Digital with higher business transparency. These two forces

Digital
transformation is today’s new buzzword, and it so seems that businesses are
compelled to transform digitally for obvious reasons. One of the reasons is
competition and to be more specific the competition is more disruptive breaking
the prevailing norms. The disruptions are mainly in enhancing the customer
experience that brands today are utilizing unleashing the power of digital
transformation. Customers’ expectations are also changing in tandem and today’s
customers expect more personalized service.

They
expect your service to be more customer-centric, beautiful, simple, and yet
compelling. The expectation of the customers starts even before their first
contact with a brand till the post-purchase stages. As the digital age comes up
with newer technological innovations and marvels, businesses are busy in using
them and redefining every customer experience through a rapid digital
transformation that happens in mainly the three elements of a business. They
are the business models, operational processes, and the customer experience.

The
burning need for a better customer experience

The
ecosystem in which any business operates today has dramatically shifted. Not
only businesses but the customers and the prospective customers are adopting
technology at a never before rapid pace. Usage of smartphones, social media,
cloud computing, and analytics are few of the technological breakthroughs that
both businesses and customers have adopted which has not only brought the
stakeholders closer but has made business processes more transparent.

This
has led to disruptive changes in the customer behavior with changing attitudes
and expectations. Today’s customers expect the brands to take more
responsibility, with higher business transparency. These two forces led to the
increased competition where many traditional businesses have perished due to
lack of suitable technological adoption at the right time. The businesses that
strive today face increased competition owing to the forces in play in the
digital marketing eco space and all spheres of business. 

In
this competition, the leaders of the industry can provide more intuitive
usability, enhanced connectivity, and lower prices. Moreover, as more of the
generation Y is increasingly becoming customers with huge disposable income,
the expectations of customers are also going through a paradigm shift. This
band of customers is not only more technology savvy but are less loyal to
brands as well than their predecessors.

Due
to this shift, more online players with newer and more disruptive business
models are entering the market with new and substitute products and services
which are mounting on the pressure of competition. On top of all these forces,
the digitalization is acting as an accelerator allowing brands to deliver
better customer experience and customer service making it a more compelling
imperative.

Incidents
of poor customer service and dissatisfactory customer experience in the past
may have resulted in a customer complaining to a small number of people among
their friends and family. Today, a tweet or a post of a poor customer
experience results in the viral circulation of the news among millions of
prospective customers and the target audience. Although, this side of digital
amplification may punish a company and may seem fatal there are myriad
advantages too.

The
delighted customers can also spread the news of their delight through the
digital marketing eco space which may immensely benefit a business. The
businesses must be ready for leveraging the positive as well as the negative
incidents and should constantly strive for enhancing the customer experience.

No
doubt, the battle of customer acquisition, service, and retention has become
more severe with the signals that the trend of digital disruption is sending.

In this, the only panacea that seems to work is the delivery of a better
customer experience consistently, and one of the main elements of enhancing
customers’ experience and making the customers’ journey more comfortable is
through digital transformation.

Digital
Transformation – Improving Customer Experience

As
digital transformation aims at putting the customer at the canter and focuses
on making the customer journey more convenient and comfortable, many companies
have launched new and innovative technology initiatives. They have even
employed special service teams to enhance the customer acquisition, conversion,
and retention techniques. That does not seem to be enough as the improvisation
of real digital transformation in enhancing customer experience should revise
the traditional customer service models by increasing efficiency and reducing
cost.

This
effort of digital transformation should be backed up by an enhanced capability
of the people, customer-centric culture of the organization, and an enriched
digital efficiency of the whole organization to drive home a better customer
journey. Rather than optimizing particular customer transactions in isolation,
to improve the buyers’ journey or customer experience, a more holistic approach
is more effective.

Digitization
should enable to bring marketing, sales, and service functions to come closer
and help in tandem in providing a better customer experience. The frontline
representatives of the organization should act as the advisors of the customers
and should evolve to become much more proactive rather than reacting and
resolving a particular issue. Their objectives should not be just resolving
issues and answering customers’ questions but building thriving communities of
customers both in the real world and online.

