Saturday 6 December 2014

Digital Transformation impacting Customer journey!!

Digital Transformation is omnipresent. It has already been changing our behavior as human beings.

More than ever, Customer expectations matter.  Don't like that app that you just downloaded?  You can give it a bad review.  No response from the developers means lost customers, or worse, going out of business. Such a bad customer experience posted on Twitter, Facebook and various other social media channels can be very detrimental to your brand.

When Customers interact with organizations, they don’t see departments; they see one single organization. They interact across various touch points for product searches, information gathering, price comparisons, reviews, ratings, to finally purchases, and sharing feedback. Digital Transformation will optimize the entire customer journey and help in delivering real results.
Today’s multi-channel customer is:
  • Better informed in real time, digitally
  • More demanding due to loads of information availability
  • Will jump channels at any point with so many options
Let us see what are the major steps in customer journey & which are moments of truths ( customer interactions) that are:
  • Most important to the customer
  • Most painful to the customer
  • Create loyalty 


Aware: With high internet adoption the range of available information is limitless Digital Display adds, TV commercials, Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Foursquare, Instagram, Pinterest, customer campaigns.

Research: Customers are doing research on all the available digital channels for the product they want. Search engines, Online reviews, and comparisons, Social inputs from friends and families.

Consider: Customer considers to buy the product they wish

Buy: Unlike the old days, they buy the product mostly online.

Engage: Organizations engage with customers via Omni-channels such as Calls, Mobiles, Emails, SMS, Surveys, Social Media etc.

Service: Customers decide when, how and by whom they want to be serviced. Automated self-service preferred. Based on the customer experience in this overall journey they become loyal or move on to competition

Companies are identifying such key journeys, gauging their current performance over each touch point, redesigning the customer experience with simplified, standard end to end digital processes. This helps in looking at the business from outside in.

Zipcar, the car rental company maps the customer journey from the first time they go to the website through the last time they ever use one of the cars and decide not to be a member anymore.

Lego understands what is and what is not important to the customer journey and design a “wow” experience to improve it.

Eurostar held a workshop for board members and they were encouraged to role-play even dressing up in costumes in order to map the highs and lows of the customer journey from London to Paris. This helped Eurostar treat business and tourist travelers differently, improved the wow factor, reduced the costs.

Nike does not do advertising anymore as they have become part of personal fitness with digital transformation.

Rather than only cautiously protecting an existing business, companies need to understand the end-user and adopt innovative digital technologies and business practices. There is a need to disrupt your own business early before someone else does.

We live in an end-user-centered world and organizations must recognize that their customers and even employees have higher and ever-evolving expectations.

Understanding these customer journeys, the decisions they make and the feelings they have along the way is an essential part of digital transformation !!

Sunday 19 October 2014

Digital Consumer - a true SuperMan!!

Till the 90s if we wanted to buy the Nike shoes, the only option was to go to the brick and mortar store of the Nike, look at all the shoes kept on the racks, try out the ones we like & buy them. 

Today the scenario is changed drastically – we have Amazon, eBay, Flipkart which shows the complete range of shoes, are they in stock or out of stock, detailed features of each category and above all very attractive or completely free shipping.

Due to this tsunami of information available at fingertips, via so many different channels, Consumer has truly become a Superman as he/she knows more than the product manufacturer.

Today we are surrounded by digital technologies. From school to working environments it has now become impossible to avoid some type of digital culture wherever we are. Young people ages 8 to 18 now spend nearly every waking moment using media more than 8 hours a day, when they are not in school/college.

Digital has fundamentally impacted our lives, as well as the way organizations, carry out their businesses. Big organizations like Apple, Google, Amazon, and Facebook are leading the change, while challengers like Uber (Taxi ridesharing service), Tesla (Electric cars), Airbnb (Rental accommodation in 190 countries) disrupt one industry after the other and giving Consumer the most power to pick and choose.

Unfortunately, several industries and companies didn’t anticipate this digital wave and “lost the game” along the way.
  • Blockbuster Video rentals filed for bankruptcy in 2010 due to digital video streaming competition from Netflix, Redbox.
  • Polaroid instant photo camera company filed for bankruptcy in 2001 due to Digital photography
  • Kodak films filed bankruptcy in 2012 again due to digital cameras
  • Borders bookstore went out of business in 2011 due to the rise of eBooks,
  • Britannica oldest English Encyclopedia stopped the printed edition in 2010
Companies are making all the efforts to meet the consumer at the zero moments of truth. The zero moment of truth is when someone has an interest in a brand and goes online to Google it and the impression they get from all these online touch points that will influence before they even make it to the first moment of truth, that is choosing your brand.

