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Digital Transformation First Step: Customer Journey Experience

At a business conclave held as part of Digital India initiative in Bangalore recently, very interesting questions were put across. A mid-size company which manufactures cooling tubes for Industrial transformers asked, how the company can use Facebook and other social media tools to enhance its presence and make itself more profitable. The question was unique in the sense that it came from an organisation that was in B2B space and in an vertical which is very traditional in nature. This company sells cooling tubes directly to OEMs and also through resellers spread across the country. So, primarily the company customers were OEMs and resellers, and not the upwardly mobile consumers who are being targeted through various channels made available by Digital technologies. Leaving cooling tubes and transformers behind, this question is being raised repeatedly by companies of all shapes and sizes. The question may be worded differently but all pointing towards the same direction, as to how we can digitally transform our business to create value for our customers, delighting them and become a force to reckon in our line of business. The world Digital has also caught up with the companies who are in the old economy, as it is making waves with the start-ups and established enterprises who are wanting to jump on the new bandwagon. Digital Transformation As the word Digital Transformation goes all blaze and guns, it’s important to understand that companies in non tech sector and also those who are late starters may need a solid hand holding to digitally transform themselves. Using standard textbook language, the word Digital Transformation basically translates into– the use of digital technology such as mobility, analytics, social media and smart devices /tablets using embedded technology to improve performance and the reach of enterprises. This transformation is impacting the companies in primarily 3 ways. The first is the way in which a customer interacts with the product/service or the company itself. Second, it is impacting the operational processes, forcing them to become more transparent, efficient and in line with customer experience .Last but not the least, is the impact on the business model ,which are being redesigned to incorporate the changes that are impacting the first 2 transformations. All these 3 transformations impact each other and cannot transform independent of each other. However, as all these transformations are basically customer centric, the most preferred way for a company to start digital transformation should start with the customer first. Hence, for non tech companies who are taking baby steps towards digital transformation, the first and foremost thing that they need to do is to get their customer/partner journey experience mapped and action items prioritized. Customer journey experience Without understanding the customer closely, companies run the risk of aiming it at the wrong targets, wasting time and money on ineffective efforts, and generally failing to harness the potential of digital technology. Following the customer and enabling the customer to interact seamlessly with business using multiple channels is the core part of companies planning digital transformation. The only way this can be achieved is by understanding customer and no better way then mapping the customer journey experience. A Customer journey experience map is a graphical and pictorial representation of a customer’s journey, which elucidates a customer interaction with the product or service or an organisation as he undertakes that journey. The journey map not only captures customer’s physical interaction with the product or service but also his emotional and psychological behaviour during this journey. The process of mapping the customer journey unravels key moments or touch points which when worked upon enhances the good experience and builds a strong bond with the product or service or the organisation. The key moments or touch points identified are a perfect start to an enterprises digital transformation journey. Why customer journey mapping  Every successful business assumes it delivers a great experience to its consumers be it in B2B or B2C space. A recent study concluded that even for successful businesses, only one tenth of their customers agreed that they were delighted with the company or its products/services. This was in contrast to much higher figure that the managers had based on their analysis of customer data using state of the art analytics tools and market research. The reasons for this gap are not difficult to find. In this fast changing business scenarios, a slight change in business process/product or service delivery/ or a slight change in cost structure can make even the most loyal of your customer running for alternatives. This is where customer journey experience mapping becomes very handy, as it captures the emotional and psychological pattern of the customer interaction which is very difficult to understand in absence of customer maps. For companies undergoing digital transformation this becomes the ultimate tool to understand their customers, touch points and then design the transformation in a way that ultimately enhances the overall customer experience. Customer journey experience mapping as the first step  Based on the customer journey experience maps, companies can plan not only to enhance the touch points using multiple channels that are made available by digital technology but also plan on how to make appropriate changes to the existing business process and the business model keeping customer touch points and enhancements in mind.

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