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Customer experience is and always has been at the heart of business. There is no exception to this. Research shows that 49 percent of companies expect to undergo vast digital transformation in the next two years. However, in a recent poll, only 55 percent of those in charge of the digital transformation in their organizations said that customers were at the heart of their business. And only half of those respondents had completely mapped out the customer journey. Contrary to popular belief, customer experience should be the driver of the digital transformation; not technology advancements.
Knowing the Customer Journey
In an article detailing the keys to driving successful digital transformation, Digital Transformation analyst Brian Solis notes that, “Companies that don’t grasp or internalize the customer journey are obstructed from seeing its potential for optimization and innovation.” He couldn’t be more correct. There are many cases in which IT and marketing departments influence technology investments to an unhealthy level. They do so without completely understanding customer behaviors and expectations. It is vital to map processes according to customer expectations rather than asking customers to change their behaviors to fit an existing or coming-to-be corporate process. Oracle’s Senior Director SaaS Product Marketing, Brian Kracik sums up what businesses should focus on through their digital transformations: determining what types of offerings can couple their traditional strengths with new digital capabilities, what business model(s) they wish to pursue, and what customer experience they want to create.
Are You Really Customer-Centric?
In theory, companies generally agree to be customer-centric — meaning a commitment to engagement and understanding, and a willingness to continuously innovate so that interaction can occur on the customer’s’ terms. In reality though, businesses seem to veer far from this ideal. No matter the size, a lot or organizations make the mistake of believing they are customer-centric, but tend to focus their energies elsewhere when it comes to developing as businesses. Unfortunately, in today’s extremely competitive world, all businesses are in danger of becoming commodities as their goals shift from being customer-obsessed. The few businesses that realize the unique value of prioritizing the customer journey are the ones that move forward, alongside their customers. Take the example of John Deere, cited at the Forrester Forum for Digital Transformation in Orlando by Ted Schadler. Deere is building software to help their customers — farmers — effectively tend to their crops based on big data. This digital shift is based of what their customers’ want and need, not just a measure put in place to “revolutionize”. Understanding the customer journey, through developers not only hearing but also understanding customer issues so as to formulate a solution is the forerunner to any means of digital transformation. In turn, this creates passionate employees who understand how their work tangibly affects customers, increasing employee satisfaction and productivity, ultimately allowing for businesses to better serve customers and thus gaining a higher return on digital investments. Thus, one of the most critical factors in any enterprise transformation is communication. Surveys show that organizations that exceed their growth rate plans, are embedding communications into their business applications at higher rates than underperforming peers. Kracik cites the example of Uber—Uber creates a seamless experience where one can secure ride via mobile, track the vehicle as it arrives, receive a message upon arrival, communicate with the driver via voice or text and then complete the transaction without having to even pull out a card or cash and then instantly receiving a receipt over email. He states “Communications is critical to that efficient and pleasant experience.” Another key factor in transformation is creating an individualized experience for the customer. Kracik supports this claim with data— in a recent study by Oracle called “Era I” (era individual) it was discovered that 84% of enterprises surveyed say their organization has experienced a trend toward customers wanting a more individualized experience.
Enhance the Customer Experience
These factors show that digital transformation should be driven by the customer and not for the sake of baselessly employing digital systems. Bruce Rogers, chief insights officer at Forbes Media states, “Digital transformation is now essential for corporate survival. And it’s more about people and culture—about change management—along with investing in the technology.” The point of technological additions in a business is to help customers simplify their existing issues effectively, and cater to their needs based on their experience. With the digital revolution comes hundreds of opportunities to support customer interactions and enhance their experience. It is a business’s responsibility to prudently choose and implement services that will optimize customer satisfaction, and thus boost business relationships. With a fully mapped customer journey, companies can then see what technology or other advancements they can use to improve the CX. Thy can then work toward creating all-around better customer experiences places companies and employees on a path towards business, and in most cases, digital transformation. As rightly stated by Pega CEO Alan Trefler, “Experience is about the customer. Software is about efficiency. Software is nothing if it doesn’t enhance the customer experience.”
This article was first published on calliduscloudcx.com