Fueling a Culture for Digital Transformation

There’s no doubt that the pressure of rapidly evolving technology has affected business culture. The speed at which changes are being adapted is increasing, which means that businesses who embrace a less top-down culture and open up to more collaborative and creative forms of entrepreneurship are in a position to be more successful. That’s because, the majority of business leaders aren’t IT buffs and need the buy-in of their entire teams as well as the assistance of outside resources in order to implement better practices that adapt to new technologies.

This is true for all sectors: marketing, product management, customer service, human resources and more. Customers expect businesses to make use of data to offer them personalized advertising. They expect to be able to reach customer service representatives on social media, SMS and live chat and, in a culture where the internet doesn’t sleep, they also want instant replies. They expect to be able to interact with your business on their mobile phones with the same ease and speed as on their desktops.

Consumers also expect their favorite brands to keep up with technological evolution and to offer something new, cool and competitive. This becomes increasingly difficult to deliver in a world where the process of concept to product takes time, during which new technologies are emerging that may challenge the utility of your product-in-progress. Product leader and IoT expert Daniel Elizalde advises product managers that “Technology is moving at light speed. There are so many new trends that it is hard to keep up. But we must. Otherwise we run the risk of releasing a product that will soon be obsolete.” Never before has the term “forward-thinking” been so apt or so essential. Interestingly, Elizalde also advocates for “build[ing] a PM tribe” by collaborating and sharing information with other product managers in this relatively new profession where there are no handbooks or rules and where “knowledge lies with practitioners.”

77%
of Millennials say that sub-optimal application performance affects their ability to achieve their personal best, compared with just half of Boomers.
– Nimble Storage

Even markets as traditional and conservative as finance are seeing a revolution with the rise of Fintech. From 2014 to 2015, Fintech grew from an already impressive $12 billion startup industry to a $20 billion dollar startup industry, a 66 percent increase in just one year. What makes Fintech successful is that it’s driven by the principles of convenience, technology and democratization. Fintech offers customers alternatives to traditional banking with applications that put the power of decision and information in their hands. Services like Transferwise allow customers to transfer money across borders at a fraction of the cost of a traditional bank and all with just a few taps on their mobile. Companies like Acorn, and Nutmeg, online investment apps that make the days of walking into a physical bank to talk to an investment advisor in person seem antiquated. These services open financial knowledge to a wider spectrum of people, changing the model of exclusivity that many traditional banks are built on.

Technology isn’t just pushing changes in products and services. It’s also changing internal practices. As the millennial generation starts to round out its adult years, it soon will account for 40% of the workforce in the United States. That means businesses will soon be primarily staffed by employees widely characterized as both technologically savvy and extraordinarily ambitious. Polls and studies on millennial work ethic and values continuously point to their desire to “grow in their jobs” and “become leaders”. Millennials also tend to take a holistic approach to their jobs, they want to know how they fit into the context of the entire structure rather than being content to be cogs in a wheel. Mentorship and professional evolution are some of their core values.

They also want companies to offer them the technological tools that foster such evolution. In fact, 77 percent of millennials feel the lack of optimal technology prevents them from achieving their potential at work (as compared to only 50% of baby boomers who felt that way).

As CH Digital founder and digital transformation consultant Chris Hood noted, “Business and technology is converging. Individuals who understand them both will be extremely successful.” That’s why the US’s top business schools are focusing more and more on technology. Those students running off to the Technology Club meeting at MIT, Stanford, Berkeley-Hass, Wharton, Kellogg, Duke’s Fuqua and Harvard Business School aren’t IT students, they’re MBA students. MBA programs are staying relevant by fostering the union of business and technology with cutting edge technological courses and resources.

Businesses who develop a culture that embraces the adaptations necessary to compete in this new landscape characterized by digital optimization and human collaboration will reap the benefits. Those who insist on maintaining business as usual will fall behind.

