Organizations are being forced to adapt and respond to emerging disruptive technologies, both to take advantage of them and to avoid obsolescence. The need for change is significant, regardless of industry segment or the size or maturity of the organization. One of the most striking and important aspects of the resulting wave of digital transformation activities is how organizations engage and interact with their customers.
Today, most customer journeys include a complex mix of interactions across an ever-expanding ecosystem of traditional and digital touchpoints. As new technologies arise and gain popularity, behaviors shift. Customers have access to significant amounts of information about a company and the products it sells, and they are constantly comparing prices, services and reviews with competitors — and sharing their experiences on dozens of review sites and through social media channels.
In such a freewheeling environment, expectations for customer service have never been higher or more fluid. Customers take for granted that all the traditional and digital elements of a business will work flawlessly together to create a single unified experience for them. They expect companies to embrace new technologies and social trends the moment they become popular. And if they don’t, the competition is only a click away.
So, what does it take to meet customer expectations and build loyalty in the digital age? What’s the best way to understand, analyze and improve incredibly complex and fluid customer journeys that include nearly endless combinations of traditional and digital touchpoints and interactions? And how do companies turn the nonstop barrage of unstructured and mostly unsolicited feedback from dozens of review sites and social media channels into useful information?
A Digital Strategy Centered Around the Customer Experience
In view of these realities, a digital transformation strategic plan is a clear and undeniable business imperative. Organizations must assess their digital maturity level and develop a smart digital transformation plan that will help them evolve through the digital maturity levels—from digital beginner to digital expert and digital leader. This planned progress, in turn, will open the door to more innovative products and services, better and faster decision-making, improved operational performance, and, most important, more meaningful and productive relationships with customers.
Let me emphasize that last point: The benefits and advantages of a successful digital transformation can only be realized if companies keep their customers at the center of all their digital transformation strategic plans. To achieve higher digital maturity levels, customer experience (CX) and voice-of-the-customer programs must undergo the same kind of complete digital transformation as the rest of the organization.
Next week, I will have the honor of delivering a keynote address at CXFusion, the customer experience conference hosted by MaritzCX April 10-12 in Las Vegas. I expect intense interest in the event, driven by the fact that organizations today are feeling doubly pressured by the urgency to respond to the increasing risks of innovative disruption and by organizational resistance to change from within. These risks are now at the top of boards’ agendas. No one doubts that a top-performing CX capability is a strategic differentiator.
When has an organization truly embraced the digital landscape? What makes an organization a CX leader in the digital age? How can an organization assess its CX digital capabilities and take action? These are questions I hope to engage leaders in during the conference, and both offer and gain insight.
There are a number of companies making good progress utilizing digital technologies to engage with customers in new and creative ways. But to be truly digital, an organization must go much further and become digital to the core. This requires organizations to evolve to think and act digital in everything they do. Relatively few organizations are close to achieving this type of transformation. At CXFusion, we will explore these challenges in more detail and discuss the role a CX team has to play as organizations seek to reinvent themselves and become winners in the digital age.
I’ll be sharing my insights from the conference and thoughts on the future of customer experience in future blogs and podcasts. Subscribe to stay in touch with us here and on our website.