Understanding the Changing Customer Dynamics in Digital Transformation

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In this new era of IT, a Content Management Software (CMS) is not enough to manage the dynamics of customer interactions.  Back in the day, customer service means dispatching customer supports through emails, phone calls, websites, and fax. It could be all managed by a CMS.  With the advancement of technology, customers adopt technology at a rapid pace with the help of apps, social network, mobile, and IoT devices.  Businesses of all types need to understand customer dynamics in order to develop a sustainable approach to serve and manage customers better in the digital age.

At the breakneck speed of technology, customers expect more and demand more in terms of features, functionalities, convenience, responsiveness, trust and many more. At the same time, this gives a business an opportunity to stand out, but the competitions among businesses become fierce than ever. When we rethink about how we perceive our customers, we found out that the relationship of companies to customers is changing dramatically. Rather than seeing the customers in groups, customers are structuring like a network where one customer can be at multiple contact points and does not have to belong in a specific group. Traditionally, by utilizing an advertisement campaign, the business can reach a specific group of customers where the communications are more like one-way broadcasting, but now the communications are bi-directional just like having a conversation.

Thriving in the digital age, companies need to view customers differently and interact with them in three dimensional rather than linear fashion since customers can initiate the change and trend. Both customers and businesses continue to create value to both sides of the relationship. Businesses need to play a greater role in helping customers to engage through interaction, connect through experience sharing, access through obtaining additional data and content, and perhaps, innovate new product and service when collaboration is an option. Finally, businesses should empower customers the ability of customization.

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Customers have become the center of the digital transformation, and they are the driver for the product innovation in the businesses.  We need a fresh customer service strategy to adopt the change in customers’ behaviors. First, we need to have an open-minded strategy that we should be prepared to receive from any feedback from the customers when we release new products or services. Second, we need to implement a customer loyalty program to drive consumer retention and to learn customer’s unique behaviors and interests. Third, we need to build communities around our product and services, and this not only saves our resources in resolving issues but also increase the customers’ engagement and brand awareness. In this way, we play supporting and nurturing roles when we grow the communities.  Fourth, we need to restructure the way we worked internally by asking service orientated groups, sales and marketing come closer together to deliver consistent customer service. In today’s digital world, we must understand the entire customer journey, which includes mobile, kiosks, store, call center, social, and other touchpoints.  As a result, we would develop an approach to ensure the best customer experiences that we can deliver and ensure that the experiences are consistent and uniform. The omnichannel customer service strategy can help the business streamline the entire customer journey.  Moreover, the new sustainable approach must be able to accommodate the ever-changing landscape of IT and customer behaviors.

A hidden gem in every business is the employees. According to Blake Morgan, a customer experience futurist said that "There is an undeniable link between employee’s experience and customer’s experience." There are many areas to consider:

  1. Keeping a strong culture is important since unhappy employees may result in unhappy customers.

  2. The success of Digital Transformation requires everyone in the organization to play a digital role.

  3. The organization should assist employees to grow and expand their skills and experience.

  4. Treat employees like customers since their candid feedback about the products or services are invaluable assets to the company.

  5. Company with tight firewall should review its Internet policy since it leads to distrust of employees and reduces productivity.

Be open to all feedback especially from the employees. It could easily be the linchpin to successful digital transformation because getting complaints means there is some room for improvement, and unhappy customers never complain.

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Getting new customers into the door is vital to the businesses. Most strategies are for customer service gear toward serving the existing customers.  There is a subtle difference between customers and non-customers.  The existing customers give feedback to enhance the products and services, but non-customers can let you aware of new untapped potentials like a niche market or whole new functionality for your products.  A new strategy should be devised to approach non-customers and try to talk to them. It may turn out to be the spark for innovation for the business to gain a competitive edge.

Conclusion

Technology has evolved, people have shifted how they want to engage with each other and also how they want to receive brand communication. Customers want to be proactive in participating with the brands they loved. They want to be inspired by the brands and be part of it.  With a broader perspective of looking at customers, existing customers, business’s employees, non-customers, and the unhappy customers, we should be able to construct a new business model that serves around these groups of people.  In the digital age, the boundaries between customers and businesses are blurring, and the relationship is mutually beneficial. Companies not only need to sustain profitability but also need to take up additional responsibilities to the next level.

If you have any thoughts about Customer Service or the article, I would love to hear what you have to say.  Thank you for reading.