Taking a customer-centric approach to digital transformation

It’s predicted that by 2020, customers will manage 85% of their relationship with a business without interacting with a human.1

Let’s just imagine for a second, that your customers didn’t enjoy their digital interaction with your business. Would they tell you? You’d hope so, but typically a business hears from 4% of it’s dissatisfied digital customers. The other 96% don’t voice their complaints. And a staggering 91% of these customers never come back.2
Yet despite the modern customers preference for digital engagement, many businesses have still neglected to address their customers digital experience. So if you’re thinking of embarking on a digital transformation, how can you be assured that it’s going to empower better customer relationships? According to Brent Wilson, the Strategic Director at Spire Digital, you need to start by developing a comprehensive digital strategy. “A digital strategy is essentially the brains and vision behind your transformation efforts, which of course requires a thorough understanding of your customers. You have to ascertain their goals, what they’re trying to achieve and ultimately how digital can help to make their life easier. There’s no doubt that customers love digital because it’s fast, convenient and connected, but they’re just as likely to hate it, if it’s not geared to their exact needs.”

Taking a customer-centric approach to digital transformation is more than just redesigning a website, creating a mobile app or being on social media. It’s considering how your business model might need to change, how your customer experience needs to be improved and rethinking your operational processes to empower better customer relationships. Richard Foster from Yale University estimates that a Fortune 500 company in 1920 had an average lifespan of 67 years, whilst today that lifespan has been reduced to 15 years. Companies like YouTube went from start-up to US$1.4 billion Google acquisition within 18 months. Uber only started operations in March 2009 and is already valued at US$50 billion. Seven-year-old Airbnb has just raised funding that values it at US$20 billion, second only to the Hilton Group of Hotels at US$23-billion and it does not own one single hotel room. The speed with which things now change has led to researchers, at the US’s Babson Olin School of Business, predicting that 40% of today’s Fortune 500 companies will be gone in the next 10 years.3

Businesses such as Spire Digital are being developed to counter the effects of digital disruption and to help businesses adapt to these rapid changes in consumer demand. Julian Churchman, Director at Spire Digital says,

If you have a great offer, then there’s no need to be alarmed, customers are searching for something new and a little different. It’s easy to get daunted by the vastness of digital, but be rest assured, most businesses are just touching the surface. Having said that, it’s imperative to leverage user insights and really embrace your digital opportunities, this will help you to engage with your digital customers more effectively. If a business approaches their transformation with a customer-centric mindset, then they’ll improve not only their business performance, but it will also help them to achieve sustainable business growth.

So is a customer-centric digital transformation the key to gaining a competitive advantage in the digital economy? What we do know is that customers value a good experience. With 70% saying they were willing to spend more with companies that they believe provided excellent customer service4 and 78% of consumers bailing on a transaction because of a poor service experience.5

Putting the customer first is an effective way to grow your business. So if you’re looking to improve both your customer’s satisfaction and your digital engagement levels, you need to consider a customer-centric approach to digital transformation.

1 www.gartner.com/imagesrv/summits/docs/na/customer-360/C360_2011_brochure_FINAL.pdf
2 “Understanding Customers” by Ruby Newell-Legner
3 http://memeburn.com/2015/10/singularity-university-and-the-future-of-exponential-change/
4 American Express Survey, 2011
5 American Express Survey, 2011