The digital has changed almost all habits of modern-day consumers, whether it’s the way they are informed, communicate with each other or pay for goods/services.
With the rise of mobile and cloud technology, the customer expects a consistent experience on all the different channels it uses. In their shopping journey they can, for example, learn about a new product via a smartphone, check the purchase on their computer and then ask questions on social media after the sale. These new habits are also aligned with a rise in expectations in terms of responsiveness of customer service channels, because now, their own time is the resource they value the most.
This is already manifested by the boom in messaging, and upcoming advent of voice control. As a result, large parts of the economy are now swallowed up by organisations and contributors who did not exist a few years ago: Airbnb in tourism, Uber in transport, Netflix in audio-visual production, Spotify in music and Apple in payment systems. These tech giants put the customer at the heart of their business model by offering them a customer experience that is both personalised and immediate.
Focusing on customer service is therefore a catalyst for a successful digital transformation because it puts the customer experience at the center, the main driver of value creation in the new economy.
Big data, the engine behind digital transformation
The challenge posed by the customer relationship is first and foremost a technological challenge. The first hurdle is to integrate a system on the same platform so that all follow-up interaction with clients, whether transactional or conversational, is the same. This centralisation allows all the operators who are interacting with their customers to have a 360° view of their profile but also to track the data, analyse it and provide insights to adapt their strategy going forward.
In addition to big data, brands must also invest in new technologies such as voice assistants, which save customers significant amounts of time, but also in augmented reality that creates a bridge between the real and the virtual worlds. The need for humans to master skills in the digital world will thus continue to increase.
Customer relations at the heart of digital transformation
The success of a brand’s customer relations is inherent to the success of its digital transformation strategy. Beyond customer service, it is primarily a leading business model.
Given consumer’s attention has shifted toward smartphones and digital interactions, brands have to adapt the experience they offer paying close attention to being “disrupted”. I previously cited the example of Uber, which directly competes with taxis firms by offering unparalleled customer service through the technology within its mobile application. The customer relationship must therefore become the strategic priority of all companies.
Marketing departments must work with technology departments to put in place the tools that will enable them to collect data on customers and their consumption habits, whether digital or in real life, to analyse and exploit them.
They will then be able to identify both the stages of the customer journey that cause loss of value, and also the opposite, and develop actions based on the real needs of customers.