Companies are trying to reach consumers anytime, anyplace, any device. Consumer relationship has changed drastically in the Digital Era. 

With the ubiquity of the Internet and mobile devices, the rise of Social, and Big data Analytics, that relationship has become much more personal. Consumers now expect the same treatment from brands that they used to only get from a neighborhood store. They expect you to remember who they are, tailor their experience, and give them expert advice and recommendations.

Digital is becoming the integral part of our lives with vehicle navigation GPS system, Fitness monitors, wearable devices, beacons, Internet of Things, Connected homes on WiFi, smart watches, smartphones, gaming, e-books etc; you will find we are immersed in Digital life.

Saturday 28 June 2014

Digital Transformation - A need of NOW !!

Today every part of the business is subject to new expectations, competitors, channels, threats and opportunities. Every business has the potential to be a digital business.  

As the numbers of smart, connected devices from phones to cars to wearables are growing, companies that quickly deliver digitally instrumented products or services, those who reap data from market interactions, and use insights to rapidly optimize their value chain are gaining competitive advantage.

Businesses that digitally transform will be able to connect more closely with customers, speed up the pace of innovation and, as a result, claim a greater share of profit in their sectors. Today digitally transformed companies have an edge; tomorrow, only digital businesses will succeed.

Companies like Nike and Burberry have moved from being providers of traditional consumer goods to digital leaders , creating value across physical / digital products, services, and experience.
It's the digital lives of customers that are changing the rules of engagement, and Customer’s loyalty grow stronger for the brands that keep pace.

As per MIT Sloan Management Review article, there are 3 pillars & 9 building blocks for Digital Transformation:

Transform Customer Experience:
  • Improve Customer Understanding with Analytics – customer behavior,  segmentation
  • Enhance Top-Line Growth with digital products like smart Phone, iPads, real time predictive marketing
  • Digitized Customer Touch Points – Social media analytics to answer complaints, self service via Apps, increased multi-channel usage
Transform Operational Processes:
  • Process Digitization with automation, adding new features
  • Staff Enablement with virtualization of work space working anytime, anywhere
  • Performance Management decision making based on data with deeper insights into Customers, Products, Regions
Transform Business Models:
  • Digitally Modified Businesses – augment physical with digital offerings, share contents across organization
  • Introduce New Digital Businesses – Nike introduced fuel bands
  • Digital Globalization – use of Global shared services to promote efficiency, from multi-national to global presence
As a recent BusinessWeek article, “ rivals Wal-Mart as a store, Apple as a device maker, and IBM as a data services provider.”  The company evolved from an online bookseller to a leader in cloud computing and infrastructure-as-a-service in large part because of a mandate set forth by its CEO Jeff Bezos in 2002.

With recent launch of Surface Pro 3, Seattle Children's Hospital selected it to replace their existing laptop devices, which provides its clinicians with a modern, touch-enabled user interface for electronic medical record management while also allowing adherence to HIPAA and other strict security regulations in healthcare.

El Camino Hospital significantly expanded patient online "self-serve" payment, reduced operational costs, and raised patient satisfaction. There was a 16 times increase in patient self service via online payments, 40% staff time reduction on payments & collections.

Starbucks has kicked off a digitally-enabled cross-plan, cross-channel rewards program, a capability that will able to earn “My Starbucks Rewards” stars for purchases of Starbucks packaged coffee in grocery channels & they are processing roughly 4.5 million mobile transactions a week.

Nestle sales over 1.2 billion items daily across 8000+ brands which we all know from Nescafe, Kitkat, Maggie, Pure Life Bottled water. Bruno Villetelle – Global head of Digital services brought in Digital mantra on Listening, Engaging, Inspiring & Transforming. “Digital acceleration’ staff works not only on social media promotion, but also on damage control and reputation management.

Domino’s Pizza doesn’t use mobile as just another sales channel. It’s a branding tool.

Companies in all industries and regions are experimenting with — and benefiting from — Digital Transformation using Social Media, Mobility, Big Data Analytics & Cloud.

Adapting quickly to this change is becoming a make-or-break proposition for many companies worldwide.

Digital is the new normal now!!!

Saturday 17 May 2014

Big Data Analytics to supercharge Sales !!

In the post-recession slow growth world, profitability is back on the agenda. 

Customers have more information at hand than sellers; organization should not rely on gut feeling to sell. Sales agents often spend much time on the prospects who are not likely to buy or who won’t buy enough products. 

What they need is to have the real time information at their fingertips of who is the customer, what are their intentions, interactions, transaction history to make a profitable impact at the first moment of truth.
With today’s advances in every field of life, most of our interactions as customers or vendors get recorded through digital world and we create humongous data points. The data that is generated in this fashion is massive in volume, comes from multiple sources and in multiple formats such as audios, videos, chats, text messages, picture files, system logs, social media posts like tweets, fb posts etc.

