Doing it: Getting Started

Even though each company will start from a unique position in their digital journey, we believe that the best way to start is to get a quick win by improving the customer experience. There are three critical steps to getting those first wins.

Customer intelligence

Many people believe that obtaining a single view of the customer—“Customer 360”—is where you want to be long-term. But getting there takes considerable change in technology, data, and governance. As an alternative a “Customer 180” allows you to gather the data you currently have and any new data you can reasonably acquire (without additional investment) about your customers, and ask colleagues in other departments to do the same. Begin to frame the conversation around an individual customer's experience with your entire brand, rather than around a single part of that customer's journey that is controlled by one internal group. Look for what’s duplicated, missing, and new—and put it in an Excel spreadsheet. Then share that consolidated data with everyone in the organization.

Use all of the information to run targeted campaigns or sales efforts. You don’t need to rip out and install new databases or cloud architecture, or hire folks to do this. You’ll need to make a capital investment in customer data management eventually, but using the systems and data you currently have from across your organization provides valuable context to your customers, and doesn’t cost much. It also demonstrates, from the beginning, the value of combined customer insights, which is a powerful way to develop and maintain organizational interest in further digitization efforts. It may not be perfect or real-time, but Customer 180 can be enough to start increasing revenue.

 Measure the right things

Many companies will set out to collect data such as the number of website visitors, downloads, or sales leads. Our experience shows that such data is hard to get and yields little real intelligence about the customer. In an attempt to get better performance, many organizations have KPIs associated with their function and not the integrated customer experience. Those lead to a suboptimal measure of the company and do not address the customer as a whole.

A better approach is to create KPIs that have revenue impact. Validate them to see if they do or don't. Then, trace their relationship to other metrics. A clearer picture about the usefulness of your metrics will begin to emerge along with better insights into costs. The goal is to develop a simple, measurable, integrated, and traceable set of attributes that you can marry with your Customer 180 efforts to tell the story of how those efforts impact your revenue goals.

Speed is critical

Whether a company begins its digital transformation by improving the customer experience, developing new products and services, or improving internal processes (or a combination of all three), speed is critical. Instead of taking the traditional, linear approach to rolling out new initiatives, companies should quickly bring new ideas to market, gather customer feedback, and refine the concept iteratively. Many accomplish this by means of the minimum viable product (MVP) process of prototyping.

The MVP process is based on the idea of the “good enough” product. Rather than trying to perfect new products or services internally during the development stage, the company instead aims to get them to market quickly, with just enough features included to make them functional. That allows the company to minimize its investment, test the new products and services in the real world (instead of in artificial settings such as focus groups), and refine them using customer feedback. For example, the initial versions of apps and online stores are often quite basic, with new features and functions added over time, depending on how the products are used by customers.