In today’s rapidly evolving landscape and always-connected world, companies that really want to stay ahead of the game need a winning digital customer experience strategy. Philip Grant, formerly a Director at Arthur D. Little and author of the business book ‘In Demand, In Command’, explains how this can be done.
Organisations could be much smarter at understanding their individual customers and deliver greater excellence at delighting them, whilst operating at lower costs to the business. Despite the proliferation of online digital media and transactional self-services now available to the general public, customer-facing businesses simply do not achieve optimal business potential.
The importance of this situation is reflected in international market research, including:
- 5% improvement in customer retention can increase profits by up to 85%, and up to 90% of revenue can be attained from the top 10% of a customer base
- Winning new customers can be up to 25 times more expensive than retaining existing customers
- Up to 80% of customer contact in some industry sectors came from broken processes or systems. Preventable contact resulting in significant repeat, waste or failure effort
- Businesses are not always tracking their digital conversations correctly. Data analytics may well exist without setting the right business goals to measure success
With macro market factors dynamically evolving (rising customer expectations, investors, competition, regulation/deregulation, globalisation, technology etc) – how truly unique, future-relevant and sustainable is your business? Furthermore, what is the impact on your competitive advantage if you cannot optimise your digital capabilities and truly differentiate yourselves from the crowd? Ultimately, at incalculable cost to your business in terms of public reputation, customer retention, disaffection and defection.
Tackling this ever-changing digital world is essential to any business that considers the growth, retention, and sustainable advocacy of customers at lower cost-to-serve as paramount. Increasingly there is a need to continuously stand out from the crowd and not be easily imitated by others. Persistent improvement and changes are inevitable.
Eight customer strategies
To strategically help address this situation, service provider organisations of all scales and sizes should be adopting the following customer strategies for sustainable success:
- CRM is more than a technology – it’s a business strategy that places the customer at the heart of the company and adds value to the full customer engagement lifecycle
- Digital transformation doesn’t just work in a marketing or IT bubble – it impacts the whole organisation and is a change of mindset and habits
- Merely satisfying customers is a hygiene factor and not a motivator for allegiance. Customers must be made to feel welcomed, wanted, understood and valued
- Customer retention and loyalty can be fickle – changeable, choosy and demanding. Ask less of “how did we do?” and more of “how can we do better?”
- ‘Done in One’ – simplify your customer journeys at every single touchpoint. Customers should find it effortless to do business with you
- The power of web analytics is all about making better-informed decisions – insightful, coherent, relevant, actionable information, not a data-gathering exercise
- Empower your people – digital enablement requires vision, innovation, creativity, leadership, communication, motivation and commitment to making things happen
- Convert Resources – Address your pain points/wasted/failure effort, and cross-skill from preventable contact to targeted sales opportunities. Pro-action, not reaction.
By developing a cohesive, intelligence-led digital customer strategy and service fulfilment capability, it unlocks the capabilities for businesses to achieve:
- Improved customer value through differentiated customer insight, online sales conversions, exceptional experiences, and personalised services
- Effective analysis, interpretation and action of key information at your disposal – turning data into intelligence to take smarter business decisions
- Responsiveness to ever-changing market, customer, technical and business imperatives in a timely, coherent, seamless and agile manner
- Optimised efficiencies through organisational realignment, shared infrastructures, data integration, process simplification and preventable contact
- Stimulation of a positive brand reputation and market competitiveness.