How Digital Transformation Impacts CX
Published: February 12, 2020
Digital transformation is an ongoing process requiring organizations to adapt to new technologies as they are introduced. It affects all aspects of an organization, from the supply chain to inventory to accounting to payroll, but the most visible impact of digital transformation is on customer experience.
Without the goal of enhancing the customer experience, digital transformation would be less important. Sure, organizations could still realize substantial operational benefits by automating processes to drive efficiencies and deliver new products and services, but an excellent customer experience is the ultimate achievement. If your customers hold your brand in high esteem, your chances of success increase significantly.
Does the impact of digital transformation on customer experience shape the vision of any company, no matter its size or vertical focus? This is something business leaders understand, and explains why 72 percent told Harvard Business Review researchers they expect digital transformation to create closer customer relationships.
To enhance the customer experience, companies are already adopting technologies such as artificial intelligence (AI), augmented reality (AR) and cloud-based services. Increasingly, though, it’s consumers who are driving digital transformation as it relates to customer experience. They expect mobile access, instant service and seamless experiences when interacting with their preferred brands, and this puts pressure on organizations to embrace digital transformation.
Enterprises can use digital transformation in plenty of ways to impact customer experience. Here are six examples:
1. Get to know your customers
Delivering a singularly satisfying customer experience hinges on how well an organization knows its customers. A retailer looking to customize offers and promotions needs to know each customer’s shopping history and preferences. Likewise, news and entertainment providers need data on users’ content preferences so they can personalize content delivery. And organizations must deliver the content however the customer prefers, be it via email, mobile app, social media or some other platform.
You can’t do any of this if you don’t get to know your customers. Research by Accenture reveals that 75 percent of consumers are more likely to do business with a company that recognizes them by name, knows their purchase history and makes recommendations based on past interactions.
2. Deliver an omnichannel experience
Customers switch between mobile apps, websites, email and social media when interacting with a brand. In industries such as retail and banking, customers also visit physical sites to conduct business. As they switch back and forth, customers expect a seamless omnichannel experience. For example, when customers start a purchase on a mobile app and finish it online, they expect your systems to remember it so they don’t have to start from scratch after switching platforms.
Customers view your brand as a singular entity and don’t want to be bogged down by “siloed” business units. Delivering a gratifying omnichannel customer experience requires not only knowing the customers but also breaking down data and communication barriers within your organization. Only then can customers interact with your company however and whenever they prefer.
3. Provide a mobile-first experience
While no channel in an omnichannel strategy should be ignored, organizations today need to pay special attention to the mobile customer experience. Customers carry their smartphones everywhere and use them to look up information, communicate, make purchases, play games and watch shows. By some estimates, Americans check their phones 52 to 80 times a day on average.
In light of this attachment to smartphones, you can’t simply offer customers a mobile app. You should build the entire customer experience around the mobile experience, so any interaction with your brand, from payments to order management to technical support, is supported by an interactive mobile platform.
4. Personalize the customer experience
The data that organizations collect about customers to create an omnichannel experience is also essential for personalization. As you learn each customer’s tastes, preferences and history, you can start delivering individualized experiences. This goes beyond simply making recommendations based on previous interactions.
A truly personalized experience takes into account how a customer wants to interact with your organization. Some prefer to receive coupons through text for individualized promotions, while others like email. When customers call you, it will be possible as interactive voice response (IVR) systems become more intelligent to replace calling menus with systems that recognize callers and sense their mood so service can be tailored appropriately. In time, “personalization” will mean having a digital identity for each customer so they can be recognized quickly no matter what platform they’re using.
5. Implement AI
AI-powered systems play an integral role in customer experience. For instance, personalizing emails and texts to customers is virtually impossible without help from an AI or machine learning (ML) algorithm that identifies content relevant to each individual. Algorithms take into account previous interactions with websites, mobile apps, email, and social media to determine what interests customers.
In addition to personalization, AI and ML are useful in other ways. For example chatbots and intelligent IVRs can make it easier to provide customers with 24/7 support while freeing humans up for more difficult tasks. Smart systems also can be used for other purposes such as measuring customer satisfaction, ordering products and making content delivery choices for individual users.
6. Remember the human touch
Sometimes customers want to talk to a human, and making it difficult to reach a person by phone can drive customers away. While digital services and automation are fundamental to customer experience, machines cannot make the emotional connection customers sometimes need, be it to ask a question, voice a complaint or make a return.
A study by Longitude for Verizon found that “being unable to speak to a real person (34%) or to find a telephone number (21%) would prompt many consumers to switch” to another brand. As you develop your digital transformation and customer experience strategies, it would be a mistake to ignore the need for human connection.
No Time to Waste
Digital transformation is not something you can put off, especially when it comes to shaping the customer experience. Transformation requires investment in network performance, cybersecurity, mobility, customer systems and other IT areas. And as 5G networks are introduced, organizations will be able to deliver a customer experience that would have seemed unimaginable a few years ago. Learn more about digitizing the customer experience by exploring our Customer Experience solutions.