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How to compete with digital disruptors through enchanced customer experience

Author's avatar By Expert commentator 20 Aug, 2015
Essential Essential topic

Five recommendations for approaching digital innovation in order to serve the customer better

People Process Technology for Digital Transformation

Through using digital technology and media, customers have found new ways to communicate, consume and share. They now measure the performance of organisations and the brand experience based on the standards set by ‘digital natives’ such as Amazon or Uber. Customers expect the same rapid response times, a seamless omnichannel experience and real-time information from every other organisation they do business with.

While most traditional organisations now have customer-centricity and enhancing the customer experience high on their strategic agenda, they’re at a distinct disadvantage as few of these organisations have been built around the customer’s needs or with an ‘outside-in’ approach. Digital start-ups, on the other hand, have customer-centricity at their very core which gives them the edge on customer experience.

Why digital disruptors have the edge on customer experience:

  • Digital disruptors are mainly founded on the premise of improving or simplifying the lives of end users
  • Their business is built from the user’s perspective rather than on an established business model
  • The digital technologies on which they build their products and services enable a much higher degree of customer-centricity
  • They lack the legacy infrastructures, bureaucracy and operating models that force many traditional companies to continue thinking from the ‘inside-out’ rather than from the ‘outside-in’

So how can established organisations compete with digital disruptors on customer experience?

We have seen many companies fade and fold as a result of digital disruption, but rather than dwelling on the threat of disruption it’s time for established organisations to look at the opportunities presented by the increasingly digitised world we live in.

Large global enterprises such as Proctor & Gamble, Disney and GE have already begun to leverage their vast resources and capital not just to react to technology disruption but also to drive the disruption themselves; transforming from digital followers to digital leaders, and embracing digital in an effort to not only disrupt current markets but also to move into new ones.

Five recommendations for approaching digital innovation in order to serve the customer better

  1. Focus on people first, not technology

Too many businesses approach digital innovation from a technology perspective, but it is human behaviour and the customer that is driving the digital world of today. Businesses must take note of customer behaviour and how it is evolving in light of the latest digital innovations. How are your customers currently using technology to accomplish things such as shopping, researching, communicating or travelling, and more importantly, how are they going to use technology to accomplish these things in the future?

  1. Act now, or get left behind 

According to the 2015 Digital Transformation Review n° 7: Strategies for the Age of Digital Disruption research by Capgemini:

74% of companies respond to digital disruption only after the second year of their occurrence, and 38% responded after the fourth year.

The majority of companies that went bankrupt only responded when the digital disruption had already firmly taken hold.

The lesson here is that the time to act is now. Don’t wait for digital disruption to take hold. Get started with your digital innovation strategy today.

  1. Don’t be afraid to think outside the box and shake up your business model

It’s important to constantly look out for inefficiencies in your current business model. Look for where there is a mismatch between what customers want and what your company is actually delivering, and see where digital innovation can help solve this. Where is your business failing to meet customer expectations? What is a constant source of frustration for your customers? Signposts for vulnerability to disruption can include large fluctuations in financial performance, underutilised resources or excessive inventory. Conduct regular business model audits to identify weaknesses in your current business model, and experiment with new business model ideas in order to accurately predict success of the innovation.

  1. Don’t fear digitalisation. Embrace it.

All businesses must position digital innovation at the heart of their business and use it to optimise the customer experience. New channels and technologies offer rich customer information for those that can gather and analyse it effectively. By harnessing digital platforms to your advantage you can anticipate new growth markets and identify untapped resources. Start with your customer pain points and identify how technology can help you solve them. Leverage technologies like social media, mobile and analytics to enhance the customer experience and serve customers in the way they want and expect.

  1. Create a top-down digital vision

Create an innovative digital vision that the senior management team is fully engaged with so everyone in the organisation understands what the company is trying to achieve, whether it is focused on operational effectiveness or delivering exceptional customer experience.

Employ an open innovation model for your business that invites innovative ideas. Invest in hiring and nurturing digital skillsets and encourage employees to identify innovative new practises and opportunities for business success. Many companies are now setting up innovation labs and incubators to facilitate this.

The digital world we live in should not be looked upon as a bleak landscape characterised by the threat of new start-ups at every turn. Indeed, new start-ups and budding entrepreneurs are leveraging digital technologies to build successful businesses that are delivering on and exceeding customer expectations. However, these digital technologies also present golden opportunities for established organisations to transform their businesses and become disruptors themselves.

Every business today needs to be a digital business. Digitalisation is not about how you incorporate technology into your organisation, it’s about how you use technology to create new opportunities for your business, ensuring your company serves the customer of today and tomorrow.

Learn more about techniques to respond to Digital Disruption

To learn more about techniques to manage digital transformation, download the free whitepaper from our Content Partners Sitecore: Digital Disruption: Disrupt or be Disrupted.

Image Credit: Digital Transformation and Customer Experience

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By Expert commentator

This is a post we've invited from a digital marketing specialist who has agreed to share their expertise, opinions and case studies. Their details are given at the end of the article.

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