Today, some businesses and organizations may think that they are not technology leaders and decide to postpone the implementation of a digital transformation. Such a wrong decision is based on a poor understanding of the power and value of the digital transformation. Digital transformation is not about technology only but about the vision of the business. It is about creating a transformation through the tools that technology empowers businesses with. It is about customer retention, business transformation, business reinvention and business survival. It is not about being a technology leader.
Let’s see digital transformation from a customer retention perspective. Regardless of the industry a business is in, it is impacted by digital transformation. Digital technologies give the consumer more choices and authority, and it also empowers businesses like never before.
Social media has changed our lifestyles completely. Not only do we interact more with our global network but coupled with Internet of Things, we are now sharing our locations, activities, experiences, and lives in real time. Internet of Things also allows consumers to better manage their time, save money, accomplish more in less time and feel more protected.
A happy customer sharing his/her experience in real time and with emotion is the most powerful marketing ever. A customer shooting out negative experience is bad marketing but at least offers to the business the opportunity for improvement, as a business can take that same negative comment and turn it into a positive transformation. When considering the speed at which information is shared globally, we can therefore say that customers drive business in a way that was not imaginable before. They are the true business influencers.
Before the digital transformation, businesses relied upon surveys to solicit from clients and potential clients’ data that was not always accurate or real in order to improve business. Now, businesses can access information about the customer’s experience that are accurate, in real time, filled with emotions, related to other areas of a customer’s lifestyle, and provide insight into their personal and professional networks.
The business that neglects such an opportunity is not listening to its clients and not appreciating them enough. That business is clearly telling its clients “we don’t care about you enough to listen to you, so go and have fun with the competition who can waste their time talking and listening to you instead.”
Digital transformation is an opportunity for a business to give the best experience to a customer all while getting more information from the customer, selling more to him/her and his/her community, anticipating the customers next wishes and offering it to him/her before he starts looking for it elsewhere.
Digital transformation is “the” opportunity to:
- Improve customer experiences
- Get closer to customers
- Retain customers
- Offer targeted products or services
- Have customers recommend products and services to their networks.
- Sell more to customers and their networks
- Develop new products and services for clients
- Reinvent a business that is threatened by lifestyle changes
But all that can only happen if businesses tap into the power of digital transformation. The technology is only the tool that helps power the transformation and is not the transformation in itself. Technology is a power tool behind business and Digital Transformation is the change that a business undergoes in order to transform and enter in the next technology era.
Here is what will happen when Company A decides to postpone investments into digital transformation, while its competitor, Company B invests into digital transformation now. Company B invested in a well-crafted digital transformation vision and is engaging with and wooing its clients while tapping into Company A’s customer pools at the same time. Company B gathers a large amount of precious information about its customers and their networks and turns this information into sharp business intelligence. Company B, then offers tailored solutions to its customers and their networks.
By the time Company A realizes the massive loss of its customers and starts implementing some type of digital transformation, company B has already moved to the next growth phase and is catering to its customers anticipated needs or wishes while locking them in with irresistible offers.
Now Company A faces a bigger problem. Not only has it lost customers but it is collecting less data to start with and will have to either:
- Invest in offering tremendously more value to the market.
- Reinvent its business.
The only way Company B may have left an advantage to Company A would be if Company B implemented their digital transformation merely as a fun tech gadget for the purposes of being in style, without a clever business vision and strategy that would tap into the real power of digital transformation.
Therefore, executives must get involved and invest in digital transformation now and do it with a business transformation vision that includes customer retention, but not as a trendy technology fashion. Digital transformation is a must because it empowers businesses like never before, and the businesses that neglect it will regret waiting while the ones who embraced it early enough thrive.
In part 3, I’ll speak more about the business transformation from the inside out.