Thinking about the digital transformations I’ve witnessed in the last few years, it’s true to say the same issue arises regardless of the size or type of client involved.
Most transformations are nearly always trying to serve two masters; the need to cut costs and improve customer experience.
Perhaps it’s not surprising that saving money usually eclipses the desire to improve the customer journey. This is tempting even at organisations with a laser focus on customer experience. So, when it comes to digital transformation, we find organisations will generally opt for a single tech stack and single process because they believe that’s the cheapest option.
The problem with this approach is that not all customers have the same needs, nor do they want to be treated in the same way. A digital transformation with a single solution can often end up costing more, take longer to implement and fail to improve customer experience.
Let’s use an example of a large organisation which gets most of its revenue from a small number of complex customers. It needs a good account management system to take care of these lucrative customers.
You could build a process and set of technology for dealing with these big customers offering numerous touchpoints that provide your sales team and other departments with an abundance of rich information. This type of intensive account management is expensive, but that’s alright when the customer is providing a lot of income.
The same large organisation has a long tail of small customers whose behaviour is very different. These guys need to know what the various offerings, they click on a website and buy on a credit card. Job done.
Clearly, these two types of customer require and expect very different things from their supplier. But if you build one solution to serve different needs, you are forced to make conflicting and complicated configuration decisions. This will cause the programme to be slow and expensive and the resulting solution will be difficult to change in future.
Before you do anything else, establish what every customer type really wants.
Scenario and customer journey mapping using personas will help you understand your customers. Gather feedback from existing customers to give a picture of what is happening now. Use this information to identify patterns, segmenting results by different customer types.
This information will drive out what the future processes should be. If the results point to multiple solutions (and we think they will), then act accordingly.
Take an agile approach when initiating change, making small changes quickly and try to simplify the approach as much as possible. Always look at best of breed to provide the best experience in each scenario.
If you still decide to go down the route of a single stack, then design your digital front-end web store with the small customer in mind while designing the buying experience, account management customer relationship and technology with the large customer in mind. This will be more successful.
Digital transformation should always stem from what it’s like to be your customer now and what the same customer wants in future. If you do this, both you and your customers will end up in a better place.