Digital transformation is essential to the future of your business for a number of reasons, foremost among them: it’s central to improving your customer experience. Ultimately, you’re in the business of keeping your customers happy, so your IT infrastructure and digital technologies need to be delivering on that goal.
Digital transformation benefits work and play
Digital transformation is the use of digital technologies to improve processes, including big changes like migrating to cloud or colocation, as well as smaller more incremental upgrades. It applies as much in your home as it does in your work – just think of how smart tech has enabled you to expand your musical horizons, streaming everything from Nirvana to Marvin Gaye to the Frozen soundtrack simply using your voice. If you’re old enough to remember holding your finger over the record button of your radio/cassette player while listening to the Top 40 on a Sunday afternoon – just so you could listen to your favourite tracks, rewind, and then listen again – then you’ll understand how important digital transformation is to improve customer experience.
But are there more improvements still out there? Is there more you could be doing to capitalise on the benefits of digital transformation? Absolutely.
Improving customer experience
The key to thinking about digital transformation is to – as always – consider it from the customer’s perspective. What is most important to them? And how can digital technologies help you achieve that?
Let’s start with a big one. Time. Nobody has quite enough of it, and they certainly don’t want to waste it waiting for your page to load. All the way back in 2016 Amazon identified that 100 milliseconds of extra loading cost them 1% in sales, so if you’re not cutting down your latency then you’re over 5 years behind on digital transformation and customer experience.
Think about your own behaviour. How often do you patiently wait for a page to load, and how often do you think ‘oh this isn’t working/isn’t worth it’ and click away?
Faster, more reliable IT will help prevent this problem, and is a good example of how upgrading your IT has a knock-on effect for your customers. The same thinking should also be applied to broken links and poorly thought-out websites that require too many clicks to get to the point. If you’re not reducing latency, you can bet your competitors are – and those lost sales will go to them.
Improving customer experience isn't just a job for people directly involved in customer service, they need support from the back-end teams who provide them the tools for doing their work. Modern sales and marketing revolves around proactive and personalised outreach, which is only possible thanks to digital transformation allowing for the gathering and analysing of data. There will forever be improvements to be made on the data gathering and analytical technologies used to deliver a personalised experience that's meaningful to your customers, and your IT needs to be able to cope with an ever-increasing amount of data to be stored and processed.
Jersey Mike’s, the US sandwich chain, doubled online sales through its app by using advanced data analysis tools to create targeted push notifications, tailored to individual users. Using digital technologies, the company aims to deliver ‘personalized content to the right person via the right device at the right time’ to increase the ‘lifetime value’ of their customers.
Lifelong customers, long-term value
In a global marketplace, with a mind-bending amount of competition, it takes a lot of effort to win a customer. It makes sense, then, to keep that customer for as long as you can. The longer you keep them, the better you serve them; the more you understand their needs, the more you can deliver on them.
In the past, customer relationships were maintained largely by travelling sales reps during fancy steak dinners, plus regular seats in the corporate box at some kind of sport – football, horse racing, Formula One, etc. Several things have changed since those days. A global pandemic, greater regulation around corporate gifting, and the rise of vegetarianism.
In all seriousness, while there is still – of course – a place for face-to-face meetings and traditional relationship building, even before COVID we were all relying heavily on our CRMs to keep track of our customer relationships. As above, people expect that level of personal service, and they don’t have as much time to give to steak dinners and photo ops. Ensuring that your CRM is not just up-to-date but really works for you – i.e. by integrating with all your other relevant applications – will be on a lot of people’s digital transformation wish-lists for this year.
End goal: make people’s lives easier
So, what can digital transformation do for your customers?
- The right digital tools make customers’ lives easier.
- Providing the right information to the right people helps them make better purchasing decisions.
- This, in turn, makes it more likely that they will become repeat customers.
- Capturing the right data and using it in the right way will help you create the products and services your customers are seeking out.
- And digital technologies, supported by expert teams, will make all of these processes quicker and more efficient.
Digital transformation may be the trendy phrase of the moment, but it’s not a gimmick. It’s essential to improving customer experience and securing the future of your business.
If you want to back up your digital transformation with reliable and efficient infrastructure, take a look at how infrastructure management services could help you. Or get in touch to talk to one of our digital transformation experts.