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David Cousins

Opinion

04 August 2016

Four things you need to know about serving the digital customer

Rich exchanges of information come to life where technologies and humans meet. Digitalisation has opened up opportunities for exchanges of information in new ways and the companies that best serve their digital customers are using it to enable mutually beneficial relationships and drive profitable growth.

Consumers are not just embracing digitalisation, they are demanding it, and as a result, their behaviours have changed radically.

Market leaders know this and are harnessing communication and collaboration technologies to enable new ways to interact, exchange information and better serve the customer.

Why does digital transformation matter?

IDC has predicted that, by 2018, one third of the top 20 in every industry will be disrupted by digitally transformed competitors*.

This brings the significance of digital transformation into clear focus. While its enablers may lie in systems and process, digital transformation is not a technology play - its impact is very clearly on market share, revenue and profitability.

The stories of how Uber, Amazon and Spotify disrupted markets in retail, travel and music are well publicised. These stories have, however, moved out of the headlines and no longer make the front page. Instead, digital transformation is happening more quietly as adoption becomes mainstream.

A recent ONS report shows that the internet was accessed every day by 78% of adults in Great Britain in 2015 and that 96% of adults aged 16 to 24 accessed the internet from mobile devices**. This tells us that customers have already made the change and that, if they don’t respond, organisations risk becoming detached from their market.

Your digital strategy

If an organisation is to exist in the digital era it needs to have clarity in its digital vision and the strategies to achieve it. These strategies need to encompass at least four significant elements:

  1. Profiling digital customers: for each individual customer, the organisation needs to observe their behaviour, know their preferences and anticipate their requirements.

  2. Mapping customer journeys: don’t map journeys from the constrained perspective of your current capabilities, processes or organisational structure. Instead, map them from the perspective of your customers’ needs.

  3. Delivering consistent experiences: many organisations have made some tactical first steps in digital execution. For many, this risks the creation of process and technology silos which will obstruct the delivery of joined-up, consistent experiences.

  4. Managing value exchange: access to information and communicating this information is the bedrock of positive customer experiences. In the omni-channel world of the digital customer, information is the critical asset and we have to manage it across the channels rather than within silos. Data analytics and engagement management play a key role here.

The digital vision must acknowledge the reality that the customer now sets the rules regarding how they interact with us. A failure to keep up with this fundamental change in dynamics will cause customer defections.

A recent commentary on Forbes.com suggested that only about 12% of companies get digital transformation right with the others experiencing variable degrees of success or failure***.

The key to success in digital transformation is, therefore, engaging with a partner that has the appropriate balance of technology and change management expertise.

In a series of eBooks Capita is to explore these issues with practical advice for executives. Download the latest eBook and sign up for further updates.

* Accelerating Innovation—and Growth—on the 3rd Platform, IDC Predictions 2015

** UK Internet Access Households and Individuals Office for National Statistics, Statistics Bulletin 2015

*** Why 84% Of Companies Fail At Digital Transformation, Bruce Rogers, Forbes & Michael Pulse Point, Forbes 2016

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