The Age of the Digital Customer [New Report]
We are in the age of the digital customer. Expectations have shifted and the promise of superb digital experiences is now the standard. In 2019, “digital” is on the minds of business leaders; however, in reality, many brands are still in the early stages of developing a holistic digital customer experience strategy.
In our latest report, Digital Transformation: Age of the Digital Customer, we interviewed 235 senior leaders across North America, Europe, and Australia regarding their attitudes about Digital Transformation (DX), Digital Maturity, and Digital Customer Experience (DCX).
We explore how imperative it is for organizations to take a hard look at their digital strategy through a customer experience lens. Leaders that can accurately determine their organization’s digital maturity and plan a long-term strategy will have an advantage over the competition.
What’s Driving Digital Transformations?
As innovation advances, senior leaders continue to focus on delivering next-generation digital customer experiences. Organizations are in the process of digital transformations by investing in and developing new technologies, mindsets, and operational models to improve competitiveness. The goal is to deliver relevant value to customers and employees in an ever-evolving digital economy.
One of the key drivers is Digital Darwinism which can be described as a phenomenon where technology and society evolve faster than your ability to adapt.
Our report shows how the looming threat of Digital Darwinism manifests itself in senior leaders’ reactive responses to drive digital transformations – 58 percent cite competitive pressures and 51 percent cite an overall decline in business performance.
Another main driver behind digital transformations is the growing trend towards customer-centricity – simply, brands must be responsive to customer preferences. As customers continue to shift their activities online, they expect brands to be just as digitally savvy as they are. The growing attention for digital customer experience can be explained by several evolutions:
- The rapid growth of channels, touchpoints, and devices used by an increasingly digital customer.
- The sharply heightened customer expectations, driven by – among other factors – the memorable digital experiences they encounter.
- The increasingly complex behavior of today’s customer who uses multiple channels, often at the same time.
While various teams play different roles in DCX programs, they often end up working in silos, presenting a major obstacle to the successful implementation of these programs. It is often difficult to distinguish clear lines of roles and responsibilities.
In our report, we found that only 21 percent of respondents stated that there is a cross-department team responsible for digital experience programs at their company. These silos are damaging as they contribute to scattered data and a lack of collaboration, ultimately preventing DX initiatives from becoming cross-functional programs.
Furthermore, it can’t happen within a single team or department, but rather it requires cross-organizational buy-in.
With 52 of our survey participants being C-Suite leaders (CEO, CMO, etc.), we asked them to name the top challenges preventing digital transformation at their organization. 54 percent of respondents ranked their top challenge “an incompatible current organizational structure.”
Digital Investments and Returns
As organizations elevate digital experiences to a priority, they are backing their assertion with substantial investments. The planned spend for digital experience technologies and programs in 2019 is $5 to $10 million.
When asked about which DX technologies organizations were planning to invest in, we learned that Customer Data Management Software was a top priority for 74 percent of respondents in our report. Similarly, Marketing Automation Software followed in second for investment focus with 72 percent. In the case of both of these software investments, it is clear that organizations are looking to utilize and decipher customer interactions for more proactive engagements.
How does this factor into the bottom line? Senior leaders cited that an important component of measuring the success of digital transformation and DCX programs was Business Performance and Profit, ranking it as the top Key Performance Indicator (KPI). Other KPIs from these programs that senior leaders link to ROI are reduction or cost-savings in call centers, increased consumer spending, and customer lifetime value.
What’s In Store for 2019?
The year 2019 is shaping up to be a pivotal moment for executives and their organizations to undergo a massive digital transformation, with customers in the driver’s seat.
It is not surprising that 41 percent of respondents in our report ranked digital experience programs as “extremely important” to their organization, with a further 27 percent of those surveyed ranking digital experience programs as “very important.”
Customer expectations are being redefined every day and the ability to meet them is what puts digital experience as the key priority for organizations.
The top three drivers for improving digital experiences are:
- Meeting customer expectations to delight customers and drive value (73%)
- Addressing and resolving customer conflicts in a better way (56%)
- Developing an ongoing strategy toward improving omnichannel delivery (49%)
With better customer data through implementations of various programs, such as a Voice of Customer strategy, senior leaders say this would significantly impact business goals including increasing revenue, reducing churn, and improving customer experiences.
Leaders are investing in technologies and strategies that can better cater to the digitally savvy customer. As they strive to be digitally mature, senior leaders are improving digital experiences and developing their talent to be future-proof. Many organizations are now well underway for a digital transformation that is customer-centric and driven by the right technology, people, and culture.
Take a deeper dive into the insights we found by downloading a free copy of our report, Digital Transformation: Age of the Digital Customer.