Most organisations today recognise that digital transformation has become a business imperative. Indeed, Gartner predicts that digital business will represent 36% of a business’s overall revenue by 2020.
And with businesses that are digitally transformed being 26% more profitable than those that aren’t, there are serious implications to being left behind.
Unfortunately, many organisations simply aren’t sure where to start when it comes to kicking off their digital transformation efforts. That’s understandable. If you’ve been doing business a certain way for decades, someone coming in and telling you to change everything can be pretty scary.
Even if the senior leadership inside the organisation understands the importance of digital transformation and is excited by it, the process can still be daunting.
Fortunately, it doesn’t have to be. By selecting a manageable, tangible area to kick off digital transformation, businesses can achieve significant results — both in the long- and short-term.
Start by transforming customer communications
Customer communications undoubtedly ticks all of those boxes, with the added bonus that you can simply follow your customers’ lead when it comes to digital transformation.
After all, they’re already digitally transformed. In an always-on world, where the average person touches their smartphone thousands of times a day, they expect to be able to view your communications with them at whatever time and on whatever device they choose.
Small wonder then that as many as 77% of consumers say it’s easy to communicate digitally with a brand.
While you might not be able to digitise services and products in the short-term, you can migrate your customer communications to digital very quickly.
Even something as simple as moving from physical to email invoices can have a profound impact on both a business’s internal operations and the way customers perceive it.
The business imperative
While having a digital presence is a start, it’s important to remember the business imperative behind digital customer communications ‒ not responding to the desire for digital customer communications can ultimately result in customer churn.
That’s not a hypothetical scenario either.
A survey by Ovum for live-chat software-maker BoldChat found that 80% of consumers in Australia, Europe, New Zealand and the US said they had stopped doing business with a company following a bad customer experience. It doesn’t even have to be prolonged bad service. The 2017 American Express Customer Service Barometer found that 33% of Americans say they’ll consider switching companies after just a single instance of poor service.
Even outside of avoiding customer churn, leading your digital transformation efforts with customer communications comes with serious business benefits.
These benefits include the following:
- Digital processes enable hyper-personalisation of communications, meeting the consumers’ need for customised engagements.
- Relevance of both content (the message) and context (when it arrives) are achievable through digital processes.
- Triggered messages and scheduled communications can be combined to create a customer life-cycle communication plan that drives loyalty.
- Building the ability to communicate across digital channels enables a business to move from interaction to conversation.
That’s to say nothing of the operational cost savings, the reduction in errors, increased efficiency, and compliance that comes with digital transformation.
The rest will follow
In starting your organisation’s digital journey by transforming customer communication, you make the rest of the journey that much simpler.
After all, you’re providing your customers with what they want, meaning that they’re likely to be more engaged. And engaged customers are good for business. They buy 90% more frequently, spend 60% more per purchase, and have three times the annual value.
Demonstrate those kinds of returns and the rest of the organisation is much more likely to get on board with digital transformation.
Digital transformation is a daunting task, but it doesn’t need to be a paralysing one. In fact, by starting with customer communications, you can make the transformation process genuinely exciting.
This article was first published in Memeburn on 2 August 2018.