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At a Glance
  • Digitalization has made a mark in every business sector and customer needs have shifted to a higher level of digital customer experience.
  • In order to obtain a new and innovative operating model suited for digital users, companies must integrate traditional transformation components with digital elements.
  • There are four important aspects to obtain continuous and sustainably improved digital customer experience starting with digitizing customer purchase journeys through redesigning and continuously improving them based on customer feedback and reviews.
  • Companies must increase their speed and agility in generating real time insights and information to act as input for iterative efforts.
  • Customers need to be encouraged to adopt digital solutions and supported on their digital journey.
  • Lastly, companies must enhance agility in delivering journey transformation through cross-functional teamwork.

Competition has evolved to a new level in every industry on account of digital process and operation. In order to capitalize the emerging opportunities, companies must adopt a new operating model to significantly enhance the digital experience of customers.

Higher standards of customer experience have tangible advantages for organizations aiming to implement customer-oriented strategies. In any industry, customers who are satisfied are likely to spend more money and show stronger loyalty which in turn enables organizations to reduce cost and improve employees’ involvement in the company. With value generation and sustainable competitive edge in view, digital processes and operations has evolved, in every industry, as a key factor in molding customer experience. Many major digital-centric corporations have committed themselves in providing continual experience that is straightforward, instant and personalized. And the trend is not limited to them. Standard business to business companies in various industries like steel are implementing notable action plans to develop an active digital environment in line with customer requirements.

Digitally active customers, along with those who are becoming familiar with the digital way of doing business, will want further digital solutions. Increasing customer expectations of higher-level customer service influences companies in developing and fine-tuning digital solutions. Research have shown that many app users favor the option to try the product rather than merely look and access. Additionally, customers have higher probability of purchasing the product from companies providing specific information. Online customers demand quick assistance, often rely on comparison feature to help them decide to buy and have faith in online reviews like they have in personal opinions about the product.

Current trends suggest that these expectations will increase at a rapid pace, forcing rival organizations to return margins against their capabilities to devise innovative services and to develop methods of delivering services and adapting to the evolving technological environment, marketing models and operational aptitude. These fast-paced changes will produce significant prospects for profit generation, better customer service and lower expense. The survival instinct of companies will be important, but insufficient, solely to gain a competitive edge. The conditions justify the adoption of new processes and the abandonment of a standard approach at a fundamental level. Optimizing current operating methods enables businesses to integrate digital and operating capabilities in order to develop customer-oriented strategies capable of maintaining high standards of accuracy, productivity, dexterity and speed.

Operating Model for the Future

############Standard operating approaches have a fault of mainly concentrating on internal operation optimization rather than focusing on customer’s requirements and demand as the essence of their orientation. The distinct silos approach to the structure of most companies is another obstacle to achieving a working cross-functional cooperative effort. Many organizations prefer to invest in major projects with lengthy development method and a conclusion statement instead of continual experimenting and testing to adjust their process in accordance to market trends. There is a clear gap in the management’s intent and commitment to adopting digital solutions. #############

Companies must implement a cohesive functional model centered around customer’s experience of buying consumer product/service. The model needs to focus on factors that can drastically improve digital customer experience. There is a wide margin for organizations to modify their design operations as well as customer service to develop flexible, cross-functional customer-oriented approach throughout the corporation.

Digital Elements in Changing Customer Experience

There are four key factors that can substantially improve customers’ digital experience:

  • Digitizing and enhancing customer purchase journeys,
  • Improving suppleness and pace in creating perception,
  • Facilitating customers in embracing digital solutions, and
  • Enhancing dexterity in delivering process alterations.

##########There are challenges for organizations to implement these factors in their operations. Successful attempts to modify digital processes can be complicated and difficult. It warrants an integration of standard transformation factors like cross-functional collaborative efforts and management aggressive commitment and direction along with digital aspects. As a result, it can be optimistically predicted that profitability will increase, and overall cost will decrease. #############

Customer-Oriented Customer Journey Process

An essential factor in delivery a high-level digital customer experience is to essentially enhance and modify the design of customer journeys. An effective way is to employ design-thinking concepts and brainstorming sessions. Additionally, a versatile digital delivery framework for all teams should also be developed.

The primary objective of such an approach is to thoroughly re-examine the customer journey process rather than making superficial adjustments for productivity gaps. The requirements and demands of customers should be the driving force, hence newly developed designs and processes should be quickly tested and immediately adjusted from customer feedback. When conducting design development sessions, it would be convenient to condense customer journeys into a simulation model so that companies can gain tangible insight into real customer experience and use the information to test new designs with customers. It is also essential to incorporate flexibility so that new processes can be combined with current models of customer journeys – digital and non-digital. The existing processes that can become irrelevant due to new ones should be kept in service till the new process is completely functional.

Another way to tackle this is to adopt a zero-based journey design, which means that the customer journey procedure is developed from the start, without any pre-conceptions as to how the journey processes should look in the final stages – instead of just fine-tuning the current process.

For example, a major energy corporation designed a process to automate the communication between the customer and the company. The new approach had lesser steps to be completed by customers and increased processing time. It enabled customers to transfer accounts at any point in time – either during or after relocation through electronic devices. These modifications reduced operational cost and increased relocating customer retention rate. Employing a design-thinking approach, companies also gain insight into the expected customer experience of their redesigned future services for a wide range of customer journeys.

