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Five pillars to connect with your digital customer

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The speed of technological change is both an opportunity and a challenge for businesses. Customers experience your company through products and services and this, combined with a constantly evolving digital landscape, has had a dramatic impact on the way businesses need to approach digital transformation.

Adapting to the expectations of the digital customer (individual, enterprise, vendor, partner, and distributor) is crucial to success. Most organisations have already digitised to some degree and are seeing productivity gains as a result. In the PwC 2021 CEO surveys, 81% plan to increase long-term investment  much more that can be done.  in digital transformation initiatives over the next three years as a result of COVID-19.

Here in New Zealand, we see this challenge first hand. Many big box retailers can operate online at different levels of lockdown, however the ability to execute the end-to-end sale and delivery of the goods is challenged by a non-digital supply chain. This leads to higher overheads and brand challenges when they are unable to fulfill and deliver on an order.

Businesses need to have digitisation across their end-to-end process. Having a website can be a start of a digital journey, but it’s only a channel and a window into your organisation. It’s the whole backend solution that’s important to truly understand and get right.

Here we look at the five key pillars essential to connect with the digital customer.

Evolve your business – form and implement a digital strategy that aims to connect with customers and ensures a positive, dynamic customer experience.  Focus on customer experience design, multichannel integration and streamlining operations.

Create new value – generate innovative ideas from within the business and priortise the fast identification of products. Test these in the market and use feedback to improve the product, mitigate brand or operational risk, and to identify new revenue streams.

Protect – with the increased reliance on digital assets, ensure that you protect your business and reduce the risks associated with online security and cyber crime.  Consider performing compliance assessments, security assessments and developing risk mitigation and breach response plans.

Accelerate – leverage cloud infrastructure and mobile, social and web solutions to streamline operations and processes. For example, low code automation tools require very little coding knowledge and enable a business to develop customised applications.

Know your customers – use available customer data to understand your customers’ expectations. You can use this to formulate a digital strategy that connects with the customer. This isn’t a set and forget though, feedback should be used to ensure continuous improvement.

Change is expensive and a full systems pivot may not be an option. Start with a balanced approach that addresses short-term pain points and plans for long-term digitisation strategies.  For example, leveraging low code automation tools can be an effective way to alleviate immediate inefficiencies, while the business can perform systems reviews and consider next steps in the implementation of change.

You cannot transform a business through technology alone, and neglecting the needs of people is often the single source of failure for technology transformations. Keeping your people and your customers at the heart of everything you do, will enable you to successfully embark on your digital transformation journey.

The comments in this article are of a general nature and should not be relied on for specific cases.

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About Author

Hayden Farrow

Hayden Farrow is a PwC Partner based in the Waikato office. Email: hayden.d.farrow@nz.pwc.com