In our new survey of 500 business leaders, 77% identified digital transformation as a strategic priority. Our research also identified that 70% are focused specifically on improving customer engagement. This comes as no surprise in the today’s highly competitive customer-driven landscape.
But knowing that you have to do something and actually delivering it are two different things. In our survey we also discovered that 74% identified transformation as something that was going to be hard to achieve.
If you’re one of the many looking to engage and delight your customers, then you’re in luck! We’ve laid out seven easy to follow steps so that you can become a more digital organization and create engaging experiences for your customers.
Your 7 steps to digitize customer engagement
1 – Understand every customer’s context
Today’s customers won’t wait around. Your content needs to be relevant. Your responses need to be instant. And you need to make the right offers at the right time.
A joined-up view of them is therefore crucial. If the data that would give you this view is split across systems, then a flexible platform that consolidates your information could be the answer. It’s a fast, cost-effective way to get the customer-centric capability a modern company needs to thrive.
It’s also important to consider how you make these customer insights available to your people. It’s technology that enables great experiences for customers. But in many cases, it is people who deliver them. You need a digital platform that’s intuitive and accessible. So, colleagues and partners can turn information into action.
2 – Clear the path for innovation
Your people will always be key to the experiences that define the customer relationship. But it’s also right to recognize that technology can do more than aggregate and surface data. It can learn from that data – and even serve customers as well. This is why companies like Facebook, Google and Microsoft are using AI to power chatbots. Companies as diverse as Uber, Burberry and American Express are then using this technology (or their own version) to help customers at any time, in any place and on any device.
This kind of digital innovation can not only help you respond to customers, but it can also give you a richer understanding of how they’re feeling. When your systems are connected and intelligent, you can better analyze your data. By scrutinizing multiple metrics – from your NPS (net promoter score) to your CES (customer effort score) – you gauge customer satisfaction with more accuracy.
3 – Capitalize on critical moments
What are the main points of customer engagement for your business? Quoting? Onboarding? Servicing? Renewal? Poor experiences in these moments can cut short your relationship with a customer. That puts pressure on you to find new customers, which usually costs more than repeat business. People also share their experiences of poor service on social media and elsewhere. So, there’s a risk of harm to your reputation.
Conversely, when you get these moments right, you create the basis for long (and profitable) relationships. An agile platform can help you model the best possible processes to impress customers. Automation can then cement these operations, so they are followed correctly every time.
4 – Don’t leave your legacy. Take it with you.
Your data doesn’t have to be in one place, as long as you can see it in one place. There’s no need to rip and replace IT when you can access the information you need in the way that you want. For example, you might have a legacy ERP system that holds important data but is hard to flex to the needs of your business. You can wrap it in a more agile process management platform that is still able to draw data out of your older system – or write data back to it.
An important principle is to free the value locked inside your legacy systems. To do this, identify the pain points. Then find out how to work around them. After all, overcoming an obstacle is what a breakthrough is.
5 – Start small. Scale quickly.
Trying to change too much, too quickly can backfire. The most effective change often comes from small shifts. People pick up on this instinctively. It’s why 82% of our survey think small digital breakthroughs create momentum.
There’s another argument for this kind of iterative improvement. You get to see what works best before you fully commit. You can then scale quickly once you know something has value.
This approach is also effective for executives who need to show success to get funding. When budgets are tight, small successes are key to continued sponsorship.
6 – Unite the business
A lack of collaboration between departments is a common problem. Our research shows it’s one of the main blockers to making digital progress. But it’s critical to overcome the issue. Real commercial impact comes from different parts of a business working as one.
The answer is to foster inclusion and bring the right people together from across the business. But you need the right mechanisms in place to make this happen. That means digital tools that give people a clear, shared view and enable them to co-experiment with ease and speed.
7 – Lead, but empower too
People seek digital leadership. In fact, 30% of all respondents chose ‘lack of digital leadership’ as their key challenge. But leadership doesn’t mean dictating exactly how to digitize. It means creating the conditions in which people can put digital to work themselves.
Part of this is around education and skills. And part of it is around tools and giving people the freedom and space to experiment, collaborate and co-create. 82% said that they would like to be more self-sufficient with digital, so they can make a bigger impact on behalf of their function and their business. Give people the opportunity and they will take it.
The extra benefit of this kind of leadership? It reveals the people and projects who are already creating processes that make a real difference. You can then support them to add further value.
This article is based on a larger research report. So if you’d like to learn more about how to digitize your customer engagement strategy, why not download our complimentary report: ‘Make your Breakthrough in Customer Engagement.’