By Helen Murray, Chief Customer Solutions Officer at Webhelp UK
Digital culture is fast becoming a buzz word in the corporate world and is more prevalent in our lives than ever before. Businesses are having to keep up with growing demands from consumers to make services available across a range of channels.
For businesses looking to create and develop a digital culture, the customer should be at the heart of all initiatives, with their perspective considered every step of the way. Furthermore, organisations should strive to provide the best possible customer experience across all channels. A true omni-channel customer experience is provided when departments are integrated and ‘speak’ to one another offering a seamless customer service experience.
Customers no longer engage on a single channel; they hop across and between channels, even in a single issue. Thus it’s critical to provide a cohesive brand experience irrespective of whether the channel used is physical (in-store), traditional digital (Internet) or new digital (Social Media). Having a digital culture is critical, but having it to the exclusion of all other channels is not conducive to an efficient and first-class customer service experience.
Here are my top tips for establishing and growing a digital culture.
1. Establish a team to look after digital
As more and more organisations wake up to the commercial and reputational impact of customer experience, it goes without saying that there needs to be an organisational unit which is focused on the digital world in the same way that retail stores will have a focused operational group. Implementing such a structure will enable digital to interface seamlessly with the rest of the organisation, preventing it from becoming a ‘siloed’ unit.
At the simplest level, digital is just another customer engagement channel. However, it needs to serve the other areas of the organisation as well as driving specific digital goals such as sales and self-service. Senior management representation is essential to ensure that internal “customers” are able to leverage the channel. There has been a move in recent years to have a C-suite position in charge of customer experience; we believe this is vital as brand reputation is dependent on customer experiences on all channels.
2. Be smart with your information
Businesses need to be smarter about how information is captured, disseminated and analysed. Vital insights can be gained from mining big data. In many organisations we see data spread across the organisation in unconnected data marts. A single view of the customer is absolutely essential to be able to learn from insights gained through this view. Using advanced methods such as predictive analytics to project how customers will behave and help improve the experience provided to individual customers but to do this, businesses have to have data.
Organisations can maximise value by modelling data to allow for cross correlation of both structured and unstructured data. This will drive insight and intelligence about the customer, their journey, behaviours and outcomes along with the process and skills in the business which will underpin these outcomes.
There are huge insights to be gained from analysing conversations verbatim, utilising voice and text analytics to truly understand customers’ emotions, frustrations and behaviours and combining that with more traditional structured data analytics.
Data is also required to measure and report the impact of digital channel. It is useful for addressing aspects such as, can customer demand be handled more effectively on digital channels than traditional voice? Are the expected benefits being achieved? If not has the experience been set up right?
3. Get buy in from the board
Having the right representation at board level is also critical to the success of a digital culture. This needs to be balanced with customer experience representation across all channels to ensure that all customer engagements consistently reflect and represent the brand. Having this level of representation will ensure that digital and customer experience remains top of mind for everyone and encourages the kinds of conversations all around the organisation which makes digital part of the DNA instead of being a “special” topic.
4. Commitment is key
When establishing a digital culture, commitment is key. Achieving this prominence takes time to fully identify and enumerate the critical importance of the digital channels. Once this is understood then it is essential that digital is DNA. It is essential to ensure that digital is a service to the organisation and has representation into each of the core business operating units.
Funding or budget should be addressed head on as often digital is expected to stand on its own two feet. These days digital is not a standalone channel, it needs to be interwoven into an omni-channel experience and its impact on all areas of an organisation cannot be underestimated.
A further point that should be stressed here is that organisations wishing to excel in a fully integrated digital landscape need to create an environment which encourages individuals and operating units to engage, collaborate and experiment with digital channels.