Digital business transformation: determining the customer needs and ways to maintain a competitive advantage2020 11 23
Today, customers expect to be able to buy and use the products or services whenever it is most convenient, and through the channels and equipment they prefer. Therefore, businesses wishing to provide the best customer experience should employ solutions that will bring them closer to achieving these goals.
A digital business transformation is often limited to a company’s website and online shop, but changes in the customer needs and the desire to maintain a competitive advantage are demanding a bigger effort.
Omnichannel platform solutions are playing an important role in the IT strategy for those business sectors that involve a larger number of users. These solutions open up new opportunities for growing a business. For example, the business processes can be connected and managed collectively, while a channel infrastructure will receive and analyse information about the customers and any channel they may use to create personalised and automatised offers, and integration with other systems is ensured. In other words, such solutions provide customers with the experience they expect from a modern business.
International research, business and audit companies have a number of different definitions for omnichannel platforms. For example, Gartner defines an omnichannel as an integration of the digital and physical tools typically used in the sales process. Meanwhile, Oracle claims that an omnichannel ensures that a customer’s every action contains a sense of integrity, which is derived from a brand that already knows the customer – this integrity allows the brand to predicting the customer’s needs even before the customer knows those needs.
This may all seem very complicated; therefore, let us illustrate the process using the example of a bank. If the bank wants to provide its customers with services not only in person but also online, which is an inevitable provision in 2020, it needs to manage the many different communication channels that could be used to communicate with its customers. Various measures are used for communicating with a customer, such as a website, mobile application, online banking system, Facebook, contacting the customer online, etc. However, all of these channels are essentially designed to provide existing or additional services.
In omnichannel platforms, the different channels are combined to create one common ecosystem. The customers will not notice any difference – all the communication channels on their side remain the same. However, such a solution has great added value for the business. All customer enquiries can be managed on a single platform, resulting in unified communication, quicker responses and an improved performance.
At the same time, the omnichannel platform opens up opportunities to conveniently offer customers additional services or goods. This solution allows a company to monitor the consumers of its services or products, to identify their needs, changes and other information relevant to the business provision, and to react promptly. Special algorithms, machine learning and artificial intelligence allow additional benefits for the customers to be discovered that may not have been considered before. All of these actions can help expand the business boundaries, while increasing sales and consumer loyalty, and can attract new customers.
Omnichannel platforms also enable businesses to save money. By managing one system instead of a few, or even a few dozen, the operational costs and the human resource requirements are reduced.
The key advantages of an omnichannel platform can be summarised as follows:
- Mobile customer experience – mobile devices are increasingly used to purchase products or services
- Personalised experience for each customer on any channel – businesses can optimise the customer experience based on the demands of each channel
- Fast and timely result – real-time decision-making leads to greater speed and efficiency
- Unified information – consumers are provided with unified information on every channel
Recent research is helping to identify the key businesses and industries where omnichannel solutions are irrelevant, less relevant or highly relevant. It has been determined that this service is most relevant for the commercial, financial, health, postal and telecommunications industries, as well as the retail market. These businesses typically have more than 250 employees and manage at least 5 potential sales channels. One of the most striking examples of such a business operating on the market today is the trade giant Amazon.
However, it is important to know that implementing a unified system should not start with the technical work, but with planning the customer journey. As a result, the process of creating an omnichannel platform requires a lot of customer involvement and time. A digitisation partner is not enough, as the attention of IT, marketing and sales professionals is also required.
The golden rule still applies – the consumer is king. The goal of a business is to give its consumers as many benefits as possible, in return for the desired response. Different customers in different markets call for different solutions; therefore, we never recommend a universal solution, as the latest business digitisation options should be adapted to meet your needs.
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