The Digital Transformation Landscape
We all know businesses must innovate to keep up with customer expectations.
From food companies reducing sodium in TV dinners for the health-conscious to car manufacturers producing electric vehicles for the environmentally conscious, companies in every industry are required to keep up with maturing markets, new trends, and evolved customer expectations.
The tech industry is no stranger to this shift and is currently experiencing an accelerated digitization.
Technological achievements are facilitating a change in how companies approach their customer experience, allowing customers to respond with even higher expectations.
This digital transformation has given companies the resources to supply instantaneous communication, seamless cross-channel support, unique customer journeys, and a higher degree of transparency to their customers. Today, these technological advances set the standard and are expected by today’s digital consumer.
Companies must understand how customer expectations have evolved in the digital transformation, and why they require a new approach to the customer experience.
If businesses wish to fine-tune their customer experience with the resources provided to them by the digital transformation, they must first understand their new clientele.
That’s why today marks the start of a new relationship you’ll build with your customers. And, surprise!, right now is your very first date…
Digital Customer, meet my audience. The audience, meet your new market. Enjoy!
How to Meet the Expectation of the Digital Customer
Customers in today’s market have high expectations and, if your company can’t satisfy them, they’ll churn and move on to the next company that can.
When discussing this new customer, we should first think of ourselves.
What do we expect in daily transactions?
When I purchase an app, for instance, I expect to access it anywhere, anytime, and instantaneously.
I also understand the benefits of technology and require a high level of transparency from companies.
I expect to achieve my goals with exactness and ease. My confusion shouldn’t increase, rather the app should solve my concerns with minimal effort.
I am a digital customer, and I’m going to take a wild guess and say that you are too. We expect our relationships with products to be personalized, accessible, and easy to understand.
This is why companies must evolve and refocus their design efforts to meet new customer expectations. Designing a “one size fits most” experience will no longer delight the digital customer. Companies are now required to design many experiences for one, single product.
When designing multiple customer journeys, personalization is the most important. Here’s how it has emerged through the digital transformation, and the role it plays in customer expectations today.
Personalize the Digital Journey
75% of customers admit being more likely to buy from a company that recognizes them by their name, knows their purchase history, and recommends products based on their past purchases.
Customers enjoy personalized journeys, and the digital transformation has made them easier for companies to achieve. Companies now interact with customers through many channels, from mobile to social, and should make sure their customer is personally recognized at all times.
Inform the Customer
New digital channels should be clearly explained to users. If your company starts to use social media to respond to concerns, make sure customers are first made aware that this outlet exists. If your company now uses an app in conjunction with a website, make sure it’s usage doesn’t interfere with the former.
You should also explain the specific need for each digital channel you introduce to customers. HSBC, for example, provides tutorial videos on its redesigned online banking.
The gym I attend is famous for using digital channels throughout its premises to inform customers.
Classes are held by interactive, pre-recorded sessions and led by real trainers. Before you enter the training room, you can tap through an interactive screen which describes and explains what each lesson will be.
The Gym also uses social media and hashtags to feature dedicated gym-goers on TV screens throughout their gyms. This personalization is brought on through newly introduced digital media channels, and customers feel special when they get a shout out.
Provide a Relevant Customer Journey
Thanks to the digital transformation, we can exclaim “there’s an app for that!” to most of our digital dilemmas. Because of this, it’s important you make sure to present only the most relevant content to your customers. Don’t overload them with unnecessary features, content, information, and apps.
When tailoring the customer journey you may introduce an email automation system that will schedule emails to customers.
You should pay keen detail to what channel the customer comes from, what resources they’ve viewed, and what information they seek. This way you can construct a journey specifically tailored to their interests and needs.
Allianz did this when they decided to group the functionalities of multiple apps into one app for health-insurance, claims submission, and other services.
This singular app generated a higher usage from their customers, simply because of the convenience and relevance.
Guide the Customer through Your Applications
Customers expect to easily navigate your software and if they can’t, they’ll abandon your platform.
This is why onboarding customers with guidance are instrumental to meet growing expectations for accessibility and know-how. You can use on-screen guides that guide users through processes within your software with interactive step-by-step instructions and a virtual assistant.
