How digital technology powers a better customer experience

Oliver Smith

Oliver Smith,


8 January 20210 min read

Read how to develop a digital transformation strategy, why it’s connected to customer experience, and ideas to get started.

There’s been a lot of talk about what’s changed at work because of the year 2020. And it’s warranted: so much has changed.

For non-essential employees, we’re on video calls staring at our coworkers in little rectangles half the day. We work from the kitchen table instead of our ergonomic office chairs. Many are grateful to have a job at all.

For businesses, last year meant making large sacrifices in some areas and investing heavily in others—like technology for live chat, video calling, or managing their newly-created digital customer experience.

But we’re here to write about something different today, and it’s good news: what’s remained the same through this all? The importance of building strong relationships. That’s always been at the heart of every business, and in 2021 it will continue to be.

Here’s a look at digital transformation strategies, how it relates to customer experience, and why strong relationships will remain at the root of it all.

How to develop a digital transformation strategy

Digital transformation isn’t about a specific tool, but a goal your business has. As reported in Harvard Business Review: "Leaders who aim to enhance organizational performance through the use of digital technologies often have a specific tool in mind. ’Our organization needs a machine learning strategy,’ perhaps. But digital transformation should be guided by the broader business strategy."

With that in mind, here are the broad steps to follow for developing a digital transformation strategy and implementing new technologies.

  1. Assess your business: Gather the data on your goals, market cap, current metrics, and risks. Are you aiming to build an unmatched customer experience? Increase customer loyalty? Lower costs for the business? Improve customer service with a Net Promoter Score?

  2. Know your customers: Understand your audience—are your customer expectations instant gratification? Are you marketing just to American consumers or globally? What’s the best channel for customer engagement right now? What’s your customer lifetime value? Who are your competitors?

  3. Prioritize your needs: Decide what comes first. Is it delivering a superior customer experience most important? Is it finding the right technology for remote work? Is it pinpointing a communication channel like Facebook Messenger or mobile apps?

  4. Build a budget: Are you aiming to stay low-risk with a lower cost investment, or are you pitching a hefty number to your senior executives?

  5. Plan your resourcing: Don’t just think about who you’ll need to help purchase and implement the plan. Who will you need to be a champion for it? To be an active part in change management? And what other tools or systems do you need to make it successful?

Change management is often the hardest part for teams who are trying to implement modern digital strategies, so don’t forget to have empathy for your team! Explain why and how the tools can be used for improving their work efficiency and give them ample training. The CEO of MonkeyLearn shared tips for implementing automation for your team, which serve as a handy resource.

Building a digital transformation strategy for remote work

Now, digital transformation isn’t limited to buzzwords like virtual reality, artificial intelligence, and the internet of things—which are interesting concepts that for most office workers, have nothing to do with our everyday work.

Since remote work is the new norm for most, digital transformation lately has revolved around making it easier for teams to work together and building a good experience in the workplace for employees. Teams are choosing to implement a video conferencing platform like Zoom, rolling out Front for managing and collaborating on email, or giving the team a chat solution like Teams or Slack.

But productivity and collaboration innovation is just the starting point—the tip of the iceberg of modern technology. The realm of customer experience innovation is, well...monstrous.

What is the connection between digital transformation and customer experience?

Digital transformation and customer experience strategy are tightly intertwined. The primary reason organizations implement the former is to strengthen the latter. Salesforce research shows that 84% of customers claim that the experiences provided by a company are as important to them as its products and services. And in the coming years, interactions with customers will continue to take place online at higher rates, so digital customer experience matters.

Ideas to use digital technology in managing the customer experience

The best route to a better customer experience depends on the type of business you’re running. For your inspiration here are some examples of ways we see companies leveraging technology to make great customer experiences:

1. Improve the user experience on your website

Developing an app is a great way to stay in front of customers in a place where we all spend too much time: our mobile devices. You can try apps like AppyPie or BuildFire. In a similar vein, you can use live chat on your website to give customer support or take requests in real time with Drift or Intercom.

2. Use marketing to connect with customers more frequently

Most businesses already use marketing on digital channels like Instagram, Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn to stay top of mind and communicate with customers. But there’s a lot more you can do to nurture those relationships, and fun customer marketing campaigns can be a driving force. You can use podcast hosting software to create regular content on a topic your customers might like, or even get creative on TikTok.

3. Use machine learning to make your customer support more efficient

Many teams are leveraging machine learning to make customer support less cumbersome for their reps, and in turn, give a better customer experience. You can build automations to route customer requests to the right person, translate text, send auto-replies, and organize customer messages based upon any criteria you can think up. Some customer support machine learning tools to consider are MonkeyLearn and Forethought.

4. Survey customers to understand your customer service

Getting quality customer feedback is so important to boost customer satisfaction and map the customer journey. To get feedback, you can use a survey tool like NiceReply, AskNicely, or implement Gainsight for customer success.

Digital transformation isn’t really about technology

Money doesn’t grow on trees, so you’re probably not spending thousands of dollars on technology for the sake of it. When you boil it down, you’re doing it for your relationships—making your employees’ lives better and serving your customers better.

The Digital Transformation Report of Capgemini Consulting sums it up well: “...the key to digital transformation is re-envisioning and driving change in how the company operates. That’s a management and people challenge, not just a technology one.”

Written by Oliver Smith

Originally Published: 8 January 2021

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