"Digital transformation or how I learned to stop worrying and love the customer"; quoting Stanley Kubrick, this would make a great movie title for the Age of the Customer.
Taking a look at the 2015 SXSW conference schedule, it’s easy to see that there is one trend - clearly surfaced in most panels - standing out: the importance of digital innovation to deal with customers hard to engage (and please). Business studies have a specific name for this evolution: it’s called customer experience transformation and is now top priority to measure against the competition.
Being a prestigious annual interactive conference and festival, SXSW is a good reflection of the changes that we are all going through. Entrepreneurs, economists, tech specialists and novelists gathered in Austin, Texas, all agree that the secrets to success have deeply changed in the last decade or so.
The expansion of the virtual layer that covers our world - made possible by the Internet and mobile devices - is merging digital and analog into a new hyper-connected reality. The rules of the game have been radically rewritten. You can dance or stand by. But why would you?
DIGITAL TRANSFORMATION: STOP WORRYING...
Any evolution in the technological ecosystem brings in a necessary anthropological revolution: not only we don’t live in the same world as before; we are intrinsically different and we communicate in different ways and with different languages. People become empowered, new generations born and grow with a mobile device in their hands, and companies need to change accordingly.
If you don't speak their digital language, you won't be able to retain their attention and loyalty. The first step is to stop worrying and come to terms with the fact that you must update your marketing strategy - and maybe your identity - to focus on the interaction and the customer journey.
So, what’s the secret to the most successful companies of the digital era? Easy, they don’t just deliver a great product or service; they rely upon the quality of their output to create a customer experience that is innovative, delighting and seamless across all touch points. Customer experience management, thus, becomes a key factor in the overall reorganization of your company.
...AND IMPROVE CUSTOMER EXPERIENCE
Building better experiences has to start with knowing your customers. It requires a shift in how you see things, from company’s to customer’s point of view. Many still confuse DCX with CRM: while customer relationship management is still important, a CRM-focused contact strategy is too enterprise centered.
In the Age of the Customer, such a one-way action plan has too many limitations. Digital customer experience, on the contrary, is an outside-inside approach that puts the client at the center of attention, as the main purpose of business, encouraging a two-ways communication anytime and anywhere, no matter the channel.
Again, don't worry. Delivering excellent experience doesn’t have to be complicated. In fact, the keys to better engage your customers and improve customer retention are so simple they might surprise you. The real effort, if anything, is to step from words to facts. Here are 5 ways you can start working to transform your customer journey into something unique and sensational.
- ASK QUESTIONS - true rock star brands listen before talking. The best way to know where your should start your path to transformation is to ask to the person concerned. Remember: your customers know you even better than you do. Let them know you are always there to help.
- BE PERSONAL - there are plenty of studies that recommend a personal approach to business. When dealing with clients, then, a ‘one customer’ feel is essential: each person is different and wants to be treated as such. Always personal(ize) your message and content marketing.
- THINK 'BEST' - companies usually think about 'newest' features and products. They have done so for decades and they don't see any point in changing approach. With empowered customers, though, your efforts should be aimed at rather delivering the best experience, anytime anywhere.
- TRAIN EXCELLENCE - it is now familiar that a great customer experience starts with employee engagement. Your employees will always be your first clients: if they don't believe in what they do, and you fail to involve them into your brand storytelling, that is the first sign of an upcoming crisis.
- DON'T BE SCARED - changes are never easy to accept and share with stakeholders. Be it a new technology or a totally different approach to business, never ever be afraid of trying new things. As Albert Einstein once said, "You never fail until you stop trying".
And that’s what customer experience transformation is all about: a business revision process, addressed to enhance the experience of clients from any point of contact. Lingering behind the curve on the strategic use of disruptive technologies weakens your ability to strengthen the relationship with customers. Embrace the transformation, you might find that you love the digital bomb.