Digital Relationships

Digital customer relationships require digital maturity

Digital customer relationships require digital maturity

Being “digital” is not just about marketing initiatives, one-off social media campaign or big data project. It is about using technology to develop a more interactive and relevant customer experience, and a more responsive and internally-aligned organisation for the long haul. Therefore, for any digital strategy to be successful, it has to be deeply embedded in the organisation’s overarching strategy and across departments.

Take aways
  • Digital abilities help customers feel more empowered and in control of services.
  • Agility, internal support, clear strategy and goals make a business truly digital.
  • Digitally-enabled organisations are dynamic and networked, not linear or process-driven.

Many organisations across sectors are facing a confusing mix of options and challenges around digital enablement. Many just don’t exactly know what it means by being “digital” and how to fully grasp its potential.

What digital impact really is

While almost every organisation has launched some digital initiatives, very few can claim to be digitally mature. Digital abilities require embedding such strategy in an organisation’s structure, governance, incentives, policies and practices. The right way to capture the broader picture of digital impact is to look at it from a combined perspective of customers, business and organisation.

Better, more timely digital experience

The most visible digital initiatives revolve around abilities to provide better and more timely services to customers. Ironically, technology often stands in the way of delivering the promised expectations, let alone exceeding them. Technology should work in the background as an enabler, especially when services are being pushed through multiple devices and channels. At their best, digital capabilities provide a high touch and context-rich experience that can be scaled up from customer to enterprise levels.

The maximum potential of digital could be realised by high-touch customer experience, delivered at scale.

Use feedback from digital engagements

Digital engagement – say, through social media – can create a community around consumers as well as initiate and monitor conversations with them. Most organisations don’t manage to integrate or make the best use of social media, due to challenges around the ownership of customers, channels, governance, KPIs and ROI. A truly digital organisation has the agility and internal support to tailor or even enhance services based on feedback from those engagements.

Digitally empower customers

In many sectors, digital abilities help customers feel more empowered by and in control of the services from their providers. In the healthcare sector, for instance, patients can better understand their medication and health indicators on their mobile apps. Doctors and health centres can remotely monitor patients’ compliance to treatments. Utilities, telecommunication and content services let customers monitor the services and make payments themselves.

Enable mass customisation digitally

Advanced analytical capabilities can significantly improve operations such as real-time pricing, customising promotions and offerings. However, big data and powerful analytics don’t automatically translate into a sophisticated digital customer relationship. Organisations can offer a relevant experience using digital services, by applying data insights to understand needs across the customer lifecycle. This level of mass customisation is not economically viable for an analogue business.

Today there are more than 10 billion things connected to the internet - by 2020, that number will grow to 50 billion

More dynamic and networked organisation

Digital abilities enable organisations to become more dynamic and networked, rather than linear and process-driven. Digital processes enable real-time information sharing and decision-making, with feedback from end-customers embedded across the organisation. An integrated, cross-functional digital strategy is much more than ERP/CRM implementation; it enables active knowledge-sharing, and promotes collaboration and increases cross-silo visibility.

Live up to full potential

In order to realise the full potential of digital abilities, firstly, organisations need to differentiate one-off digital interactions from digital customer relationship that should be fully integrated in an organisation’s overarching objectives and capabilities. This involves designing services and experience around the customer lifecycle, with digital enablement at its core.