How Digital Transformation Can Improve Customer Experience

To say that technology has advanced over the past few years would be a massive understatement. The ways in which most businesses now operate and interact with customers are drastically different from what they were a decade ago. And though this has meant a lot of change and adjustment, many of those changes have been for the better. For example, it’s now more convenient than ever for consumers to research their options, learn about different brands, and make purchases all from the comfort of their own homes.

But it doesn’t stop here.

New technology is continually developing, and the digital transformation we’ve seen so far is likely only the start of the changes we’ll see over the coming years.

What is Digital Transformation?

If you’re unfamiliar with the term, “digital transformation” refers to the ways in which businesses change to adapt to new technology and consumer preferences. It’s essentially an umbrella term for the many changes that companies have had to make (and will continue making) to keep up-to-date with advances in tech. And at this point, it’s somewhat inevitable.

While current levels of “transformation” vary by industry, 80% of business leaders believe that their industry will be disrupted by digital — and that it will affect 84% of businesses by 2020.

So if your business hasn’t yet taken steps toward adopting new technology, it likely won’t be much longer until you need to make some adjustments to keep up with your competitors.

How Will Digital Transformation Impact Customer Experience?

Although digital transformation has the potential to impact virtually every aspect of business, it will likely have the most significant impact on customer experience.

After all, many of the advances we’ve already seen, like e-commerce shopping, personalization, and new communication channels have been mostly for the benefit of consumers. And companies are on board with this focus. In fact, the HBR survey found that 40% of respondents named customer experience their top priority for digital transformation.

Considering that each experience a customer has with a brand impacts their perception of the company, this is a wise focus. And many marketers are optimistic about the potential benefits of new technology for customer experience.

In the same survey, 72% of respondents said they expect the shift to digital to create closer relationships with customers. So if you’re looking to improve the experience your company provides to customers, it could be time to start adapting to advances in technology and finding ways to incorporate more digital elements into your strategy.

5 Ways to Use Technology to Improve Customer Experience

Considering the massive scope of technology’s impact, it can be challenging to know where to begin once you’ve decided it’s time for your business to get up to speed. And while this list is by no means comprehensive, the following five tips will help you start using digital advancements to improve the customer experience you provide.

1. Make Information Available Online

One of the biggest benefits of the shift toward digital is also one of the simplest: The ability to store information online. While businesses used to primarily save data locally, advances in storage and security have made it common practice to use online methods. This makes it much more convenient for customers to find the information they want, and often eliminates the need to speak with an employee.

For example, many online retailers, like Sephora, now allow customers to access details on all of their past purchases on the company’s website. If a customer wants to track, cancel, or return an order, they can do so on their own — without waiting for assistance from the company’s customer service team. This is not only more convenient for the customer but frees up support agents’ time to help customers with more complex questions and issues.

2. Embrace Automation

Automation has come a long way over the past few years.

While the term used to call to mind images of rudimentary chatbots that provided canned responses to basic questions, it can now be used to improve many different parts of the customer experience. In fact, in one survey by Accenture, 84% of respondents said they preferred interacting with computer-based applications rather than human advisors due to their 24/7 availability.

In the same survey, 68% of respondents also said that automated applications were faster to engage, and 64% said they communicated more politely. Although the quality of service was a valid concern about automation in the past, we’re now at a point where many consumers actually prefer this approach.

So if you’re not yet using automation as part of your customer service strategy, there’s no better time to start than now. Even automating simple tasks like follow-up emails and ticket prioritization can reduce the amount of time your team spends on basic processes, and help them serve your customers more efficiently.

3. Tailor Content To Individual Users

The more relevant your offers are to each of your individual customers, the more likely they’ll be to take advantage of those offers. That’s why many companies now use customer data to provide personalized content and recommendations.

For example, if you’ve ever shopped on Amazon, you’ve likely seen a section of recommended products. Instead of merely featuring products that are popular with other shoppers, the site shows custom lists tailored to each user’s browsing history.

Of course, the way you adapt this strategy for your site depends on your business model and goals. But no matter what you’re hoping to accomplish, tailoring your content to individual users can go a long way in getting them to take action.

4. Learn About Your Customers

Business owners and marketers now have access to more data than ever before.

And while all of this information can be overwhelming if you’re not sure what to do with it, it can be extremely helpful if you use it to find new insights into your customers’ purchasing preferences and habits. Then, you can use your analysis to improve your offerings and develop more effective marketing campaigns.

That said, it’s essential to be transparent about the data you collect. Today’s consumers know that their personal data is being collected — and 87% believe it’s important to be able to control and review it.

So as you collect and analyze customer data, don’t attempt to hide this process from your customers. Be clear about the kinds of information you collect, and what you intend to do with it.

In most cases, customers want to know that their information isn’t being shared with third parties — so if you’re just using browsing data to provide personalized shopping recommendations, they’re unlikely to mind.

5. Focus on Providing Value

As you look for ways to adopt new technology, remember to keep the focus on providing value. After all, if the goal is to create a better customer experience, you should be sure that each step you take toward digital benefits them in some way.

Don’t create an app for the sake of being able to say you have one and don’t feel like you need to invest thousands of dollars into a new site feature just because one of your competitors has it.

Instead, look for areas in which the experience you provide could improve, and figure out how technology could help you solve those issues. After all, if your company’s digital transformation centers on helping and engaging customers, it’s much more likely to help you reach your customer experience goals.

Conclusion

Technological advances over the past decade have already made a significant impact on how businesses interact with customers. Today, this digital transformation shows no signs of slowing down.

And while some companies are resistant to adopting new technology, those who choose to embrace it have the opportunity to create even better experiences for customers. You can use it to provide helpful online resources, automate specific tasks, and even collect data in ways that will help you more effectively serve each of your customers.

As long as you focus on creating better, more convenient experiences for your audience, there are plenty of ways to integrate new technology in ways that benefit your customers — and help your team serve them even more efficiently.