Mao Gen Foo, Vice President, Sales, Asia at OpenText
There is no question that we are living in an entirely digital age, paving the way for innovators and disruptors across all industries. We’ve seen exponential growth in connectivity, leading to thousands of new companies whose disruptive presence has had a massive impact on many long established organisations.
Companies such as Airbnb and Uber have embraced the digital customer to turn the digital age to their advantage. They have succeeded in finding new ways to deliver services through rich and engaging experiences. Embracing digital technology means they can successfully interact with the consumer and satisfy their needs. These digital first innovators have set the benchmark for organisations looking to leverage digital technology to attract, retain, and monetise from their customers.
Evolve business models
The modern customer expects their transactions to occur seamlessly, they demand always-on service, relevant and timely interactions, and companies who can deliver what is needed exactly when it is required.
The shift must first come from the business model level. Traditional business models, where the product or the company is at the heart of the discussion, and historical data and information is used to maintain a relationship with the customer, now seems archaic. This shift in thinking requires companies to provide multiple channels to both talk to and listen to the customer, and these multiple engagement points have resulted in a dramatic ‘shift of power’.
Organisations that can consistently deliver against the need of immediacy and at the speed of change will see an increase in customers staying loyal to their brand
This evolution of business models and customer needs has caused even the most successful companies to step-back and re-evaluate their interaction with the hyper connected customer. Staying relevant and competitive means organisations should prioritise the “customer journey” and ensure that their offerings provide secure, personalised, and fully-integrated self-service capabilities with every transaction. Organisations that can deliver against this need of immediacy and security will see an increase in customers staying loyal to their brand.
Shifting investment focus
This change in approach will also change where investments are made. To retain digital customers, organisations must be willing to invest in more than just a mediocre customer experience. They must be fully committed to delivering customers positive experiences that will ultimately turn them from customers to brand and product advocates.
Decision-makers within the organisation must look to re-engineer their outdated “liner” sales model with a model of continuous engagement, an infinite loop that consists of the customer interacting with your brand through evaluation, purchasing, receiving, engaging, advocating, recommending, and finally becoming an advocate for the brand through organic interactions.
Making life easy
An easy transaction is a defining feature of a positive customer experience. Customers expect transactions to seamlessly transition from one digital platform to another while retaining a consistent personalised experience, with data, information, and assets moving seamlessly from one environment to another.
The challenge is that systems are not always set up to support this and as such it may seem like a monumental task to revamp operations in order to cater to the digital customer. Yet there are certain approaches that can streamline this shift. The key to this is to address siloes. By creating an environment that focuses on delivering high impact content, strong transactional integration, interactive customer communications, and has meaningful analysis capabilities, the business becomes more capable of making customer’s lives easier. It also makes life easier for the business in being ready to adapt according to customer needs.
Through this broad approach with addressing business models and overall approach to customer experience, and through finding ways to better address business siloes, businesses can ready themselves to interact with the attentive and demanding consumers of today.