Posted by Patricia Jones
Customers are the primary force behind the shift of businesses to digital transformation. In view of the fact that the common people are using social networks and digital interactive tools to carry out majority of their tasks, it’s no less than a compulsion for the businesses to undertake the path to digital transformation.
That’s precisely why you have businesses embrace the innovative digital devices and operating models to form a competitive differentiation in the market.
The IBM 2010 Global CEO Study has discussed in detail about this trend, highlighting the common apprehensions that businesses are going through.
In what holds below is a summarized and paraphrased version of a few selective key takeaways from the Report. Take a look –
Age of the Customer combined with the Digital Age has resulted into a stellar combination. Responding to the customers demands, businesses are using information technology to
improve productivity and efficiency
reach new target markets
optimize the supply and service chains to better cater to customers.
The shift to Digital Transformation is a part of this endeavor too. As people have started exhaustively using the social and digital devices to do their tasks – it’s expected of the businesses to change their strategies and respond to this shift.
But the question is how to do it? How can businesses innovate, differentiate and grow in this Digital Age? How can they leverage, integrate and optimize the newest digital technologies?
Well it’s not that difficult. Experts opine that all that is required is a cohesive strategy for a successful digital transformation.
On the path to Digital Transformation, the focus primarily needs to be on two areas:
Using digital technologies for fostering better customer relations
Using digital technologies for redefining the operating model.
And to do so, businesses need to build a new set of frameworks that allows them to progress along both areas equally.
Digital technologies can play an instrumental role in strengthening the customer relations. With the help of the right digital tools, businesses can enhance and redefine their customers experience. Let’s see how –
a. Bettering the quality of the products and services
Product and service improvement is an ongoing cycle. Businesses need to continue doing this to better the offerings and meet the dynamic expectations of their customers. Using this logic, some renowned businesses have incorporated digital technologies to augment their products and services.
Example – Automotive companies have started providing digital media access to enhance their customers’ automotive experience. Many have added in new features to their products, taking inputs from the virtual communities. How cool, isn’t it?
b. Expanding offerings for new revenue streams
Capitalizing the digital technology, businesses can create various prospects of increasing their revenue. And that’s exactly what one of the renowned toy companies has done.
Example – Toy company named Webkinz has started providing to all its customers the facility to venture into the online world and accessorize their pets. This idea has garnered immense praise from the customers. In addition to this, it has opened an additional stream of revenue for the company by selling the customer data to other marketers.
c. Redefining the products and services core elements
This is the final and by far the most exhaustive way to better customer relationships with the use of the digital technology. It’s all about completely transforming the existing product and service concept to give customers a totally brand new thing that they would be compelled to pay for.
Example – Medical device manufacturers have created the new-age disease-monitoring devices that can communicate about a patient’s condition to remote caregivers. Undoubtedly, this device with the added feature of message transmission has caught the attention of the people.
Note: Although till now very few businesses have totally revamped their products and services by seizing the digital revolution, the future predicts many other businesses to initiate something in these lines. Reason – this step guarantees optimum benefit if done right.
Businesses need to implement stratagems that hint towards the development and honing of their operating model. Once the operational model is improved, it automatically results into increased productivity gains. Let’s see how –
a. Initiation of New Digital Capabilities
That’s nothing but the engagement of customers through digital channels, such as online social communities. One of the companies to be the pioneer in doing this is none but Burberry.
Post the establishment of its brand, it created an online channel for customer engagement. Customers got the option to digitally view the fashion shows via the internet and order online during the events.
Benefit: Online streaming gave an all-new convenience to the customers. Now they could shop anytime and easily click on the web site to engage a representative by phone or text chat.
b. Leveraging information across channels to better handle customers
Once businesses have initialized multiple digital channels – the next step is to leverage the insights derived from them. Capturing and streamlining the multi-channel data through tools like cloud CRM for small business, entrepreneurs can extract actionable insights from these and provide most value to the customers. They can use the CRM to share the data across departments and equip the employees to better handle customers queries and demands.
c. Integrating digital and physical channels
This is the ultimate step where businesses need to integrate all the traditional and digital channels to provide a cohesive and united service to the customers at all touch points.
Example – Tesco that has fully reshaped its operating model by merging the traditional channels with the newly-built self-service checkouts.
Benefit: Customers get integrated information at all points of the journey as they move from marketing to sales to service.
Patricia is a full time CRM consultant at ConvergeHub and part-time blogger. She has earned herself quite a fame as a specialist and market expert in CRM software. In the last five year she has worked with various companies as CRM consultant to help them move their businesses to cloud. Her expertise lies in offering cloud CRM consultation, CRM customization and integration solutions to small enterprises. For last one she is engaged in building ConvergeHub, cloud-based CRM solution for SMBs, as a consultant.Follow her at Twitter: @convergehub