A woman uses her laptop to engage with a company that has a robust digital transformation strategy

Digital Transformation Strategy and Customer Engagement: No Longer Optional

Published May 16, 2018 by Glen Kunene

Digital transformation continues to garner a lot of attention, but savvy professionals knew by the end 2016 that major disruption was on the horizon. Forrester predicted that a shift from digital experience to digital operations would greatly impact the overall customer experience in new ways: By focusing on operational efficiencies, organizations would begin to bring all aspects of the business into a centralized digital realm.

But what is digital transformation strategy, really? Digital transformation is more than just a fancy way to describe moving digital assets to the cloud. The Enterprisers Project defines it as a process to integrate all areas of a business in a way that results in fundamental change regarding how it operates and provides value to customers.

While the process will be different for every organization, there are plenty of shared goals, no matter which industry they operate in. Whether this transformation is impacting internal operations or customer-facing divisions, all parts of the organization are now involved in transformation, which must happen sooner or later — after all, the customer experience is on the line.

Applied Digital Transformation Strategy: Connecting with Customers When and How They Need to

Providing clients with a seamless experience has become a requirement for any successful customer engagement strategy. The traditional lines of communication remain, but other integrated methods of reaching customer support are gaining popularity. Communicating with prospects and customers using the channel they prefer allows support teams the flexibility to provide assistance wherever and whenever the customer wants. This means engaging customers on social media channels is no longer optional — it’s mandatory, and a simple fact of doing business.

Businesses may find they need to work with customers across multiple social media platforms in order to stay competitive. Twitter is typically used to offer quick responses to general questions, and in addition to other points of customer contact, chat apps such as WhatsApp, Viber, and Facebook Messenger are also a popular option with customers around the world.

In short, the customer must be met where they want to be, whether that’s on social media, via SMS, or using an old-fashioned telephone.

The nature of customer support is also changing rapidly to meet the needs of customers who have come to expect rapid responses. According to CustomerThink, 67 percent of customers expect a reply within 24 hours. A properly implemented digital strategy can help. Chatbots and other automated response tools such as interactive voice response (IVR) can use back-end analytics to serve up useful content in real time. Requests that require human response can be forwarded as appropriate. Organizations that don’t offer quick-response support options are beginning to wither away into the background.

In addition to utilizing these tools, a digital transformation strategy that necessitates efficient customer engagement may also require connecting existing internal systems or building out new ones from scratch.

Bringing Systems Together: Making the Connections

Connecting disparate systems doesn’t have to be a nightmare custom project. Instead, organizations can leverage robust APIs and prebuilt modules to connect existing customer relationship and support systems to social media or other platforms. Tailoring the customer experience can certainly be done without writing every line of code from scratch. Selecting ready-made building blocks can make all the difference, saving both time and work.

Developing a custom solution from scratch that connects to existing systems takes time. However, the time between development and deployment can be reduced significantly with prebuilt APIs, which can serve as a shortcut. Saving precious development time just might make the difference for a development team eager to improve other aspects of the organization’s business needs. According to TechRepublic, IDC recently predicted that digital transformation spending will reach upwards of $1.7 trillion worldwide by 2019. Given this, it makes good sense to carefully consider the time and cost required to build a better customer engagement strategy.

No matter how your organization defines digital transformation, you must have a strategy in place to develop and deploy systems that improve both operations and customer engagement. Selecting tools and processes that meet these goals doesn’t have to be a slow and painful process. Instead, try connecting production-ready modules to your existing systems; spend time analyzing and acting on your data instead of building a custom system—while your competitors gain market share.

In the end, you want to provide the best possible outcome for each of your customers, wherever they are, however they choose to engage you, and in the fastest way possible. You may find that selecting an API-based solution to aid in your digital transformation may meet the needs of your organization — and your customers, too.

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