Opinion expressed by Asoke K. Laha President and CEO, Interra Information Technologies Inc.
Technology is allowing consumers to communicate with businesses in new and innovative ways, which is drastically changing the relationship between the buyer and the seller.
Be it any company is in and whether it is B2B or B2C, a consumer is always the king for that company. For the past two decades, technology has been disrupting customer behavior with each wave of innovation that builds upon the last and opening new doors of possibilities along the way. Technology is allowing consumers to communicate with businesses in new and innovative ways, which is drastically changing the relationship between the buyer and the seller.
According to a study done by IDC, it is expected that the percentage of organizations engaged in DX is going to double by 2020. It is important to note that most of the initiatives taken under the flag of digital transformation are related to the customer experience and since customers are the prime focus for any organization, it gives digital transformation a purpose. It also showcases that the intentions of an organization have shifted to actually be(ing) relevant to the customer and delivering a better customer experience.
In the recent past, an online presence of a business was enough. But, today, just having an online presence is not enough anymore. This is simply because even the smallest player in the market has an online presence. If an organization wants to survive in the digital world and prosper in this competitive market scenario, it needs to be able to provide access for its customers.
Many digital transformation projects are driven by the customer experience. This is mainly because a lot of companies are investing more and more in new digital technologies and processes. This will enable them to effectively engage customers, partners, and employees. Experiences created digitally are the new heart of customer engagement. This has become a critical approach for delivering a new generation of customer engagement that goes beyond traditional CRM to deliver a connected, contextual experience on any channel across the entire customer journey.
The use of new technology has indeed become an important tool for companies for its internal and external business along with customer operations and experience. A company’s drive for agility and innovation is reflected by the digital transformations that the company undertakes. This fuels new revenue sources while catering to the needs of evolving customer bases.
The key that will solve complex communication issues and needs of today’s consumers are the new technology platforms/services available today. Companies today are using multiple delivery channels to communicate with their customers which is only based on the preference of the recipient.
Strategies which are usually straightforward and upfront are taken up by companies and marketers. But as things progress, the process usually fails to ensure the perfect configuration of a humane approach and sustainable, perpetually growing customer engagement tech support.
A lot of investment in tools that combine various data sources are done by companies today. This helps in providing detailed insight, and the interaction across the customer journey is much faster and more personalized. It is now a competitive environment when it comes to customer attention, the response by organizations are more proactive in designing and orchestrating connections.
So, when it comes to customer engagement, it is important for businesses to carefully research the available options. There needs to be a proper roadmap put in place by an organization -a digital transformation strategy that has the ability to deliver unique, hyper-personalized, scalable experiences in the right moment and on the right channel. It is utmost necessary that organizations understand their customers completely. This will help the company to know who their customer is. It is also important that organizations understand the customer’s interests and behavior.
Unique data needs to be collected in order for businesses to have the right set of customers. This means that businesses are increasingly required to synthesize structured data with unstructured data. In order to handle such data, both systems and processes are required, pulling together past information/data along with the real-time data being generated by customers.
It is also important to map the customer’s journey. This happens when technology and customer behavior come together and thus creating relevance to the customer and is looked at from the customer’s perspective.
It has indeed become important and necessary for businesses to know who the target customers are. In a world where the majority of the audience/customers are using mobile technology to get information, just getting to know the target customers is not enough anymore. It has become important for organizations to know where they are in order to deliver a responsive experience. This means that one needs to know both the physical and digital context.
It is necessary for companies to create relevant communications. It requires that one has to be at the right time on the right channel. This is key for the organization as the generational divide widens over technology and communication preferences. Two-way conversation and interactivity with customers are enabled by technology. It requires more than digitization to send out information via a new channel. Digital transformation needs rethinking of processes. Rethinking should be in a way that best serves the customer in the channel they are using.
On the flip side, a lot of organizations are indeed facing challenges because of the lack of digital talent who can actually deliver the necessary changes. There is a shortage of skilled talent in new technologies. Finding external help can be valuable but only up to a certain critical point.
In order to support rapid innovation and scalability, there needs to be proper IT infrastructure, which at this moment is fragile, and often is primitive. The government and the private sector are doing its best to have a better infrastructure in place. Services such as mobility, automation and cloud-based services have opened up an abundance of opportunities, but this needs to be taken to new heights.
Thus, it has become essential for companies to have a well-planned and integrated strategy to steer digital transformation in alignment with the customer's journey and in order to drive customer engagement.