Current CRM or database systems are not designed to take this huge amount of data, of variety of formats and process it to show trends and establish correlations, efficiently.

Big Data has emerged to handle such demands and have been greatly responsible of many success stories at large organizations such as Google, Cisco, MetLife, Wal-Mart,, Forbes etc.

We all know the great example of Amazon Cross-Sell using Big data of massive click streams and historical purchasing data from over 150+ million customer accounts, tie that up with over 1.5 billion items in their retail catalog and more than 200 fulfillment centers around the world to produce an improved world class recommendation engine for personalized sale to each customer.

Intel on the other hand developed a big data analytics predictive engine to identify which re-sellers have greatest potential for high volume sales.

Wal-Mart is using Big data to increase their sales by creating Social Genome to reach customers or friends of customers by analyzing their social footprints.

Salesforce had acquired ExactTarget to make every customer interaction a personalized relationship.

CustomerMatrix is helping organizations by collecting all the structured and unstructured data available there combined with prescriptive analytics to create action alerts to increase revenues.

Infer combined internal company data with external data such as employee count, social presence, job openings, company size etc and built personalized predictive models to score each lead to convert to have most revenue impact.

Retailers are using customer’s smartphone signals and in-house surveillance camera video streams to see where customer go in their stores, which products they look at, to design better product placements and encourage customers to stay longer and buy products.

It will more prudent to use Big data analytics to increase sales by gathering customer feedback even before the sale.  By following the customer on his/her 3 stage decision making journey from trigger (compel him to look for the solution to his problem), research (become as knowledgeable about customer’s problem & solutions as possible) & purchase (make an impression on customer as thought leader & trusted advisor to his problem) stage, sales teams can supercharge the sell.

Sunday 30 March 2014

How Marketers can benefit from Big data Analytics !

Internet explosion has enabled organizations to go closer to their customers & do a super personalized communication. 

People now spend more time on the internet than any other form of entertainment.  The demand for internet capable devices like smartphones, tablets have increased exponentially.  Most of the people are buying products online or compare products online.

Customers spend hours on the internet and leave behind millions of tweets, posts, likes, links, images, videos, chats, comments, surveys, blogs.

Businesses need to use this all big data forms to get a 360 view of the customer for marketing.

  • Behavioral data that has orders, transactions, and other customer activity as recorded by the business
  • Interaction data including email, chat transcripts, self-declared information, and records of calls between the business and customers and web click streams.
  • Attitudinal data including opinions, preferences, needs, and desires. These are often discovered through survey responses or social media data.
  • Financial data that is present in the company’s internal systems such as sales, revenues, profits.
This big data can make a substantial impact to:
  • Increase Customer retention and loyalty - helps you discover what influences customer loyalty and why they keep coming back again and again.
  • Improve Customer engagement - Helps you understand who your customers are, where they are, what they want, how they want to be contacted and when.
  • Marketing optimization helps you determine the optimal marketing spend across multiple channels
Let us see some examples of how Big data is making an impact on Marketing for cross-sell &up-sell.

You are familiar with both cross-selling and up-selling if you’ve ever visited a fast-food restaurant like McDonald. “Would you like fries with that?” is an example of cross-selling. “Would you like to super-size your order?” is up-selling.

Almax has created "smart mannequins" that have cameras for eyes and analyze shoppers' faces to detect age, gender, ethnicity, and a variety of other characteristics.

Sony mixed modern big data, social media analytics, and old-school marketing such as direct mail email marketing — and generated 300% more sales than control groups. They used their customer database & found out their strong social networks, influencers. A campaign was targeted to these influencers which is termed as viral marketing.

eBay is using “my Feed” so they can follow categories of items for newest listings.

Netflix is using real-time processing for digital marketing to its customers.

Walmart created WalmarLabs, created a search engine to understand what someone is searching for and goes through millions of tweets, Facebook’s likes, blog posts and more to detect purchase intent and boost sales.

Tripadvisor is using clickstream analysis to analyze what more than 56 million monthly visitors want and make them happy.

Visualize the scenario where you walk into your favorite apparel store like Gap or Target. Surveillance cameras mounted on the door immediately detect who you are and instantly beam identifying information to the in-store sales associates. An app on the sales associate's iPad then correlates all of your shopping characteristics such as loyalty, past purchases, cross-channel preferences, service incidents, and social media footprint and provides your consolidated view. With this information, a sales associate walks up to you as you are entering the store, greets you by name, and inquires about your most recent purchase. This level of personalized attention dramatically alters an individual's in-store shopping experience…and it's not that far-fetched…………

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