By Carole Layzell
There was a time when we could consider digital transformation and physical customer experience separately. That age has passed. Customers don’t think of businesses as separate channels; they have an experience, and that could be through a digital channel, walking into a store, talking over the phone, or even a combination of some or all of these and the colleagues that serve them need to be enabled and engaged in all of those channels.
Colleagues tell us they fear digital will take their jobs so it’s a fine line to ensure you upskill them and take them on the journey and invest in their future, versus ignoring the elephant in the room, as they might dis-engage and not talk about your products and services at all!
We need to think about customer and employee experience in a much broader sense
Businesses have a responsibility to support their customers outside of traditional product and services and to enable them to do this they need to invest time in their workforce to give them the skills to do this.
Part of providing a great customer experience has to be enabling your colleagues and building that confidence in digital. That’s not just those people that are not as familiar with the world of digital, but also to those who are native to that world. Research has showed that while young people are far more confident when it comes to coding, communicating and collaborating online, they are far less likely to be aware of the dangers of cybercrime and sharing information online and have a fear that ‘The Bots’ will take their jobs. So how well do you understand your workforce?
Millennials and beyond
Millennials are looking for continuous improvement and development opportunities – they want to work for an employer that’s going to help them grow as an individual.
Gen X and baby boomers want to know that they’re doing good. They want to know that the work they do and the employer they’re working for is having a positive societal impact. Does your digital transformation programme address this?
Technology has also opened up flexible and dynamic working to more and more people, meaning that our work lives and personal lives are becoming more and more linked and that the lines between the two are becoming more and more blurred. How are you supporting your workforce with this change in culture?
It’s clear that colleague engagement and empowerment is a crucial step on the journey to creating an exceptional customer experience, but it’s not solely responsible for it. Leveraging digital capabilities allow us to create experiences that stay with customers for a long time, human moments that really matter and that can build incredible trust between brands and their customers.
Digital technology is firmly embedded in our everyday lives, both at home and at work.You have a choice – you can put your heads in the sand and try to ignore the advance of digital technology or you can embrace it and ensure you invest in your people to help make their lives, both professional and personal, easier.
But whatever digital platforms you create your employees need must be at the heart of it – if they are, they’ll engage with those platforms and use them to ultimately enhance customer experiences. According to research by Lace Partners – 75% of tech adoption fails and if your target audience don’t embrace it, your original investment in your digital transformation will put any return at risk.
If colleagues are not at the heart of your technology, it simply won’t be valuable to them. They need to be involved from concept to ongoing continuous improvement as technology evolves so does the way people use it and expectations continue to rise.
So, make sure you give them the skills to future proof their own careers. None of your tools in isolation will deliver a fantastic customer experience However:
• Investing in colleagues will help to create true engagement
• Involve and bring colleagues on your digital transformation journey with you
• Give colleagues the tools, they need and ask for, to deliver exceptional experiences
• Focus on flexibility and mobility of those tools
Technology’s capabilities are impressive, but without people to shape it, it’s nothing.