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Customer Experience in the age of digital transformation

Warren Buffett, Chairman and CEO of Berkshire Hathaway, has said that digital transformation is a fundamental reality for businesses today. We cannot stress the necessity of Digital Transformation enough. Digital transformation is the process of using digital technologies to create new or modify existing business processes, culture, and customer experiences to meet changing business and market requirements or in other words reimagining of business in the digital age.

Whether a corporate, startup or a homegrown business everybody needs to accelerate and innovate their workplace. Every company needs to figure out how to evolve to accommodate emerging technologies because what is coming is much bigger than the existing internet. The only thing that remains constant in this ever-changing landscape of technology and method of functioning is, the customer. Hence, customer experience and satisfaction are the most crucial/critical factors for every business, and they need to be monitored closely on a regular basis.

According to a recent report, the total number of Internet users in India has risen to 825.30 million at the end of March. From cars, phones, computers, watches to bracelets, doorbells, appliances and even garbage cans everything is a part of IoT- internet of things! Digitalization has changed our daily lives, work style and the way we socialize and interact. If we look back now, we will be surprised to see as to how far along we have come and how knowingly or unknowingly we have been an active part of this digital transformation.!

Digital Transformation has had its impact on laypersons in India. There was once a time where all day-to-day transactions used to happen on cash or through electronic transactions in banks only but now, almost every person has a smartphone where they can send/receive money via internet. Be it a street vendor or a successful businessman, everybody has UPI payment option with them. UPI is one of the most successful deep tech innovations that originated in India. With exponential growth of UPI, India became the world's largest real-time payment market with 25.5 billion annual transactions in 2020 as per ACI Worldwide and Global Data, leaving China and the United States behind. Even the recent Covid-19 vaccination drive had the digital aspect involved. From finding nearby vaccination center to booking slots online and later downloading the certificate everything happened online.

From the business perspective, Digital Transformation is exciting for both customers and businesses. Businesses need to keep finding creative and feasible ways to interact with customers and provide superior customer experience in addition to staying ahead in the race of innovation and invention. In the dynamic world, a mere online presence is not enough, ensuring the implementation of modern technology is omnipresent right from planning to execution and evaluation. Keeping an eye on the competitors and improving over them is equally important.

As highlighted earlier and as per the fancy yet common phrases ‘Customer is the king’, ‘Give them what they want’, ‘Customer is always right’, customer is the only constant in the ever-changing world of internet and business. This gives them more power and businesses need to always stay ahead in their game to exceed customer expectations. Persona based sales gains more importance here. When businesses truly understand their customers - the buying patterns and demands, their standard budget, the buying frequency, and their preferences it becomes easy to serve and provide a better experience. For example, Amazon Prime provides personalized services/recommendations to customers in the retail sector. In addition, by providing Alexa video, music, and eBooks support in the prime membership they have topped their game and have retained a loyal customer base. Similarly, Google too has been a default search engine and go-to platform for most of the internet users since a long time. Both Google and Amazon have become de facto standards in their respective industries. The only reason for this is because these businesses understand their customers’ requirements better, consider smooth customer experience as their motivation for change, innovation and improvise accordingly. A person might stop going to nearby stores because Alexa reminds him/her what to order and when, and despite the price constraints he/she prefers to order on Amazon because of the convenience factor. The newly begun trend of cashbacks and coupons get the customers even more excited to go digital which in turn helps the business secure customer loyalty.

For providing good customer experience, we need good amount of data for detailed analysis. With data, the requirement of safeguarding this data arises. Customer being the owner of his/her data, needs to be careful and responsible when sharing it with others. The businesses too must be transparent and responsible with the customers and inform them if there is any breach and provide them the timeline for action. The customer data is ever-growing and is stored across various sources in silos; IT, CRM, Operations, Marketing, and various other departments. Keeping customer experience as the focus all departments must coordinate and work together for storing this data in a concise fashion supporting scalability, adaptability and create and end-to-end system. Here is where the DevOps come into the picture, again Digital Transformation! Maybe Digital Transformation too is constant along with the customers, isn’t it?

All businesses must continuously evaluate themselves in terms of where they are, where they want to reach, what steps need to be taken to improve and innovate themselves to provide best quality services to its customers, thus bridging the gaps in customer journey through technology.

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