According to a report by McKinsey, companies’ digital transformation and customer interactions have advanced in response to the pandemic by as much as three to four years. Customer experience (CX) leaders have had to keep a real-time pulse on customer trends, completely redesigning CX journeys as expectations change, as they hope to capture a seamless, end-to-end experience. However, that does not mean that these transformation programmes have been entirely successful or without their issues.

Separating the hype from reality in DX

Indeed, digital transformation has steadily become an everyday buzzword since the start of the pandemic. As with any hype cycle, it has become difficult to separate the hype surrounding digitalisation and the reality of implementation.

A recent report by Gartner revealed that 69 per cent of organisations accelerated their digital business initiatives in response to the pandemic, with the sales process and customer experience being the key drivers. However, as Conga’s research indicates, most of these initiatives are rushed and rarely result in success. Whilst COVID-19 has accelerated 71 per cent of companies’ digital transformation plans, only 36 per cent are considered somewhat successful.

In the same study, business leaders reported that their transformation initiatives failed due to a number of factors, including resistance from employees to new technologies and a lack of skills to implement change. However, most companies simply approach CX transformation projects all wrong. They pick a technology and implement it at speed, adopting the latest AI chatbot or automation programme with no long-term vision of how this will improve their services.

Reconsidering the approach to digital transformation

In many cases, companies do not have clearly defined objectives or business goals. Leaders fail to explain how the new technology can help employees within their role, which results in teams not being on board from the start. Likewise, vendors often provide a ‘unified solution’ as opposed to focusing on and providing solutions for their customer’s business and needs.

When designing a digital transformation or cloud strategy, it is important to consider the initiative from all angles and all parties involved. Leaders should identify pain points across the business cycle and try to provide a unified experience with a seamless operation model, which genuinely improves the workflow for teams. Meanwhile, CIOs need to consider those vital touchpoints of interaction and think of ways to improve and integrate a 360-degree view of the customer journey across all teams and systems. 

Hyper personalisation – designing a DX strategy specific to customer needs

Digital transformation offers many competitive advantages, but it is not always easy to define, plan and execute. Over 90 per cent of organisations cite that their revenue operations and transformation initiatives need more improvement. Put simply, the majority of companies fail to reap the rewards of a transformation programme as they have not established clear objectives.

Businesses require far more tailored cloud and digital solutions. As the pandemic has shown, a ‘one size fits all approach is no longer viable. Offerings should vary from industry to industry, and customer to customer. If businesses want to improve their digital experience management or customer journey, they simply need to be more flexible. They need to design product offerings to answer the customers’ ongoing concerns and needs and use data to drive their decisions.

Naturally, this will require more technical solutions and perhaps collaborating with other providers to meet all customer needs. The drive should not necessarily be speed – after all, digital transformation is a process, not a race. The focus should be on establishing a digital CX model that provides a more unified experience for the end-user and is tailored to their own workflows or needs.

The future of CX

When designing a new CX programme, businesses need to establish clear objectives before adopting any disruptive or transformational technology. They should first consider where they stand in their CX and DX journey by establishing their digital maturity and reviewing their operational model. After all, businesses cannot rely on entirely online or offline services if they want to meet diverse customer needs.

As companies build their digital strategies, each touchpoint or process should be mapped to a specific purpose, prioritising the most important customer engagements. They will need to remain agile, anticipating customer behaviour and guiding them through tailored programmes, according to the needs of their company.

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