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How CX is Central to Digital Transformation

All businesses are focusing on digital transformation as they endeavor to become more agile and fast-moving, embracing digital channels to compete against new entrants in changing markets. In fact, a global study by Vodafone recently found that 69% of firms believe they will fail if they don't move to a digital model.

With more and more people engaging with brands through digital channels, improving the customer experience (CX) is a key part of digital transformation - especially as customer expectations rise in this area. There are a number of aspects to this connection:

  • Customers want to interact digitally across more and more channels – from an increasing number of social channels, to chat, messaging apps and voice assistants

  • They expect faster, more comprehensive service than ever before with Eptica research revealing for example that 44% of people wanting an answer on Facebook in 30 minutes, and 62% on email within 2 hours

  • With competition is only a click away, loyalty has dropped, meaning service and experience are central to retaining customers

  • The smartphone is a key device in all this, providing an always-on method for consumers to interact with brands. It continues to grow in importance  – with total smartphone traffic expected to increase by 10 times by 2022

However, many big change projects fail to deliver the benefits that they promise. Half of the 400 U.S.-based senior executives polled by Wipro Digital believe that their company isn’t successfully executing on its strategy. One in five say their company’s digital transformation is a waste of time. This is backed up by other research that tells us that 70% of these digital initiatives will not reach their stated goals. This equates to over $900 billion of investment that will fail to deliver.

Against this backdrop, how can you ensure that digital transformation of CX actually delivers?

1. Focus on customer needs
Don’t be fooled by the ‘digital’ part of transformation and automatically think that new IT will deliver results. Instead, start with your customers: What do they want? What channels do they use? How do they want to communicate with you?

You need to develop an intimate understanding of customer needs, for example by analyzing their interactions, and use this customer insight to drive real change. Also, bear in mind that customers will judge you against the best performers when it comes to customer experience, no matter what sector you are in.

While technology is not going to deliver transformative change on its own, you do need to make sure your technology platform is comprehensive, future proofed and able to deliver now and going forward. Look at platforms that are built on techniques such as AI, and have a proven record of delivering innovation. AI is vital to enable effective chatbots, intelligent self-service, and customer insight as well as helping agents gain a better understanding of what customers are asking for in digital conversations.

2. Break down silos
While your company may have different via departments and lines of business, customers see you as one organization, and expect a seamless service no matter which part of the business they contact, or whichever channel they use.

Therefore, you need to break down the barriers between departments and channels. One important way that organizations are doing this is by creating customer hubs. These bring together people and skills from across the business into a cross-functional team, focused on the customer and supported by technology. Hubs can include staff from sales, marketing, customer service, analytics, change management and collaboration – all within the same team, rather than being scattered across the organization. By bringing these departments together the customer hub can eliminate bottlenecks in the customer journey and help ensure that customers receive real-time responses, improving the experience, changing processes and ultimately boosting revenues.

3. Lead from the top, but involve everyone
Customer experience requires strong leadership. After all, successful customer experience requires organizational transformation and cultural change. Without senior involvement, initiatives can stall or fail to deliver.

It is important that the CEO demonstrates that they are taking CX seriously. They should be pushing through programs, celebrating successes, and showing continually that they see it as a key priority. That means discussing it when interviewed – and being the external figurehead if there are problems. To ensure that leaders pay attention to CX an increasing number of organizations are including customer experience goals within their aims and objectives and even linking senior executive and CEO bonuses to customer satisfaction metrics.

Everyone has to understand how CX it impacts them in their jobs and if they can see the CEO is embracing it, then they will be much more inclined to do the same.

4. Think about your staff
Digital transformation also needs to focus on the needs of staff, especially those in the frontline – by making their jobs easier through more intuitive technology.

Think about the skills they require and help them learn them. For example with AI and automation able to handle many of the routine customer service requirements, staff should be able to focus on human skills, such as showing empathy and emotional understanding along with the ability to solve the increasingly complex problems that customers face.

And of course, you need to focus on developing a culture which means that everyone in the company sees customer service and customer experience as part of their role.

Many digital transformation projects do not deliver on expectations, including those linked to the customer experience. Given how vital they are to future success it is therefore crucial to follow the four principles above to ensure that your transformation journey meets your goals.

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