Digital Transformation: The re-alignment of technology and business models to more effectively engage digital consumers

„There is an Uber in every business“

Interview mit Brian Solis: "There is an Uber in every business"
»Too many businesses today take a technology-first approach to Customer Experience. This is not really customer centric.«

Why is it so difficult to create Customer Experience (CX) for many people and decisionmakers?
Customer Experience (CX) is a difficult process, because so many stakeholders interpret CX differently and then prioritize investments and resources accordingly. The IT-Department thinks it’s about technology. The Marketing-Department thinks it’s about omnichannel. The department customer service focuses on contact touchpoints. The Advertising-Department activates experiential events and campaigns. And the executives ask for customer data and make decisions based on narrow inputs and more so cognitive biases. I could go on and on. This is the reason why Customer Experience is a mess today. Everyone is perpetuating the problem by attacking CX from their silo and the losers are the customers. Yet, customers don’t see departments, they see one brand. Just »because this is how it’s always been done« is a recipe for digital darwinism today. Customer Experience is an opportunity not to just improve and integrate customer experiences, but also re-engineer business models and processes to compete in an era where customers are taking control of their experiences.

Who should own the experience? And what skills will be important in the future?
The best companies in Customer Experience take a different perspective regarding this question. They start with acknowledging that the person, who owns the customer experience, is the customer. Think about that for a second. They absolutely own their experience. Yet, here we are debating, who should own it and do everything, but understand their behaviors, expectations, preferences et al. I define Customer Experience this way: it’s the sum of all engagements a customer has with your brand in every touchpoint, in each moment of truth, throughout the customer lifecycle. The question to ask is then, what is the experience they have? What they expect additionally? What experiences they’re receiving from other companies? More so, how are their favorite apps – for example Uber or Tinder – changing their expectations and how should you rethink the customer journey to be native, frictionless, and delightful based on outside innovation? As such, the question who owns Customer Experience, is something that should be answered in a future state and work toward that goal now.

Companies excelling here are looking at ideal customer experiences and building inside and outside for them. New cross-functional groups lead collaboration to remove friction, optimize effective touchpoints and invest innovation based on new areas of opportunity. An empathetic customer-centric approach to CX improves retention, acquisition and relationships. Great Customer Experience is all the work, that you do so your customers don’t have to…

To what extent technology should play a role in Customer Experience?

Too many businesses today take a technology-first approach to Customer Experience, which is ironically not customer centric. I call this the remote control. No one likes the remote control. We use it, because we have to. I would go so far to say that we have a reluctant relationship with it. Yet, every year, even though we get a new generation of TV innovation, we still get a remote control that looks a little different, but also gets more complex along the way. Did you know that there are on average 70 buttons on this brick and at the same time, we all have phones or tablets where we interact with them using completely different gestures? Technology is not the answer, it’s an enabler. CX should start with the three »Ps« – people, purpose and promise. Technology should facilitate experiences and bring them to life.

What is the importance of CX as part of the digital transformation?

Digital transformation means something different to everyone. Just like Customer Experience. It is something, that is started independently in each group with different objectives. But like CX, everything is on a collision course towards convergence. Everything has to work together, otherwise you compete against yourself. I define digital transformation this way: The re-alignment of, or new investment in, technology and business models to more effectively engage digital consumers, create new value and deliver delightful and relevant experiences at every touchpoint in the customer journey. In my research, I’ve found that a common catalyst for rapid and ultimately holistic digital transformation is in fact Customer Experience. More so, by zooming in on the Digital Customer Experience (DCX) and asking what would my digital customer do and how is it affecting traditional behavior, companies can beeline towards fast innovation.

Customer Experience: Everything has to work together

This is the part where skeptics or laggards say: „Why would you focus on the digital customer? They’re a minority in the overall market. We should focus on customers as a whole!“ They’re right in some aspects. The thing is that ­they didn’t. They continued to invest in technologies and systems that distanced companies from people all in the name of efficiencies, scale and profitability. These actions weren’t customer-centric, they were shareholder- and stakeholder-centric. It’s the same argument with taxis in the face of Uber. They’ve had ­years to study how people were changing, how digital was affecting experiences and decision-making, how start-ups were placing customers at the center of services. Once Uber hit the market, it set a new standard for customer experience. People who take Uber don’t go back to taking taxis. There’s an Uber of everything on the horizon of every business and digital transformation is the best defense and offense to compete in a digital economy.


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