Why Your Customers Want You To Go Digital (and how to do it right)

Neville Bezzina  |  28.06.2018

Why Customers Expect Digital Service

Your customers are expecting you to go digital to help them accomplish their goals. Here’s why you should listen, and how you can pull of digital transformation successfully.

Here’s a scenario you might recognise: a previously happy customer doesn’t seem so enthused anymore. They start to call repeatedly, asking for additional free services or upgrades until their demands become too much to handle.

This goes on for a while, until one day you find that you’ve lost the customer and start wondering: what went wrong? What could we have done differently?

Customer loyalty disappears when there is a mismatch between their expectations and their actual experience. Simply put, if they feel let down they will leave.

Customers are now used to free, easy to use apps and tools that provide them near instant answers or solutions. In contrast, traditional businesses who still use the phone and paper method seem slow and cumbersome - even if the product or service itself is better. This causes many customers to switch to a more nimble, switched-on competitor.

Did you know: Research by consulting firm McKinsey found that growing customer expectations of superior service drives efforts to advance and refine digital solutions 

Our hyper connected world is creating a catch-22 situation for many business owners. It’s becoming difficult to stay relevant against competitors without embracing digital technology, but developing digital products feels risky and overwhelming. What to do?

How does a digital product help your business?

A digital product is how you can deliver or even enhance your core offering through apps, mobile and web technology.

Digital products are everywhere - you probably use a few to run your business (for instance, to track your employee productivity or handle your finances) as well as personal life (email, messenger apps, travel planning apps, etc...) - and they range from simple apps to complex enterprise software.

Customers now expect to interact with your business in the same way. While the specific solutions you develop depends on your industry, you always want to create digital products to address inefficiencies or to enhance existing strengths.

Finding the right opportunity to go digital

When your competitors start adopting new technology, your instinctive reaction is probably to worry about falling behind. That’s completely normal. However, instead of jumping on the latest technology bandwagon, start by focusing on what your customers actually want, using this knowledge to enhance their customer experience.

We’re not talking about launching full scale market research. Simply spend an hour with your key team members and brainstorm answers to two key questions:

  1. How do customers tell us they want us to improve? What do they complain about?

  2. What do they love about working with or buying from us?

You will find that team members who interact with customers day to day will have a wealth of knowledge about common complaints or requests.

To make the most of this exercise, make sure your team understands that this is about getting better, not about casting blame about past mistakes. It’s a process to identify where your business needs to make improvements as well as any competitive advantages that are already there.

You can also ask these two key questions directly to your customers, using your website and social media to run polls. Consider incentivising poll participation by offering perks in your loyalty system in return.

Collect this information for at least two weeks into a central repository. Once that is done, get together with your digital product agency and place all the “areas of improvement” and “areas of strength” on two sides of the same whiteboard.

Next, list all your existing customer touchpoints. These are how the typical customer interacts with your business - starting from before they were even customers. A good list of touchpoints looks something like this:

  1. When they have a problem that you could solve

  2. When they are researching solutions like you offer

  3. When they’re on the move (or abroad)

  4. When getting in touch for information about a solution

  5. When they’re making a booking or purchase

  6. When looking for help after the sale

  7. When making an account on our website

  8. When looking for special offers

  9. When making a recommendation to a friend

Next, cross reference which of these areas were mentioned by the customers in the previous step as being weaknesses or strengths.

You now have a shortlist of the most important opportunities to improve your service through cloud or web apps.

For example: if your retail customers feel that your product offering is varied, you can use this as an advantage by offering points and rewards in your loyalty system, to customers who buy 3 or more brands in a single session. If on the other hand your after sales service is lacking, you can directly address this weakness with an After Sales Service Management software.

There are also usually side opportunities that can boost your revenues, add to customers satisfaction, or simply increase brand awareness. A few of our favourite companies that are doing this well include:

  • Wave, a small business invoicing app, also offers to connect business owners to accountants in their area;

  • Teamweek, a project planning tool for small teams, offers Toggl, a simple time-tracking app;

  • Airbnb, an accommodation booking website, offers experiences like personalised tours while the customer is booking a place to stay;

  • Crew.co, a platform for creative freelancers, offers Unsplash to showcase their photography talent.

A digital product should always be aimed at improving how customers interact with your business to solve their problems or achieve their goals.Everytime a customer has to interact with your business is an opportunity to improve your offer.

In short, the 5 steps to building a digital product are:

  1. Listen - really listen - to your customers

  2. Map out your current ways of doing things

  3. Identify your key areas for improvement and competitive advantages

  4. Brainstorm ways to remove bottlenecks and enhance service

  5. Design and develop your digital offering.

Your customers want you to go digital, now it’s up to you to find a problem that’s worth solving for them and offering a solution that keeps them returning to your business.

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Still not sure where to start? We can help you identify how your customers want you to go digital.

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