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Latest 27 Feb 2019 | Customer Experience

2018's Digital Transformation Has Made 2019 a Digital World

We hardly need to tell you that in today’s day and age, technology plays a huge part in our everyday lives.

Just consider how many hours you and your peers spend on smartphones, in front of computers, or interacting with touchless interfaces.

As tech companies continue to find ways to make our lives easier and more enjoyable, it’s up to brands to keep up and provide the product advancements that customers expect. And as things accelerate, the worst thing that can happen to a brand is to fall behind. Today, many are.

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Digital leaders versus digital laggards

Laggards are companies that aren’t keeping pace with their industry’s technological advancements. Many are businesses that once led but are now falling behind – forfeiting profit to their digital leader counterparts. For example, Xerox, the once eponymous maker of copiers, or BlackBerry, once a top manufacturer of smart devices.

Every industry has its laggards – from hospitality and aviation to financial services and energy. And you don’t want to be among them.

According to CIO.com, companies that rank as digital leaders have an average gross margin of 55 percent while laggards only earn 37 percent. The need to stay at the forefront of digital innovation isn’t going to go away anytime soon, either. Consider this your rousing call. If you think your organization is in danger of lagging, it’s time for more change. And change isn’t a one-time fix.

As many companies are learning, digital transformation isn’t an event but rather a journey. In order for it to work, companies must invest in the infrastructure to continuously transform. Because, by the time they’ve adapted, they often must adapt again.

Look at Porsche, which launched a company-wide initiative to double down on its digital transformation initiatives, hoping to become the leading provider of digital services in the auto industry. It produced Porsche Digital, an entirely new business unit dedicated to detecting digital trends among car companies worldwide as soon as they happen, ensuring that Porsche never gets stuck behind a technological stoplight, so to speak.

Porsche Digital is the company-wide equivalent of hiring a Chief Digital Officer and moving to the cloud. The company knows that it’s not the change itself but the ability to change that will keep it innovative. And that sort of ambition requires a new set of tools.

Leaders earn a margin of 55 percent while laggards only earn 37 percent.

Is your infrastructure agile?

Today, Facebook Messenger is the top brand messaging platform, and customers use it to send over one billion messages to businesses each month. But what about tomorrow?

As customers expect ever easier support solutions, brands will need to continue to anticipate what their audience will need next before they’re even aware that they need it. Rather than build their support infrastructure around Facebook Messenger, brands need to build their infrastructure around a portal that handles all messengers. Much like a diversified financial portfolio, this reduces risk and helps them stay ahead of a rapidly evolving market.

At Conversocial, we run into this all the time. Fortune 500 brands begin to lag and invest in customer support infrastructure to catch up. But soon, their multi-million dollar phone system that was once state of the art becomes obsolete, and the story repeats. Far better to invest in software and partner with vendors that are innovating for the brand.

"
The combination of human agents +AI over messaging will transform the customer service industry over the next couple of years, enabling brands to deliver superior service with reduced costs in 2019 we'll see this become the standard model.
"
Joshua March - CEO & Founder, Conversocial

Agile infrastructure starts with agile people

Your people have to keep up to. You may have invested in a new team of social-savvy agents five years ago, but are they adapting to a world of chatbots or smart speakers? Not only must your employees be good at what they do, they must be comfortable adapting and keeping up with the expanding digital marketplace.

Companies must constantly re-skill employees to keep their support competitive. Many customer service career tracks now prepare employees for the future, with ongoing education like Forrester’s CX course that teaches not only to prepare for, but to expect, rapid marketplace shifts. Remaining the expert in your field as technology is constantly changing around you isn’t always easy. But it is necessary.

Growing accustomed to fast-paced digital world now is a requirement for companies hoping to hold their own in the marketplace. Digital transformation will only occur in tighter and tighter cycles and those who understand how to change continuously will be the leaders not only of tomorrow, but all the tomorrows after that.

For more on the digital world and its impact on digital customer experience, check out our latest State of Digital Customer Experience Report 2019:

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