Digital transformation is a term frequently tossed around in today’s digital marketplace, and for good reason. It impacts the success of virtually every industry and is a necessary process for companies who want to remain relevant and competitive in a digital world. In a nutshell, digital transformation is the process of fine-tuning your online presence and connecting all your customer touchpoints to create a personalized, predictive, and effortless customer service experience.
It might sound like an overwhelming undertaking and, if you’re like some companies, you may have no idea how or where to get started. We’ve laid out 5 simple steps to follow to help make your organization’s customer service digital transformation a success.
Step 1. Define your Vision
Before you get started on the path to digital transformation, it’s important to pinpoint what it is you want to transform. What areas of customer service are you looking to improve and how do you plan to improve them? How do you want your customers to interact with you?
Your transformation should empower your customers to choose their preferred communication channel (e.g. mobile, desktop, tablet) and provide a seamless experience throughout, no matter which method they prefer. Your goal should be to automate as much as possible to improve and increase digital interactions, allowing your customers to achieve their desired outcome largely on their own.
Why is Digital Transformation Important?
82% of customers stopped doing business with a company in 2016 after a bad experience, compared to 76% in 2014.
- Mary Meeker’s 2017 Internet Trend Report
Step 2. Define your Journeys
Now that you’ve defined your vision, review your data to gain a solid understanding of which customer journeys are ideal for engagement and which journeys you can do without. Try to limit engagement to journeys that will help you maintain or increase your margins.
Think about the entire journey, from pre-purchase research to post-purchase service engagements. How will you attract customers to your channels? How will you engage with them once they’re there? Once they’ve been converted, are you providing the right follow-up services/experiences? By understanding what your customers’ journeys are all about – and providing the self-service tools that enable them to easily complete their transactions – you will keep them happy and loyal.
- Understanding the Journey
- Imagine the following two customers are interacting with your business:
- Customer A is interested in purchasing a toaster / Customer B is looking to purchase an Ultra HD TV.
- A toaster isn’t a large investment, so Customer A will likely be able to decide which one suits their needs without needing to engage with an agent/your company.
- An Ultra HD TV is a substantial investment, so Customer B is likely to spend a lot more time researching their options and is more likely to engage for guidance and to have any questions answered. They would also likely be more interested in follow-up services, such as installation or tech support.
- Companies who are able to define these journeys and design and deliver enjoyable experiences to accompany them will increase customer loyalty, attract new customers, and drive real ROI.
Step 3. Map the Transformation
You’ve defined your vision and your customer journeys - now it’s time to map out your transformation. All steps on your digital transformation journey are connected, so having a clearly defined roadmap won’t just help you build a solid maturity model, it will ensure you’re choosing the best solutions for your customers. Keep your roadmap flexible; think about it from a journey standpoint, not a channel standpoint, and be sure to consider three different perspectives: customer, technology, and business. Your end goal should be complete integration of all channels and providing your customers with access to the right experience, no matter their journey.
The following is a high-level overview of how you can implement an incremental digital transformation journey.
Level 1: Engagement is focused on one-off transactions with customers, and channels are siloed with little to no integration. Customer conversations aren’t maintained across channels, forcing them to repeat themselves.
Level 2: Siloes are starting to be removed as channels are integrated. Customer conversations can now flow uninterrupted between channels without having to start over.
Level 3: You can now begin to anticipate customer needs and continue conversations across all channels.
Level 4: All customer journeys are now transformed and optimized. AI and machine learning are being used to continuously learn customer needs and preferences in order to deliver convenient and satisfying experiences.
- Get a step-by-step breakdown of an incremental digital transformation journey in our eBook. Download it today.
Step 4. Understand the Technologies that Transform Customer Experiences
Before you start implementing new technologies, take another look at your customer journeys (are you starting to see a pattern here?) Build a framework based on these journeys (i.e. what questions should a chatbot answer? When should chatbots transfer customers to a live agent? How can you ensure transitions are seamless and won’t require the customer to start over, etc.)
Once you have your journey framework in place, you’ll be better equipped to add the technologies needed to meet your customer experience transformation goals.
Remember, new technologies often require artificial intelligence and machine learning platforms. Try to leverage the ‘build once, deploy anywhere’ approach, using the same business logic across all your channels instead of developing separately for each. Technologies should ensure journeys are personalized, intuitive and seamless – customers should not have to repeat themselves if/when transferred to a new channel.
Automating Journeys: The Practical Approach
Having trouble determining which journeys to automate? Your data can offer great insight. Start by breaking down tasks based on complexity and how much value they offer your customers and your business. Consider automating aspects of some journeys and transferring to a voice agent once the customer crosses a predetermined threshold. Customer Journey Analytics software can help you quickly and easily analyze journeys, identify leakages and opportunities for improvement and implement the right solutions.
Simple Tasks - Fully Automate
- Reset password
- Pay my bill
- Check my balance
Complex/Conversational Tasks – Mixed Automation
- My credit card was stolen
- Upgrade my phone
- Get technical support
Step 5. Ensure Corporate Alignment
Digital transformation isn’t its own initiative – it must be aligned with your overall business strategy. Before you start anything, get your Board on board. Executive sponsorship will make the process much easier. Link organizational teams and be aware of changing mindsets. Your digital transformation will be new to many people, and some will be slower to adapt than others. Openly communicate your plans to ensure all team members are aware and on board with your digital transformation goals.
Remember that you aren’t reinventing the wheel. Learn from what others have done, and most importantly, make sure your strategy is future-proof. Get more detailed advice on how to transform your customer experiences in our eBook, Transforming the Digital Experience: How to Achieve Rapid and Measurable Success.