In these uncertain times, marketers know more than ever that the digital customer experience is paramount, and that effective technology and data-driven insights are the way to provide the personalized experience customers expect. But it’s a tough environment if you’re the executive responsible for advancing that digital mindset.
How tough? Marketers continue to face the challenges of managing physical and digital interfaces with both customers and employees, and dealing with growing data privacy regulations. At the same time, the global economy remains wobbling on the brink of recession.
Reflecting that widespread economic uncertainty, business leaders rate the current severity and magnitude of risks at the highest level in more than a decade, according to a survey of more than 1,300 executives by Protiviti and North Carolina State University’s ERM Initiative. Company leaders are most concerned about finding and keeping talent. In addition, leaders are worried that organizational culture may not sufficiently encourage the timely identification of key market opportunities, and that resistance to change may get in the way of positive operations.
That can be particularly true when it comes to supporting digital priorities. Everyone understands, particularly in our everything-everywhere-all-at-once digital market, that personalization is the key to a great customer experience. Marketers have invested in many of the needed tools, and even connected some of the pipes.
But companies need to take a hard look at how their digital operations function—or don’t—and clean up or retool those processes to deliver those effective, relevant personalized communications to the end consumer. It’s critical to view technology not just as a means to transact with a customer, but as the way to deliver a stellar customer experience and drive long-term customer value.
Fixing old problems, missing new solutions
Meeting customer expectations demands that digital tools, skills and expertise are integrated across an organization. We get it. You’ve heard this before. It’s expensive, and hard, and teams have limited bandwidth.
But too often what we hear from clients is: Something is broken and we need to fix it.
What ends up happening is that companies are so busy fixing the old problems that they don’t take the time to step back and figure out the new solutions that innovate their digital operations moving forward.
The longer you hold off, what you’re really missing is the ability to flex and be agile when new opportunities come up. That might be new revenue streams, new ways to engage with customers, and new insights that improve business results. Avoiding the situation is not just about the impact of the technical debt that’s accrued, and the resources needed to keep the systems going or to make emergency repairs.
We think it’s a good time to get your digital house in order. Start spending and working smarter, taking advantage of automated tools that help deliver relevant information to your customers. It’s time to work on the small things that prevent you from leveraging the tools you already have, or that get in the way of jumping on the next best tool when it’s available.
Some of that work will be connecting technology horizontally within the organization. Yes, silos exist, but not all marketing systems are completely siloed. There is always a handoff point somewhere; good problem-solvers can find those and make stronger connections, to provide better integration, economies of scale, data sharing and, again, ultimately a more seamless experience for the customer.
Leveraging human potential with technology
In addition, of course, taking stock of your digital operations can improve workflows and help your tech team. The systems need to be in place, but ultimately the people do the work. Are they getting the support they need? In the wake of so many demands to connect employees in the new hybrid workplaces, as well as accelerating consumer interfaces, your digital team is likely to be overworked and stretched thin.
There’s so much human potential that’s ready to be unleashed to help you generate customer value. So, instead of dealing with system breakdowns your team can be analyzing data to identify trends, to meet and to anticipate consumer demands and expectations. But they need the right resources and support from the top.
If you’re still on the fence and overwhelmed by the task at hand, consider this: Are your technology and digital operations doing the job to build customer value? Would you avoid being marketed to by your own company? Is there another division in your organization that’s doing the same thing you are, using different tools or even the same tools?
If the answer is “yes” to any of those questions, it’s time to take a serious look at the connection between your technology and the customer experience it delivers. And there’s no time like the present.