You can also provide incentives to your customers to adopt digital guidance in favor of traditional and more costly measures.
The airline Wizz Air actually offers digital support on its website for free. But, they charge a fee for customers who decide to use the call center instead.
Offer Elements of Instant Gratification
Because of digitization, customers now expect to achieve their goals instantly. They also expect to access your platform from anywhere, at any time.
You can create the optimal customer experience that adheres to customer expectations in the digital age through gamification efforts and incentives.
Provide a Truly Omnichannel Experience
This point is partially related to the previous one.
The language learning app, Duolingo, creates a customer journey that incentivizes the user and can be accessed on multiple platforms.
An eager user may hope to achieve fluency in a language in a week. Obviously, this isn’t realistic. Duolingo instead rewards the user with milestones measured as a percentage of fluency for the language. For instance, I’m currently 66% percent fluent in German and 12% fluent in Spanish! Although I haven’t achieved complete competence, this is an achievement I’m proud of and encourages me to return to the app.
Duolingo is also available by mobile and desktop. This way, it doesn’t matter if I want to practice the language on my train ride to work or if I want to complete a lesson at my desk. Either way, I can achieve my goal instantly.
Mobility is not the only factor you need to take into account. If it’s true that your customers need to be in touch with you and monitor their relationship with you using different devices, a truly omnichannel experience allows customers to choose how to get in touch with you outside of the digital world.
The more channels you activate the better it is in order to guarantee a constant contact with your brand through different touchpoints.
A Seamless Approach to Change Management
Driving digital transformation to construct a better customer experience is not just a matter for direct, front-end communication channels. The entire company should play a role in the customer experience.
Every department in a company should work towards the goal of providing an empowering and seamless Customer Experience.
Customers expect their concerns to be addressed by customer success managers who, in turn, will share them with the product team.
Clients also expect their concerns shared with sales reps to be addressed in the next product release.
Customers expect you to share information seamlessly and swiftly amongst all the other departments.
Of course, this is not always possible. Silos often keep departments from successfully working together and challenge any attempt at effective collaboration.
Any slight inconvenience the customer experiences along their journey within your product interface may translate into the churn, negative associations, or a conversion to the competitor.
If your company’s departments are focused on too many goals and have conflicting visions you’re not approaching the customer experience form an enterprise-wide approach.
You can use digital channels to ensure the common goal of every department works towards achieving is addressing the customer’s needs.
You can use a shared CRM tool to evaluate, gather, centralize, and share all correspondence departments have with clients, information about their purchase history, and insight on their behavior throughout the entire enterprise.
Customers expect every digital channel provided by a company to know specific details about them and support the journey with pre-filled information and data.
Clients shouldn’t have to repeat themselves to customer support managers, customer service agents, or sales teams. This interruption and repetition will develop negative sentiments during the customer journey and harm the overall customer experience.
Final Remark: Keep it Human!
You really have to appreciate the irony of the digital transformation!
It seems as companies start to supply digital channels to their customers, customers start to expect an even more human experience.
As Bryan Kramer, TED Talk speaker and CEO at PureMatter, says:
“In rapid digital transformation, it’s vital that we don’t forget who we are. With the large customer data sets that brands are generating, they need to ensure that they use them in emotionally intelligent ways.”
Don’t be the company that provides a lack-luster, un-personalized customer experience.
Keep in mind that some of the benefits provided by the digital transformation may border on the line of creepy for customers.
A Hubspot study found that 91% of online users in the U.S. and Europe find advertising to have become more intrusive over the past two to three years.
There exists a fine line which separates a humanized customer journey that will meet the digital customer’s expectation and the journey that creates a creepy bot effect, which will surely turn them away.
Your company should A/B test marketing targets, tactics, and channels to see how customers react and respond to these personalized measures. Find the safe ground that your audience accepts and use this information to provide a human touch in the customer experience.
Change management is linked to many challenges including introducing plenty of new software applications in your company and making sure that everybody’s willing to switch and quickly adapt to the new ecosystem.
Learn more about different challenges connected to digital transformation and how you can speed up the process with higher software adoption by downloading our ebook.