Digital transformation and the customer experience
Digital transformation is one of those terms that you hear far more about than you actually see in action. Many organisations talk a good game, but those that have a coherent and strategic plan for their digital transformation are few and far between.
And that really is hard to understand why. Digital informs absolutely everything that consumers do in 2016, so surely that means digital should be informing how brands interact with those consumers and the type of customer experience they deliver? That doesn’t mean merely adding additional employees to the social media customer service team, it means using digital as the basis for offering a first-class and integrated customer experience, across all channels.
Who out there is walking the walk and really delivering on digital transformation strategy, and what should brands look for as they continue (or embark) on their digital transformation journey?
Customer experience, Pizza Hut-style
I recently read a fantastic example of a company that appears to have addressed its digital transformation with the utmost efficiency and effectiveness. Pizza Hut is an organisation that has always been known for the quality of its customer experience and its digital work is the perfect case in point.
Because its customers are increasingly browsing and buying online, it stands to reason that digital is a key driver of growth. But what’s interesting about Pizza Hut’s use of digital is that it is aiming to ensure the same consistency across all touch points and that it can deliver a seamless online to offline experience.
Karen Chan, Chief Digital Officer for Pizza Hut Restaurants Asia P/L, explains further:
“Digital transformation is not just about enhancing customer experience, but it is also about enabling operational efficiencies for our team members. With dine-in restaurants being a substantial part of Pizza Hut's portfolio, improving in-store dining experience is a key metric for overall customer satisfaction.”
Omnichannel remains the benchmark
Too many organisations have got bogged down in the digital customer experience itself, rather than using data captured from digital interactions to deliver the insight required for an omnichannel experience. Brands have perhaps seen too many social media scare stories, where a bad customer experience is shared quickly and widely with the customer’s social networks. This has led to an over-emphasis on delivering a good experience customer service via Twitter and Facebook. Such practice is not sustainable.
Firstly, while there are billions of consumers on social networks, customer service interactions happen via a number of channels – social media is by no means the largest. Secondly, social media is simply not that effective in addressing queries and delivering a good customer experience. The format is very limiting and agents will mostly steer the customer towards chat as a matter of course anyway.
So digital must part of an overall omnichannel strategy that aims to give consumers a positive experience irrespective of channel. This remains the benchmark for a first-class customer experience and one that Pizza Hut seems to be well on the way to achieving. Digital transformation is an on-going process but ensuring you are headed in the right direction (ominchannel) is the best way to approach things.
Mike Hughes is MD at PeopleTECH and one of the UK’s foremost customer experience experts, having worked for and consulted companies such Thomas Cook, BskyB and France Telecom on how best to deliver a first-class experience to their customers.