Guest blogger Blake Morgan, consumer futurist and author of the recently published “The Customer of the Future,” outlines twelve things that companies must do to create great customer experiences.
Digital transformation is all about using technology to solve traditional problems. When done correctly, it allows companies to provide unprecedented value to customers and continually evaluate their strategies and tactics. In a digital transformation, digital technology is integrated into every area of the business, from sales to service and beyond. Many organizations work in silos, where each area or department has their own data or technology that is separate from the rest of the company. Digital transformation breaks down those silos to create a more seamless experience across the company, both internally and externally.
Digital transformation doesn’t have a set beginning or endpoint. Instead, it’s a state of mind for a company to continually evolve and adopt new digital solutions for its customers. Technology and customer behavior change every few years, and organizations need to stay ahead of the curve. Every area of the company, especially IT and marketing, has an important role to play in digital transformation.
Most companies realize the importance of digital transformation but don’t know where to start. The idea of a complete overhaul can be daunting. Most companies report success by simply finding an area to start and making change happen. Research shows that 85% of enterprise decision-makers believe they have two years to make significant progress on digital transformation before they fall behind their competitors.
Digital transformation doesn’t have to be overwhelming. When done correctly, it can become part of an organization’s DNA and integrate into the existing culture and experience. Here are 12 steps to digital transformation:
1. Customer focus. The first shift moves the company from being product-focused to being customer-focused. Companies that are best prepared for a digital transformation and that have the best results understand their customers and have a strong understanding of their wants and needs. Realizing what is best for the customer puts things into perspective and helps prioritize next steps.
2. Organizational structure. Digital transformation needs a transparent culture that embraces change. Break down the internal silos and get executives and leaders on board with the new digital vision.
3. Change management. Many digital transformations fail because employees don’t support them. People are wired to stay the same and often struggle with change, even if they see the potential benefits. The most effective change management efforts are aligned with the modern, dynamic business environment.
4. Transformational leadership. A strong leader can help employees feel secure during times of change. Transformational leadership must make people feel moved to action and part of something bigger than themselves. That means every executive and leader plays a critical role in championing digital change.
5. Technology decisions. Effective digital transformation decisions can’t be made in a vacuum. An average of 15 people, half of them in IT, are involved in most purchase decisions. Leaders need to work together to represent their various departments and the overall goals of the company.
6. Integration. Focusing on data helps integrate digital solutions into all areas of the company. The bigger the company, the more complicated the approach to data. A streamlined data strategy is required for a successful digital transformation.
7. Internal customer experience. Digital transformation plays a huge role in the internal customer experience—the employee experience. Getting employee feedback and providing consumer-grade technology solutions greatly empowers employees to provide an amazing experience.
8. Logistics and supply chain. A digital transformation isn’t effective if it doesn’t improve the speed and reliability with which customers get their products or services. A digital approach to logistics and the supply chain improves efficiency.
9. Data security, privacy and ethics. The majority of consumers believe their data is vulnerable to a data breach. When updating processes and systems in a digital transformation, data security should be front of mind.
10. Evolution of products, services and processes. Digital transformation requires a change in thinking about the delivery of products and services, and even the products and services themselves. Modern products are smarter and delivered in innovative ways.
11. Digitization. Digitizing the business means creating seamless integrations between the digital and physical stores. Stores like Target and Best Buy blur the line between digital and retail with great success.
12. Personalization. Consumers expect personalized service. Leverage digital solutions to understand customer and provide recommendations and experiences that are unique to them.
Undergoing a digital transformation is a continual process and can be difficult. However, by simply focusing on customers and following these steps, great progress can be made.
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Blake Morgan is a customer experience futurist, keynote speaker and the author of two books including The Customer Of The Future. You can learn more about her at www.blakemichellemorgan.com.