Putting the customer first

Ahmed5In October 2012 Francis Maude, Minister for the Cabinet Office of the UK Government announced the release of GOV.UK. They called it “The start of a new way of delivering public services.” In this release there were two important main benefits: the first one being that GOV.UK would save the government £70m a year and secondly GOV.UK was created by looking at the needs of its users and not the needs of the government.

“Putting the public first, in delivering digital public services. This was the fundament for the digital principles that the Government Digital Service (GDS) defined. Everything in this huge digital transformation was organized and designed around what users need to get done. The needs of the public was the starting point and not the needs of the government. The result? Digital services that are simpler, clearer and faster to use.

GDS Design Principles

First of all the GDS defined design principles to achieve their goals including: “Start with the needs” and secondly “Design with data”.

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Digital Transformation is about being customer-focused

There are a lot of definitions for Digital Transformation. Most definitions, as seen below, contain something about customer experience and customer value.

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So, we can define the essence of Digital Transformation as …

The process that helps brands to be less product-oriented and more customer-focused.

“The essence of digital transformation comes down to people and how their digital behaviors differ from that of the traditional customers before them.” Brian Solis, 2014.

Improving the (Digital) Customer Experience should be the common vision of every company that is investing in Digital Transformation. Unfortunately, research shows that organizations still miss-understand this essence of Digital Transformation.

In the Altimeter Group Digital Transformation Survey 2014, executives and digital strategists where asked if their organization was undergoing a formal digital transformation effort in 2014. 88% answered “Yes”. This answer conflicts with another more detailed survey about components that prove digital transformation efforts are indeed occurring (i.e., journey mapping and a focus on customer experience). In this more detailed survey, digital leaders were asked about their investments in identifying digital touchpoints and behaviors. 25% had mapped out the digital customer journey. In other words: only a quarter of the companies that were surveyed have a clear understanding of new and underperforming digital touchpoints, yet 88% of the same cohort reports that they are undergoing digital transformation efforts.[1]

Personalization

Putting the customer first can’t be done without providing a personalized experience. You don’t sell your customers the product but the experience and the result of the product.

“Price is what you pay, value is what you get.” Warren Buffet.

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Nike is just an example for a digital brand that digitized the Customer Experience. In every industry personalized experiences are the biggest digital transformation efforts. For a car brand that means promoting personal mobility management and for a Coffee Company it means shaping personalized coffee experience.

Personalization stimulates engagement with the customer, which is a key step in the process of digital transformation. “Knowing what they want from your digital platforms and channels will help businesses tell a story that the customer wants to hear. Having a two-way conversation, allowing customer feedback on the digital transformation process will also get customers onside early on.”[2]

Touch customer’s heart

Ahmed4Digital Customer Experience should be the heart of your business. Ask yourself these questions:

  • Do you know who your customers are?
  • Do you deliver the optimal experience irrespective of the channel?
  • Do you listen and respond to your customers?
  • Do you know the needs of your customers and how to collect these needs?

One of the building blocks of Capgemini’s TechnoVision 2015 is “Object of desire” and is written by Andreas Sjöström, Global Digital Solutions Lead at Sogeti. This building block is part of the cluster Your Experience. Exploring the potential of the highly individualized, digital user experience.

This building block describes very well what the best steps are to maximize the chances of being taken to the user’s heart, as an object of desire, regardless of what solution is taken on next.

“Among the organizations that are successfully creating these objects of desire the following working best practices emerge:

  • Use personas and scenario maps to identify relevant contextual value;
  • Define and maintain scope and requirements using sketches and mockups;
  • Design consistent style sheets and mood boards used across all digital channels;
  • Collect feedback from users in target groups using prototypes.

To further ensure that solutions become objects of desire, it is recommended to embrace four cornerstones: inspire the user, enchant with context-driven value, enable personalization and always include some level of innovation.”[3]

Digital Transformation is about putting your customers first and being a more customer-focused brand. Understand their needs and provide them a personalized and optimal experience. To be a digital brand you have to touch your customers heart.

[1] Brian Solis, The 2014 State of Digital Transformation, Altimeter Group, July 2014.

[2] Econsultancy In association with IBM Interactive Experience, Trends Briefing Digital Cream London 2014 – Digital Transformation, May 2014

[3] Andreas Sjöström, TechnoVision 2015 – Object Of Desire, December 2, 2014.

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