Raised Dexterity and Speed in Gaining Insight

Digitalization and quickly shifting trends in the consumer market and customer preference ensure equally rapid, smooth and tangible insights into the divisions and departments involved in the efficient decision-making process – particular the design and management of the customer journey.

Standard methods of market research and information gathering are often incompatible with such requirements. The process to deliver usable data is lengthy and does not provide sufficient flexibility for frequent adjustment and improvement on the basis of feedback from the customer. In order for a company to build around customer experience, its leaders must devise action plans to improve dexterity in acquiring relevant insights – implement flexible and interactive research methodologies such as online focus groups or flash surveys. The information gathered should be readily integrated into customer-experience design model.

Additionally, companies can undertake detailed assessment of customer-experience in key operation areas – website features, performance across devices and call centers. They can compare their gathered information with their rivals. Coupling this method with zero-based approach and evaluating the customer journey can provide deep insights about strengths and shortcomings of digital customer-experience design.

In the design phase, these flexible insights can be used quickly in the acquisition of customer feedback on new concepts and journey processes on a larger scale. Focus groups can be selected with a specific type of customer in mind or live video chats can be used to get feedback while customers try a newly developed digital process and their response can be quickly used to improve the process.

Facilitating Customers Adoption of Digital Solutions

In the past years, companies have become more conscious of ways to develop and sustain efficient digital solutions. In many cases, however, the efforts are not reflected in the results as companies neglect to inspire their customers to adopt these channels. Customers are uninclined towards these digital channels due to many reasons. For example, they may prefer personal interaction, as it appears to be more convenient in certain situations. They may prefer the speed of product delivery, which is instant. Or they may be discouraged by issues like impersonalized experience. Due to these factors, customer shy away from using self-service digital options which in turn reduces productivity and financial gains. It is, therefore, essential for companies to devise ways to encourage and facilitate customers in using digital journey options.

The pathway to stimulating customer acceptance of digital channels is not straightforward. The effort must comprise of wide array of strategies and approaches influenced by customer testing and feedback. The main objective is to make the process relevant, engaging and appealing to the customer.

Provide Relevant Information to Customers

Customers will never have to consider using a digital journey option if they don’t know about it. Companies must employ successful marketing approaches to attract customers. They include but not limited to content optimization (or SEO), website optimization, social media, display advertising, etc. Companies must not become so overly enthusiastic about their digital solutions that they neglect the traditional approaches. The most effective way is to achieve a balanced framework of digital and standard techniques to attract customers. For example, a food delivery company used content optimization, virtual awareness programs and offline outdoor advertising to attract optimal customers to succeed. Some companies have efficiently encouraged digital adoption through tutorial videos at actual touchpoints while others have promoted usage via user groups, testing sessions and encouraging feedbacks.

Ensure Digital Journey to be Relevant

Digital channels with limited usage can be promoted by combining relevant and useful content to generate an enjoyable experience – for instance combine multiple functions in a single app. Normally, users prefer to limit their usage to a few apps and as such these must be able to provide maximum content. For example, an insurance company bundled features for health claims, accident insurance, etc. in single app rather than spanning them out across many, as users are unlikely to use them all. Incorporating frequently used features to single platform enables companies to improve usage and gain behavioral data for improvement and innovation. Usage trends can help companies encourage adoption and ensure sustainable success. Companies have used simple techniques such as designing a new home page or assigning different colors to website features to increase traffic and subscriptions.

Provide Adequate Guidance to the Customer

Digital adoption can be influenced greatly through incentives. Awarding of bonus points, cash back or other financial compensation is an effective method. For example, a newspaper offers better rates when subscription is done digitally. It is essential for companies to realize that customer digital usage cannot be promoted by depending on the superiority of a single channel. They must use multiple options to provide individual digital solutions. Internal coordination and cooperation within the company’s leadership is also key. Friction resulting among executives on overall prospects, operational strategies and protocol and expected goals can be detrimental.

Enhancing Dexterity in Delivery of Journey Modification

A prominent obstacle faced by organizations focusing on customer-journey processes is resolution of technical and IT based problems.

In the standard delivery framework, project development and testing are a length process and once the product is complete, marketing efforts and an announcement is made. Digital oriented companies depend largely on customer-journey development based on flexible approaches with cross-functional collaboration and performance centric teams that strive for a shared, customer-oriented ideals. They depend on real-time data, fast decision-making skills, frequent and rapid modification towards a product with margins for continuous improvement. Important benefits obtained through this approach include:

  • Different business units and divisions are represented in the cross-functional team whose combined effort leads to a common customer experience goal effectively.
  • Complexity, an essential component of most projects, can be reduced through most feasible design and the delivery time is reduced significantly. There is a large scope for continual modifications.
  • Higher levels of coordination and cooperation and frequent interactions within teams help them to recognize and solve potential issues at an early stage and to optimize designs.
  • Delivery time and risk associated with failure are simultaneously reduced.

The business environment is changing due to digitally inclined users and increasing customer needs and the need for digital solutions is emerging as a challenge for companies in all industries. In order to deal with changing trends, companies must develop and employ innovative operating models and strategies that focuses on customer’s requirements and preferences. They must provide a restructured customer journey, a flexible generation of insights and a flexible product to improve over time.