We are spoiled.
Perhaps we can blame it on Apple or Amazon. Personally, I know I’m used to placing an order for a product or a movie and within minutes, it’s downloaded to my tablet or two days later, it arrives at my door step.
If Amazon can do it, then why can’t Pepco or for that matter, all of my service providers? Why can’t they talk to one another, so when I apply for a home equity loan, I don’t have to start uploading pay stubs and W2’s? After all, my data is accessible and in the cloud.
Today’s consumers want a seamless user experience. We want around the clock availability, real time fulfillment, personalized treatment and no mistakes. We deserve it, don’t we? After all, we’re willing to pay top dollar.
These expectations however, require a radical transformation of business processes, from both strategic, as well as operational mindsets. It requires an integrated approach where each customer’s digital journey is both understood and nurtured throughout the entire life cycle, from creating brand awareness through purchase and service and then through renewal and recommendation. Some companies are excelling at this, but as it turns out, many are failing.
Companies know they must digitize their business enterprises, which require simplifying and automating processes, as well as decision making. Customers want quick easy access to information on any platform they desire. When they want an answer to a question, they don’t want to reach an automated recording. When they’ve already purchased from a company, they don’t want to have to put in their credit card information again. Successful businesses recognize this and are building their digital processes accordingly.
Julie Sweet, CEO of Accenture North America, recently sat down with Yahoo Finance to discuss the role digital investments play in corporate America. “We’re really seeing strong demand in what we call ‘the new’—it’s in digital, in cloud, and security. And it’s very much tied to the opportunity of the digital revolution—the opportunity to grow as well as the risks of disruption to industry.” With about 40% of Accenture’s revenue coming from digital, cloud and security spending, Accenture has a core skill set in this arena. Retail, consumer goods and financial services are all industries focused on top line digital growth and key market sectors for Accenture.
What many are recognizing is that the ability to digitally reimagine the business is determined in large part by a clear digital strategy supported by leaders who foster a culture able to change and invent this new strategy. It requires the evolution of a new business culture and new skill sets for the employee base. Getting a workforce to embrace this new digital business model is no easy task and requires continuous learning and agility.
“Companies need a workforce that’s going to be able to embrace the new business model. That really means transforming a culture.” continued Julie.
But, unfortunately, to date, brands are having a hard time keeping up and customers are suffering the consequences.
Last year, Accenture commissioned a study from Forrester called Digital Transformation in the Age of the Customer to benchmark digital transformation amongst Enterprises. This year, they conducted a follow up study called Expectations vs. Experience: The Good, the Bad, the Opportunity to assess the growth (or lack thereof) amongst Enterprises today. They wanted to test the following hypotheses:
- Enterprises are talking the talk, but not walking the walk with respect to improving customer experience.
- Firms claim to be “customer led”, but don’t engage their customers to learn about their customer journey.
- Companies are more focused on easy to measure, yet low value metrics to evaluate customer experience success.
Forrester conducted 702 online surveys and 11 in-depth interviews with customer experience decision-makers amongst worldwide large Enterprises, and found:
“Only 7% of brands were exceeding customer expectations. Even worse, 25% didn’t meet customer expectations, but most thought CX was “good enough”.
In addition, they found that brands are feeling pessimistic about their ability to deliver on their customer experience agenda compared to 2015.
Even more interesting are the huge gaps that seem to exist between the activities that brands feel have value vs. what they are actually doing. For example, brands know that improving or developing their digital channels, analytic capabilities or creating valuable content will improve the experience of the customer, but yet the majority aren’t executing on these efforts.
But, here’s the good news.
Almost everyone understands that “digital transformation is the key to driving customer experience, and that customer experience is the key to competing in the age of the customer.” There are also big payoffs for customer experience investments. A 1% increase in customer experience can translate to $10M to $100M+ annually.
“Voice of the customer is extremely important. Listen to what customers have to say, hear what their pain points are, [and] then remove those pain points by leveraging technology and digital, which are key enablers to do so. Key digital solutions are helping us remove issues customers are having.” — Head of digital transformation at a global insurance company
The study also provided significant insight into companies that succeeded in Digital Transformation.
The brands that had success all used digital strategy, customer insights, data and technology to build brand relevance and customer loyalty, which improved their ROI and revenues.
In addition, all those that succeeded, displayed 4 distinct similar behaviors that helped make them successful.
Leading Successful Brands Share in the Following Behavioral Traits
- Leaders Align Senior Sponsorship – Having C-level buy-in is absolutely foundational to driving transformation. 100% of all of the companies achieving success agreed that having senior leaders onboard is critical to success.
- Leaders Adopt to a Dynamic Rate of Constant Flux – The company embraces digital at rates double digits higher than their peers. They recognize that constantly evolving customers require constant CX evolution, not a one-off improvement effort.
- Leaders are more data-driven around customer experience (+44 percent) and see data and analytics as critical to driving CX improvement (+25 percent).
- Leaders Identify and secure trusted partnerships – 81 percent agree all partners identified and secured (+30 percent over peers).
5 Ways Nestle Uses Digital Transformation to Become a Digital Powerhouse
Nestle has become a world leader in digital transformation. Despite having been around for 100 years, it has embraced the digital age and become a trendsetter in digital and social media marketing and it’s developing technologies to grow its digital footprint. Here are 5 strategies Nestle is utilizing to help them succeed:
- Uses Social Studio and Service Cloud to foster community and have two way conversations with their customers.
- Maps and implements digital journeys based on real time behaviors. They understand who their customers are and act accordingly.
- Holistically manages the consumer experience. Using technology allows them to amplify the messaging with a personalized consumer experience.
- Harnesses data to allow them to clarify what the objectives are and what success looks like.
- Speed and the urgency to move is their new reality
There are plenty of companies excelling in Digital Transformation, but as the Accenture Study indicates, there is much work to be done. As for recommendations, Accenture recommends following the footsteps of the top performers:
- Rally senior support
- Build speed and agility into your digital planning
- Invest in the people, processes, and predictive analytics and data science technology needed to transform data into customer-centric insight
- Pick a small set of trusted partners (not transactional vendors) to work with
- Break down silos and work across functional teams – both inside and outside your organization
- Engage customers to help reinvent their experience
- Examine and understand metric behaviors to create a true scale that can measure overall CS success
For more detailed information and insight on why brands are failing and how you can succeed in Digital Transformation, download Expectations vs. Experience, The Good, the Bad, the Opportunity Study.