Most enterprises, we’ve observed, find launching digital initiatives and undertaking digital transformation in general to be a relatively easy and low-risk undertaking, at least from a cost perspective. Where enterprises typically spend in 7 digits for legacy technology initiatives, digital initiatives typically only require a 6 digit spend. At least from a budgeting and expenses perspective enterprises rarely hit a major roadblock when it comes to digital transformation.
If it’s not spend that holds enterprises back in delivering successful digital initiatives, then what other factors are at play? After all, time is running out! As detailed and analysed in this Forbes article, the majority of enterprises admit they have only a couple of years to transform or risk falling behind.
There are many reasons, of course, including experience and skills of the teams undertaking these initiatives, the organizational culture and the pace of adaptation to digital, and more. Another critical factor, and the one that’s the focus of this writeup, is: data. Where digital transformation initiatives falter, typically, pertains to the specifics: what precise initiative is planned, how the details are worked out, how the idea is validated, and more. Just as importantly, innovation efforts rarely see success immediately on launch, and need a patient and iterative approach before clear success can be seen.
Enterprises need to leverage data carefully at the planning stage as well as at the execution and support stage. At the planning level, stage, data needs to guide what assumptions are made, what level of customer understanding drives the initiatives, and so on. And once the initiatives make contact with the real world, and are in the hands of real customers, enterprises need to take a patient, iterative approach that carefully leverages data to ensure that they see success over time.
While leveraging data effectively sounds simple enough in theory, it is actually far harder to manage in practice.
Case in Point
A prominent brick-and-mortar services organization that we worked with, was eager to undertake digital transformation, but they seemed to approach it as a checklist of initiatives, rather than as a business transformation effort where each technology initiative is tied into clear business metrics and CX transformation goals. When we recommended a comprehensive mobile strategy for them, their response was that they already had a mobile app. When we chose to dig deep into the mobile app however, we quickly discovered problems. The app lacked a certain amount of empathy, and failed to prioritise the way customers would want to use the app and the workflow they would prefer, and seemed to have too many friction points that customers found frustrating.
How could this have been avoided? The key of course, is to achieve a shift in perspective: enterprises need to switch from prioritising their own problems and seeking their own benefits, to prioritizing customer needs and customer perspective. This is of course very hard to do, which is why leveraging available data to deliver critical insights that help you plan your overall digital strategy as well as execute specific digital initiatives is critical.
That’s just what we did with this organization, and tossed in key terms like ‘Customer Experience’ and ‘Customer Centricity’ for good measure. Eventually, with the data we gathered from actual customers who provided extensive feedback, along with the insights we gleaned from the usage of their currently faltering mobile channel, the organisation came around and we worked with them to create a solution that has helped them achieve immense customer satisfaction and loyalty.
You could be spending endless hours testing your product, passing it around the organisation and beginning to think you have the hang of it, but reality could present itself as something else entirely. Out there in the world, it will be used by people from a wide range of geographical locations, cultures, professions and experiences with digital products. That kind of variety simply cannot be matched by the small sample within which you’d be testing before release. According to recent research by eTouchPoint, while 80% of companies believe they are providing great CX, only 8% of their customers agree.
And why should you be listening to your customers? Well:
Therefore, what’s crucial is to figure out for whom the solution is. Is it for you? A specific target audience? Your distributors? Anyone and everyone? Once you’ve got that figured, how do you go about it? Simply put, the answer is build, learn and iterate till you perfect it. The learning being key as it helps you recognise pain points, eliminate them, release and learn more. The more data you collect and analyse, the more you know what is to be done to craft something your audience will really love. Also, the inferences will go a long way in helping you design the product to minimise bottlenecks and smoothen the customer journey.
We’ve been helping organisations multiply their businesses and elevate customer experience for a long time and have solved problems around meeting customer expectations and anticipating their needs in the feature planning stage. The key to all of this is effective collection and analysis of data. So what is data to be exact?
It is the comprehensive corpus of information on what your customers are doing at every stage of their journey through your solution. How are they interacting with it, at what times, at which points are they confused and dropping off, how many are actively using it on a daily basis, churn rates, how are they interacting with notifications, what’s the interaction like on offers and special sale events and much more. Once you augment your solution to send you information on each of them, you can draw up a strategy to fix the problems, push out rapid updates and improve your chances of success manifold.
We enabled Mann+Hummel to improve their filtering solutions with smart capabilities which gathered information on customer experience and based on that, added features which removed a bunch of manual tasks the customer had to perform. This delivered significant additional value to their customers, which naturally reflected in their revenues and reach. Their sales increased significantly and operational costs went down by a big margin. It all came back to using data to eliminate customer pain points as far as possible. Read all about it here.
Six Crucial Ways in which Data Benefits your Organisation:
As product heads or transformation leaders, you might be owning the solutions and often believe you know best, but you are building them for an audience and looking for wide acceptance and recognition. You will not achieve that unless your users get an absolutely stellar experience, for which the offering must be intuitive, personal and secure. The key to getting it right is knowing all you can about your customers, and data is crucial in that regard. Embrace data, follow where it leads and your customers will be right beside you on the journey.