By Mark de Groot, Digital CX Evangelist at Oracle
An efficient and pragmatic approach you should try to drive your company’s digital future.
We’re all more than familiar with the forces that are driving businesses to transform their customer experiences. Today every part of every company is subject to new customer expectations, new competitors, and innovative channels, which come with threats but also fantastic opportunities.
The challenge is: how do you transform your business? In answering this question, there’s a real danger that some organizations are drawn into a false sense of security. 90% of companies, for example, believe they have a digital strategy in place – but only 14% have the technology and skills needed to deliver that strategy. What’s more, many companies are not approaching their digital strategies in the most suitable way. Only 25% have mapped the customer journey, and only 42% are investing in digital channels. The danger here is that the focus on emerging technologies like chatbots, Artificial Intelligence, IoT, and hyper-personalization, is not connected to the customer, and because of existing fragmented channels, data and processes, will not deliver the customer-centric agility and adaptability that is required for today’s customer experience. It’s for that reason I developed a practical methodology which will ensure your digital transformation is on the right path.
We begin the transformation journey with a process of digital assessment. This assessment is a course of discovery where you need to ask yourself some fundamental questions: Why exactly are you transforming? What’s the preferred perception of the company? What are your customers’ perspectives and expectations? What would the ideal customer experience look like? Even more fundamentally: what is your business model? Will it need to change? The outcome of this step is a company wide digital vision.
The next step is to try and find out just how far from this vision your company currently is. We use customer journey mapping for this exercise. We help you identify each possible stage along the customer journey (from their perspective); what they have to do in every phase of their journey, how your business serves them, what they think about the experience, and how it makes them feel. Only by mapping the customer journey can you understand where you (digitally) can add value and identify where the priorities are.
Determining the digital maturity level of your current business, and the degree to which you leverage digital technology will help you understand where you can and should make improvements, and where the gaps are terms of technology and processes. Your digital maturity assessment will, therefore, largely dictate the pace at which you can achieve your transformation objectives.
In this fourth stage of the transformation process, we are concerned with selecting the capabilities required to bring a digital vision to life and identifying gaps in your existing infrastructure. This step involves a review of the digital capabilities and data sources you need for an integrated digital business platform capable of delivering your ideal digital customer experience. Why do you need an integrated CX platform? The reason is simple: without it, apps and data are fragmented, and it’s often challenging and expensive to seamlessly join disparate apps and data sources to create compelling and connected experiences.
Remember: a platform needs to become more than technology. It also represents the conviction of the business to become more customer-centric. It means being able to react quickly through innovation and adapt to change. Transformation in a genuine sense of the word is only possible when everything is on one platform: people, processes, data, and tools that allow smart interaction between customers and employees.
We call this concept, Smarter CX:
This step is where it all comes together. Your digital transformation roadmap is now clear and actionable: it provides the next steps you must take to organize transformation initiatives and projects. It outlines the digital architecture you need, providing a progressive plan to evolve and to maximise the value from each phase of the roadmap – while also minimising the risk and cost for proposed initiatives. Additionally, it provides the flexibility to adopt new business priorities to changing technology.
Start small and don’t be afraid to fail
I always advise businesses to start small. Choose five areas ripe for CX transformation and then run pilots to test your innovations. The idea is for you to be able to innovate continuously, regardless of whether these innovations are an immediate success. Indeed, digital CX platforms turn failures into benefits as failed projects provide priceless lessons that will lead to improved processes. All that matters is that you continue to move and try out new ideas. As a rule of thumb, you should look to test a new customer experience innovation every four weeks. It is this restless search for innovation and novelty that will allow you to remain competitive in the digital age.