Digital Transformation Starts with Embracing Change

Making major changes is never easy for any business. But the costs of change usually bring their own rewards. In the case of digital transformation, advances in the way we use data, how we relate to each other via social media, and our rapid adaptation of mobile and connected devices all mean that businesses are being obligated to adopt new processes in order to keep up. Organizations who embrace these changes also see an opportunity to leverage these advances in their favor.

Changes are being made both internally (within the workplace) and externally (customer relations and marketing). As technology evolves, customers have different expectations of how they can interact with businesses. Today, they want to be able to use their mobile devices to research, shop and receive customer service support. In fact, mobile is so important that in 2015, Google started taking into consideration a website’s mobile-friendliness when determining its page rank. That means that businesses who haven’t adapted their sites for mobile compatibility have fallen in the rankings, making it more difficult for customers to find their business in a Google search. But mobile-friendliness doesn’t only affect your search-ability. A poorly designed mobile site means trouble for business when you consider that 61 percent of mobile users won’t revisit a site they had difficulty accessing while another 40 percent will go to a competitor’s site instead.

Another area that’s seen a massive digital transition in recent years is customer service. Call centers are being replaced by omni-channel support, a form of customer service that offers a variety of platforms (live chat, text, social media, video chat and more) to choose from. The key to omni-channel is integrating all of those customer service platforms to offer a seamless experience that allows the customer to switch channels without ever having to repeat information. Businesses who have invested heavily in omni-channel have reported as high as 89 percent customer retention rate. As customers become more accustomed to the choice and convenience omni-channel offers them, they’ll be less satisfied with businesses who don’t offer such services while those who step up will be reaping the rewards in customer retention.

We are now in the age of personalization with information on customer preferences, demographics, location, purchase history and behaviors being curated to offer more and more personalized and targeted marketing. That’s because our access to data has also seen an exponential increase with our ability to collect data quickly and to apply it effectively having evolved significantly. Personalization is an effective marketing strategy with 66 percent of consumers affirming that personalization affects their decision to purchase a product. As the speed and accuracy of data synchronization increases, personalization will only become more important.

Internal processes are also improved by the adoption of new technologies. The rise of remote work, is a great example of how companies who embrace digital transformations have been able to thrive. In 2015, 45 percent of American employees did some type of remote work. As the traditional office landscape changes and remote work becomes more common, communication tools are more important than ever. Programs that allow for collaboration on projects from disperse staff members, file-sharing, texting and messaging, in-company social media platforms, virtual staff meetings and more all make it possible to run successful remote businesses. Here are some tools that you could check out. In case you’re wondering, it’s not just tech companies that have aced the remote team business model. Ignition Law, a law firm startup that uses an all-remote team has had enormous success, servicing 200 clients in their first year? By employing qualified lawyers who want to work remotely, they’re able to cut costs by up to 60% of competing law offices. How’s that for embracing change?

As our world becomes more and more data driven, businesses who spearhead digital transformations will be making their way to the front of the pack as industry leaders. Where do you want your business to be?

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Why shoppers abandon online carts

In e-commerce, shopping cart abandonment is ubiquitous. A meta-analysis conducted by the Baymard Institute found that about 70 percent of all online shopping carts are abandoned.

Chris Hood discussed this issue along with several ideas around what to do about it with Joni Sweet at NCR Silver.

“If you’re able to capture their email, you can also send them a message and ask why they abandoned the cart. Offer them a 20 percent discount for completing the survey. That way, you’re incentivizing them to give you the information you need and it might turn into a sale.”

If you do business online and have a shopping cart to manage, ch.digital can help you identify areas that are challenging your conversion rates. Product pricing, A/B testing, surveys, personalized experiences and ongoing evaluation of your pipeline should be continuously improved. Want to learn more? Read the article and some of our other articles around customer experience.

Digital Transformation Trends in 2017

Customer experience and technology must be treated as a shared relationship. At the core of a digital strategy, both must rely on each other to thrive. Creating exceptional experiences depend on businesses understanding these key trends to transform into digitally mature organizations.

CH Digital Transformation Trends 2017