as individuals. Without storing the history of how your business interacts with them, it’s impossible to provide a unique experience.
With CRM software, you can analyze and study customer-related data based on customers’ previous interactions with your company. For example, you can get a good understanding of your customers by evaluating general requests, product quotes and support enquiries. This data can then be used to create highly targeted messages to match customers’ individual preferences, which results in a more personalized experience.
Delivering the right message to the right person at the right time brings us to our third and final success factor for digital transformation – a seamless multi-channel experience.
3. A seamless multi-channel experience
Technology has empowered customers to get what they want, whenever they want, and how they want it.
More than half of all consumers now expect a customer service response within one hour. They also expect the same response times on weekends as on weekdays. This need for instant gratification has forced organizations to remain accessible and on-demand, 24 hours a day, 7 days per week.
Everything is now happening in real time, which is why those companies that can offer immediacy, personalization and accessibility to their customers will win out in the long-run.
Today’s consumers are not tied to a single channel. They browse in-store, shop online, share feedback through mobile apps and ask questions for your support team on social media networks.
Tying all of these interactions together allows you to create a single digital profile every time a customer interacts with your business.
In today’s fast-moving, always connected and always on society, companies are forced to seriously consider implementing a digital transformation strategy, if they haven’t already. Digital transformation offers organizations an opportunity to engage modern buyers, and deliver on their expectations of a seamless customer experience regardless of channel or place.
That being said, digitally transforming your business can be quite a complex project.
So, here’s how to get started:
1. Instead of purchasing on-site solutions, think cloud solutions first. Cloud solutions enable you to be agile and meet customer demands quickly. In addition, you’re automatically updated to the latest features, so you are never behind.
2. Personalized experiences are what your customers have come to expect. Use the data in your CRM solution to evaluate previous correspondence, purchase history and their behavior to give them just that.
3. Customers want seamless experiences regardless of channel. Consider how you tie all the digital channels you have in your company together in order to provide a single, user-friendly customer experience.
By focusing on these three factors, you will help your organization embrace the new digital landscape, exceed customer expectations and improve the overall customer experience.
Contact us today to learn more about how cloud technology and CRM can help you digitalize your business.