A
new business model should evolve with the revived interactions according to the
new customer experience design principles which should be the foundation of the
digital transformation process. The vision of digital transformation should
invariably encompass newer capabilities being enthroned on the existing
competency levels of any company to deliver a better customer experience and
revitalize its service delivery models.

Proactive
omnichannel customer interaction

Today,
customers expect a multi-channel communication with brands is breaking the
barriers of time, medium, device or place and with consistency. Companies
should constantly come up with newer support models through omnichannel
customer experience and multiple touch points through an integrated model of
seamless experience. An integrated customer experience model using multiple
touch points that blends both the traditional channels like stores, outlets and
call centers and the digital channels like social media, mobile phones, and the
kiosks can complement each other.

Multi-channel
customer communication would also enable the company to help the customer by
following the most preferred communication channel. This would break the
barrier of time, place, and device. Future events and relevant issues can also
be notified through an omnichannel communication with the customer putting the
brands ahead in the competition. Thus defining the entire customer journey with
a multi-channel customer experience and touch point will not only pave a path
for better customer engagement but will help in building and maintaining a more
proactive and consistent relationship with customers and prospects.

Create
more loyalty through digitization

According
to research studies, the majority of the customer complaints are due to
attitudes of service staff and their competency levels rather than product
quality. A closer and more personalized approach to rendering services to
customers calls for more competency levels and a better attitude on the part of
the support staff. In a digitally transformed organization geared to render
enhanced and improved customer experience, the service staff should be more
consultative and better relationship builders with good communication skills
rather than just problem solvers.

The
recent trends of customer communication through social channels also suggest that
customers do not just report on product or service issues but also seek advice
and help regarding their purchases and other concerns. The support staff should
be adept enough to deal with this expanded scope of service satisfactorily.

Digitization should also be used in making the buyers’ journey more convenient
in face-to-face customer touch points like the stores and outlets. This can be
done through measures like digital payments, automated registration of
products, etc.

If
customer experience has to be improved, then it has to be measured too.

Reliable methods of measurement of customer experience and services should be
gauged to enhance the service levels. Measurement of customer experience at all
the touch points and redressal of issues should be an integral part of the
whole digital transformation process.

Encourage
building customer communities

Brands
are gradually realizing that today’s highly connected customers may not be
utilized as brand ambassadors only, but they are a resource for the organizations
too. A community of customers generating a wealth of user-generated content can
be an asset for a company, and the service teams should inevitably nurture
them.

A
strong and well-supported customer community can help in reducing call volumes,
generate customer insight, and develop better ideas for improvement. As
customers are all scattered in various communities and channels, maintaining
consistency in all the communications of a brand becomes critical.

Encourage
customer-to-customer communications and lead such conversations between
customers in your company forums. These kinds of conversations not only adds
credibility to a brand but also helps in gaining more reputation and goodwill
as customers start acting as the brand ambassadors. The community of the
customers should not only be encouraged, but ways of motivating them should be
improvised so that customers actively help each other in resolving issues.

User
experiences should be engaging

The
user experience provided should be clean, simple, and user-friendly at all
touch points. The interfaces with the prospects and customers created by an
organization should be of the highest quality which not only conveys
reliability and trust but credibility as well and would form the basis of a
successful business relationship with the customers.

Every
interface or a new device or technology affecting customer experience should be
first of all tested and verified regarding its usability, maneuverability, and
quality. The winning format of the design of a particular product or interface
should be arrived at by thorough testing which would provide a consistent and
comfortable user experience throughout.

Now
is the time to act

It
is well evident that the advancement in technology would accelerate and businesses
would implement it at a rapid pace trying to appease the ever increasing
demands and expectations of the customers. No doubt, the advancement in
technology that lies in the future is even more disruptive and challenging. In
the cutthroat business competition, the ever-changing world of business would
always innovative ways to satisfy the customer.

The
brands have to be ready blending technology, people, and strategy to the extent
possible and leave no stone unturned in its efforts of customer acquisition,
sales, and retention. In this spree, these steps of digital transformation are
invariably the basics that all the brands have to apply in gaining and
retaining their fair share of the market to offset competition and forge ahead.