Jacques du Bruyn, MD, Flume Digital Marketing and PR, says customer experience as a concept is not new. It has been around since the modernisation of business and has been at the forefront of product and service innovations for decades. After all, everything that a business does is for its customers and clients fall under this umbrella.
One only has to visit the definition of a brand to understand the importance of customer experience. A brand can loosely be defined as a perception that is formed through experiences an individual has with a business and that those experiences are linked to a logo or icon.
Not everyone’s experience of a brand is the same. However, through digital transformation, businesses can close the gap between perception and what is actually being delivered. In essence businesses can now, more than ever, control customer experience. How is this achieved? Through the deployment of digital tools and platforms.
Here are a few considerations that every business should take into account when deploying digital transformation with the intention of controlling and creating far more consistent customer experiences.
Digital customer experience is first and foremost about digital tools and platforms
Digital customer experience is the practice of enhancing customer experience through the deployment of digital tools and platforms. For instance, a business may have a digital warranty process and thus offers a seamless self-service experience, whereas before a customer would have to email or walk into a warranty centre.
In order to digitise customer experience, a business must ask the following questions first:
1) Which of our products and processes requires digitisation?
2) Can we list the products and services that require digitisation in order of importance?
3) How are we going to digitise the product or process?
4) Who needs to be involved and are there third party integrations necessary?
5) What processes and/or systems do we require to support the digitisation?
Choosing the correct digital tools and platforms is a matter of scalability and cost. Not every business can afford enterprise-level software, thus, carefully understanding the business strategy and lifecycle that is required in order to deploy the correct tools and platforms will be essential.
In order to deploy digital tools and platforms correctly, a business has to first have the correct customer experience systems and processes in place.
I have witnessed many businesses with the good intentions of digitising customer experiences. However, it is no good if a business wants to digitise a product or service, only to realise it doesn’t have a process that supports the digitisation. Businesses cannot invent digitised experiences that the business cannot support on the back-end.
It makes far more sense if there already exists a robust customer experience that only requires the deployment and integration of an online platform and tool. As long as the back-end support is established, there is no reason why the deployment of digitised customer experience cannot be successful. Many businesses fail not because of the digital tools but rather because of digital readiness.
I’ve seen, too often, businesses that have a great idea to launch e-commerce in order to create a better experience for their customers and then halfway through the process realise that, as a business, they are not ready because they actually don’t have the correct personnel in place or the correct systems. Or that it is no use deploying an online experience if the business strategy does not support the idea. That is why I always recommend a business readiness audit before digitisation is embarked on. This requires asking the following questions:
1) Who are the stakeholders? Generally an analysis of the business and stakeholders needs to be conducted in order to fully understand the dependencies at all levels.
2) How are we going to achieve digitisation and by when?
3) Does our pricing strategy support our decision?
4) Do we have the correct personnel in the correct seats in order to launch?
Digital transformation is all about convenience. Fundamentally, the only reason a product or service is digitised is to create convenience. That is all. Otherwise there is no need for it. The benefits of digital customer experience when deployed well is profound. It is measurable, it is understandable and it allows a business the ability to iterate and improve and ultimately evolve. If a business is not evolving with its customer’s needs then it is only a matter of time that customers will seek products and services elsewhere.