home Customer Experience, Digital The intersection of CX and digital transformation – Strategies for success!

The intersection of CX and digital transformation – Strategies for success!

Digital transformation is the strategic use of technology to reshape business processes, operations, and customer interactions. When effectively implemented, digital transformation can significantly support your CX strategy by providing seamless, personalised, and efficient experiences. However, there are significant challenges to doing this successfully.

Jane Tyzack, Founder and Managing Director  of Change Playbook

Jane Tyzack, Founder and Managing Director  of Change Playbook, describes the relationship between CX and digital transformation as, “A partnership where CX is the outcome and digital transformation is how you get there. CX is all about delivering great experiences to customers. Digital transformation provides the tools and strategies to make that happen. Without Digital transformation, organisations may struggle to implement their customer-centric ideas fully. And without a customer-centric focus, digital transformation may lack a clear direction”.

Aleena Arotin, Chief Transformation and Client Officer at OneHealth, concurs with Tyzack about the connection between CX and digital transformation, “The two go very much hand in hand. If you are going to embark on a digital transformation exercise in your organisation, CX has to be at the forefront of any of the decision-making that goes along with that. If we look at the purpose of digital transformation it is to enhance the experience of the customer. Not just external customers, but internal customers as well.”

Customer experience is frequently a primary driver for brands to initiate a digital transformation project or initiative. Sometimes, however, technological change is the main focus rather than the reason for it to be undertaken in the first place. Paul Stevenson, Chief Experience Officer for V2 Digital, advises, “More often than not, technological change is what’s driving the business pace and with it the resources. This results in a ‘tail wagging the dog’ scenario where businesses are so busy grappling to keep up, that they lose sight of their ‘why’ and CX becomes an afterthought. This is dangerous territory for business survival and where the challenge lies for CX leaders. This default reactive approach almost always leads to poor CX outcomes as well as demotivated employees”.

Paul Stevenson, Chief Experience Officer for V2 Digital

Stevenson adds, “Whilst businesses understand that a customer centric approach is directly connected with key business metrics (eg. revenue, retention, acquisition), maintaining CX as a driving force behind key strategic decisions can still be a challenge for some business leaders.  Optimising CX should be at the forefront of why businesses need to continually evolve. If there is a solid customer-focused culture then the impact on customers is deeply understood and tested way ahead of time and before change commitments are made”.

Self-service in a digital world

Customers prefer self-service but want better more personalised digital experiences. Research from Zendesk shows that 67% of customers prefer self-service to speaking to a support agent. 91% say they would use a knowledge base if it met their needs. Today’s customers are constantly connected and expect instant satisfaction with their requests or enquiries.

Stevenson comments, “Brands need to have the agility to pivot and respond in real-time to exceed expectations, not just react. We have a massive influx of young people coming into the commercial market with next-level expectations of what can be done digitally. Brands have to be on their toes and continually looking to engage with an audience that has zero inclination to pick up a phone and call a company. Seamless digital experiences across any channel at any time is the expectation”.

Seventy-one percent of customers want businesses to provide personalised experiences and 76% are frustrated when this doesn’t happen, according to McKinsey. Tyzack comments, ”Customers are increasingly seeking personalised experiences. That means more tailored services based on their preferences and needs, and this often involves using data to anticipate and provide meaningful support”.

The challenges to success

Aleena Arotin, Chief Transformation and Client Officer at OneHealth

Digital transformation and customer experience can require significant investment as well as a disruption to current business operations. This can present a huge range of challenges. Arotin says, “The most obvious and immediate challenge I think most organisations face, is the balance between fighting for the CX and fighting for the P & L. Digital transformation can be costly and deciding where limited budgets and resources should be allocated is extremely complex and difficult. So, striking the balance between what is feasible for the business, at this point in time, yet satisfactory enough to keep up with what the customer needs is the biggest challenge to get right.”

Common challenges also include the organisation not being prepared for change, people pushing back against it, not putting customers first, and not fully understanding the technology. Tyzack comments, “Ensure your organisation and people are prepared for the change – set them up for success, keeping the customer front and centre throughout all stages of the transformation. Utilise a ‘test and learn’ methodology, incorporating sprints to maintain a steady pace and problem-solving skills”.

“It’s important”, advises Tyzack, “To Keep a close eye on how everything is going and be prepared to adjust things if they are not going to plan.”

Many organisations have outdated systems and infrastructure that are not easily adaptable to new digital technologies. Integrating new technologies with legacy systems can be complex and costly.

Compounding the problem of legacy systems is that data is often scattered across different departments and systems, making it challenging to create a unified view of the customer. Breaking down data silos and ensuring data quality and consistency is a significant challenge, Arotin highlights, “Working in silos is one of our biggest micro-challenges when it comes to looking inside the business itself. if you’re talking about different departments having to cross-collaborate or adopt a new methodology or go down a different path that they’re not used to, misalignment can emerge because they’re working in a silo”.

Changing the game with AI and data analytics

AI and data analytics are the game-changers in enhancing CX and driving digital transformation. Tyzack observes, “AI personalises experiences, automates tasks, and predicts customer needs, while data analytics offers a detailed insight into customer data. In practice, this means that AI can enhance the customer experience by suggesting services based on previous interactions, while data analytics can empower you to continually optimise your service offerings based on customer preferences and needs”.

