Digital transformation, customer experience, customer obsessed organisation, omni-channel engagement strategy. We’ve all heard the terms, we’ve all read the white papers about how organisations must become agile and focus on digital channels. For some, these concepts have become the focal point of their change management programmes, some just naturally grew into this space. For others, the idea of digital transformation and customer experience has been more difficult to get to grips with.
“Does this mean we change our business?”
“Does this mean we force customers to change the way they interact with us?”
“Why should we change something that already works and our customers are happy, right?”
Covid-19 has shown on a global scale why digital channels are so important to any organisation. CV-19 is, one would hope, a major but rare incident and as such perhaps should not be used as a reason alone to build a digital market place for your business. However, it clearly highlights those organisations that have realised that a multi-channel offering is better for both them and their customers. One exception would be Primark, as reported by the BBC in their article “Coronavirus: Primark sells nothing as retailers struggle”, Sales reportedly fell from £650m per month to zero as their retail outlets closed but their digital services did not allow consumers to shop online.
It’s clear some retailers view digital commerce as a competitor and not complimentary to their high street offerings, which often means they are only viewing digital platforms as a selling tool and not a customer experience tool. Selling is a very important component, but helping customers post sale is just as important. What if there are issues with the purchase, how are returns arranged, how can customers be notified of product recalls, how do organisations ultimately build a connection with customers when they are not in store? Websites, but more importantly, mobile apps provide organisations with a 24×7 access to their customers and vice versa. The explosive success of Amazon, a perhaps cliched analogy, can be boiled down, in part, to the fact that it provides easy access to its services via a mobile application.
Equally, we should not just look at high street retailers such as Primark as examples of poor digital experience, many other industries such as new home builders could also improve their customer experience. Purchasing a home is a significant investment and requires careful thought. Once the commitment to move is made it can be a challenging and drawn out process. Even in these times customers are looking to make a start on this process, knowing that by the time lock-down ends they want to be in a position to move.
Most new home buying experiences start with a visit to a show home and discussion with a sales agent. The drive is to bring customers into sales centres and take them around the various show homes to identify which would be most suitable. In many cases, homes are not even available to view as new homes are often sold off plan. This begs the question, why does the sales process begin with showing a physical product that may or may not exist?
A digital platform can improve CX and complement the physical and often more expensive components of the process. Video tours of house models, 3d interactive site maps and house plans, live chat and video calls available to customers wishing to speak to sales agents. Combine this with online payment portals and conveyancing services and there is a great deal of the sales process that can be engaged with while a customer is comfortably sat on their sofa.
Fast forward 12 weeks and while the sofa has moved to a new home, customer experience should still be top priority. Snagging is a key challenge for new home owners, how do I report issues, how do I provide photos and information, when will someone come to look at this leaky pipe? Once again, digital transformation of this process can be key to 100% customer satisfaction. Provide customers with a mobile application to report issues, upload photos and manage communications and view status transforms the experience from a chore to a quick 5 minute task that can be done day or night.
The Salesforce platform provides organisations with a very quick way to accelerate their digital platform delivery. All the components such as Commerce Cloud, Sales, Service Cloud, Communities and Marketing Cloud enable high quality multi-channel engagement. Most importantly the Salesforce platform provides out of the box integration between the components enabling a seamless customer experience without the need to embark upon a large, expensive and time consuming platform integration programme.
Matt Baker, Director, Customertimes UK, is a highly experienced and versatile CRM/Customer Experience specialist with more than 20 years of experience in CRM technology and consulting. Matt works with national and international organizations, helping them implement CRM technology and develop a vision and strategy for using it to compete in the ever-changing, challenging global business environment. Matt’s expertise includes financial services, engineering, media, and more, and he’s recognized for his ability to design and build high-quality enterprise-class cloud CRM platforms.