Digital transformation has heralded a new era in business and has radically changed the way organizations operate and deliver value to customers. Technological advancements over the last ten years have fundamentally changed the way brands and consumers interact with each other. In fact, according to a Gartner survey, as many as 89% of companies compete against each other based on customer experience alone.
However, the more interesting part about this change is that it is not the result of the direct marketing efforts of businesses. Rather, it is the consumers that are driving this change. And, as organizations grow more and more aware of this fact, they are leaving no stone unturned in coming up with creative ways to improve customer experience using technology.
What are some of these ways, and how can business leaders leverage them to hold their own in today’s ever-evolving marketplace? As competitors increasingly litter the competitive landscape, it is first essential to understand what digital transformation is and its impact on the technology-conscious customer of today.
What Is Digital Transformation?
Put simply; digital transformation is the reconceptualization of business in the digital age. It transforms conventional roles like marketing, customer service, and sales to provide consumers with a consistent experience always.
The process of digital transformation begins and ends on one note only. That is how you engage and interact with customers. This is to such an extent that when questioned about what led to businesses to put a digital transformation strategy into effect, 50% of all organizations highlighted customer experience and satisfaction as the primary influence.
Given the fact that businesses who manage to transform technologically see a greater number of highly engaged customers, this is not surprising at all. Such customers are also reported to purchase 90% more frequently, pay 60% more per transaction, and have 300% the yearly value in comparison to the typical customer.
It does not end there. According to a recent study by MIT, organizations that enact a digital transformation strategy are 26% more successful than those who don’t.
All of this just goes to show how crucial it is to deliver on consistent customer experience. And, to do so effectively, it is first important to understand the technology conscious customer of today.
The New & Technologically Conscious Customer
It is no secret that digitalization has changed consumer habits and has transformed the way businesses and consumers interact. From handheld devices to apps, automation, AI, machine learning, and more, everyone lives technology today, and this fact has veritably shaped customer expectations.
It is this shift in customer expectations that has resulted in a new, digitally conscious customer that is always connected, app-native, and technologically aware. This modern buyer knows what it wants and usually judges a business on how good of a digital customer experience it provides its users.
This is where digital-first as a medium to help the user realize the benefits of modern technology requires you to reimagine how you should interact with them. The ways to do it are varied and usually happen when traditional business roles like sales, marketing, and customer service are transcended digitally.
In fact, this is where digital-first truly takes root as a novel experience for users. You can use it to reach out to them, build relationships with them, and educate them at the very outset. From social media to forums to review sites, there are a variety of ways that you can be enterprising in a digital-first manner to allure the modern-day buyer.
Technological Innovations and Customer Service: What’s the Connection
“A brand is defined by the customer’s experience. The experience is delivered by the employees.” – Shep Hyken
Customer service agents are the ones who define customer service. In today’s disruptive technological era, customer experience is the one factor that increasingly acts as a differentiator for brands. And as customer expectations soar, businesses need to need to be proactive in their quest to understand customer needs and come up with ways to personalize their journey for them.
This need for personalization is so great that 84% of customers feel being seen as a person, and not a number, is what’s important to winning their business. Tailored engagement based on past interactions can help you win the hearts and wallets of customers and also show that you have the customers’ best interests in mind.
This is where technological innovations like voice-enabled tech, chatbots, and AI can redefine customer service and experience and take them to new heights. It has been predicted that come 2020, 85% of customer interactions with businesses will take place through digital companions.
These digital companions like chatbots can revolutionize customer support by automating answers to routine questions. IBM has estimated that chatbots can freely respond to 80% of frequently asked customer support questions. The time saved here can be effectively utilized by service agents to provide a personalized experience to customers.
The AI-enabled chatbot can also be used to uncover a wealth of information related to the leading cause of customer dissatisfaction. This data can then be used to provide the apt product suggestion or answer to customer questions.
All of this eventually leads to one thing; enhanced and highly personalized customer experience as a direct result of machine learning.
Improved User Experience Through Technology and Automation
Today, as businesses grow more proactive in the pursuit of providing a much more improved user experience, it is the promise and increased adoption of artificial intelligence that can help them do so. In fact, a poll found out that 61 percent of marketers claimed AI to be the most crucial aspect of their overall marketing strategy.
This is to be expected, however. Increasing customer expectations will lead us to a point where providing highly intuitive UX will be the norm. The ways to do this are many. And it all begins with guidance.
Artificial intelligence can be used by businesses to provide expert guidance to their customers who might not know much about a service/product. In a report by Episerver, it was found that even when customers visited with the intent to make a purchase, 32% of them didn’t do so. Why? This is because 98% of prospects were, or continue to be discouraged by incomplete information.
This is where the adoption of AI can help prospects during the research phase by equipping them with expert guidance can work wonders. For example, consider a scenario that involves the expensive purchase of an expensive piece of jewellery having a diamond. This is where an AI-powered algorithm, much like the one ROSI has, can leverage veteran buying expertise and integrate AI processes to create a ‘digital’ diamond expert.
That is not the extent of it, though. Employing AI to improve communication in different areas like site search can massively enhance user experience too. With semantic research powered by AI, businesses can gain a deeper understanding of user intent and help them improve the level of the user experience that they provide.
This kind of ability gives businesses employing AI the edge over their competitors who don’t.
The Internet of Things
While the operational specifics of the technologies used to provide an enhanced customer experience in this digital age vary, their harmonious use is the driving factor behind it. By combining the efficient use of big data, AI, and the Internet of Things (IoT), businesses have been able to transform CX to unprecedented levels. If you have used Amazon Alexa/Echo, Apples Siri, or Google Personal Assistant, you have already experienced this.
However, the real clincher here is IoT. It is aiding organizations in improving their bottom line by providing real-time information to its customers. This 360-degree, ever-evolving view of the product processes and how customers are interacting with it helps businesses do everything from sending automated notifications and alerts to ensuring critical systems are optimally operating.
The extensive data-gathering ability of these connected devices contributes to the efficient use of big data. This data, when correctly leveraged by AI, can make your data work for you by helping you understand the reasons behind individual customer decisions and quickly adjust services to personalize customer experiences at scale.
In today’s digital age, where the modern buyer is more digitally conscious than ever, businesses can’t do without a digital transformation strategy to surpass customer expectations. And if you are among the ones that haven’t done so already, it is high time you did so.
Technological transformation across different layers affords organizations the opportunity to correctly anticipate the needs of modern buyers and provide them with seamless, digital-first customer experience. According to a report by Gartner, the enterprise and automotive Internet of Things (IoT) market will grow to 5.8 billion endpoints in 2020, a 21% increase from 2019. These connected endpoints will create opportunities for businesses to take customer experience to whole new levels courtesy of technological advancements in the field of AI, IoT, and big data.
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