AI and Data Analytics have become indispensable tools in the digital transformation journey and are central to enhancing Customer Experience. These technologies have reshaped the way businesses operate, engage with customers, and gain insights into their operations.

Rather than what impact these capabilities have on you CX or digital transformation strategy, Stevenson prefers to think about what value these capabilities provide customers. He says,

“AI can help with a multitude of decisions that can have a massive positive impact on how we resolve and prevent poor experiences, how can we train our front-line employees and how do we demonstrate that we understand customer context. Companies should start by asking questions like – how can we deliver value and provide excellent service to our customers by better understanding their needs as well as how and when they interact with us.”

Strategies for success!

Success with CX and digital transformation requires a holistic approach that combines technology, people, and processes. It’s an ongoing journey that adapts to changing market conditions and technology advancements while always keeping the customer at the centre of the strategy. Stevenson advises, “It all comes down to strong leadership and connecting to the vision. Most organisations don’t just sit on their hands doing nothing, everyone is trying to do the right thing”.

“The issue”, adds Stevenson, “becomes one of incremental change which, yes delivers outcomes, but at some point, becomes more difficult to demonstrate value. Having a clear rationale to ‘version up’ from where we are today creates a united way forward allowing for strategic clarity and commercial decision making”.

Customer-centric digital transformation strategy: Start by aligning your digital transformation initiatives with a customer-centric approach. Understand your customers’ needs, preferences, and pain points. Tyzack says, “master the art of storytelling and align your employees around a clear vision of what the desired customer experience looks like and why this is important. This will support alignment on what the organisation aims to achieve and why.

Use data analytics and customer insights to identify areas where technology can enhance CX. Whether it’s improving the user interface of your website or streamlining your customer service with chatbots, every digital transformation effort should be rooted in delivering better experiences.

Omnichannel integration: Create a seamless omnichannel experience by ensuring that customers can interact with your brand consistently across various touchpoints. Whether it’s through your website, mobile app, social media, or in-store, customers should have a unified and cohesive experience.

Data-driven decision-making: Leverage the power of data analytics and Artificial Intelligence (AI) to gain insights into customer behaviour and preferences. By analysing customer data, you can personalise recommendations, tailor marketing campaigns, and predict customer needs.

Employee training and engagement: Digital transformation is not just about technology; it also involves people and processes. Arotin says, “Train your employees to adapt to new technologies and empower them to provide exceptional service. Engaged and well-trained employees are more likely to deliver superior CX, which in turn contributes to the success of your digital transformation efforts”.

Tyzack adds, “Invest in skill and mindset development to set people up for success. Additionally, it’s important to provide them with the right tools and technologies that’ll enable quality service delivery. 

Continuous improvement: Both CX and Digital Transformation are ongoing processes. Regularly solicit feedback from customers and employees to identify areas that need improvement. Embrace agility and be willing to iterate on your digital initiatives based on real-time feedback. Stevenson advises, “Keep checking in with your employees to determine how they are feeling about the change, whether they understand the need for the progression, whether they are across what’s next, what’s expected of them and identify your change agents. To get this feedback make sure they have the political safety net to provide it”.

Annual or even bi-annual engagement surveys don’t cut it with extended change. The live insights garnered from employees throughout the process will ensure you can address any issues or concerns head-on as and when they occur”.

Security and trust: As you digitise customer interactions, ensure robust cybersecurity measures are in place to protect customer data. Building trust is paramount in the digital age, and breaches can have severe consequences for both CX and brand reputation. Arotin advises, “As digital transformation involves collecting and utilising customer data, organisations must address privacy concerns and data security. Compliance with data protection regulations, such as GDPR or CCPA, is essential”.

Collaboration: Break down silos within your organisation and foster collaboration among departments. Arotin says, “CX and Digital Transformation are not isolated functions; they require cross-functional cooperation to succeed. Encourage communication between IT, marketing, customer service, and other relevant teams to ensure alignment in goals and strategies”.

Measuring success

It’s important to establish a measurement framework early in the digital transformation process and regularly review and adapt your metrics as the transformation progresses. Remember that success may involve a combination of these metrics and should align with the specific objectives and desired outcomes of your digital transformation initiative.

Success metrics should be aligned with your objectives and Key Performance Indicators (KPIs). Tyzack advises, “For CX, keep an eye on Customer Satisfaction (CSAT), and Customer Effort Score (CES). On the digital side, the Conversion Rate and the Digital Adoption Rate matter. To use this data effectively, blend it with Voice of Customer data and benchmark it against industry standards. Organisations can use this data to inform decision-making, measure ROI, CX, and to also build a case for further change relating to CX / digital investment”. 

Digital transformation involves the deliberate utilisation of technology to reshape business procedures, operational practices, and customer engagements. When executed adeptly, digital transformation can be a substantial enabler of your CX strategy, delivering smooth personalised experiences underpinned by efficient business processes. Nevertheless, the path to achieving this seamlessly is laden with notable challenges.

Mark Atterby

Mark Atterby has 18 years media, publishing and content marketing experience.