Digital transformation was poised to be the buzzword for 2020, and its relevance only grew when the pandemic hit in mid-March.
That’s because all of a sudden, evolving technologies – cloud computing, mobile everywhere, and artificial intelligence – became integral to our ability to perform. By taking advantage of these transformative technologies, companies reaped the benefits: increased efficiency and collaboration, and in some cases, new market opportunities.
In parallel with digital transformation, another phenomenon has emerged: the empowered consumer, armed with a new set of expectations for every company he or she does business with. Concerns around issues like security, privacy, transparency, corporate social responsibility, immediacy and personalization are finding a voice and informing people’s impression of a brand. And what’s more, they’re sharing those opinions well beyond their traditional social circles.
Empowered and influential consumers can make or break your business. With the stakes so high, doesn’t it make sense that you put the customer at the center of your digital transformation strategy?
Fortunately, it’s no longer a challenge to find out what’s on customers’ minds. Technology tools have empowered customers to communicate more easily and frequently than ever before. And online usage only escalated as consumers sheltered in place and found new avenues for work and social activities. Much of their time has been spent offering feedback (both prompted and unprompted) on the brands they encounter and care about, whether through writing reviews, completing surveys or sharing opinions and experiences on social media platforms like Twitter.
Through hundreds of millions of Tweets every day, they are signaling satisfaction, concerns, friction or conflicts through their posts – not only expressing how they feel but why they feel that way at every stage of the customer journey.
Now, thanks to AI platforms and social listening tools, you can easily tap into these conversations, uncovering insights in real-time and linking them to historical patterns. When combined with more traditional data from sources like surveys, focus groups or research, you can come closer than ever to knowing your customers on a deeper level and understanding and meeting their wants, needs and concerns.
Microsoft is often cited as a company at the forefront of digital transformation, and we’ve seen the results of their strategy over the past few weeks as customers relied on them for essential work functions. As CEO Satya Nadella remarked in its quarterly earnings, the company had seen “two years’ worth of digital transformation in two months.”
MGM Resorts has also embraced the vision that “all companies are tech companies,” hiring a dedicated team to ensure a more agile and efficient environment and focusing on improving its digital touchpoints and marketing technology. “We know the puck is going in a direction where personalization, automated marketing, and trigger-based marketing is the future,” Chief Digital Officer Kelly Smith tells Adobe’s CMO.
But the more nimble a company hopes to be, the more they must depend on real-time customer input, which is where social listening rises to the top. That’s why companies like Prada and L’Oréal engage an AI platform like Sprinklr to increase customer satisfaction with more meaningful engagement. For example, L’Oréal’s “Listen-to-Engage” model uses Sprinklr’s platform to personalize customer interactions at scale – listening to a wide variety of social inputs to channel real-time insights through a 360-degree customer vision.
And that’s what will really drive true digital transformation – when companies put customers at the center of their strategy, whether it’s introducing a new AI platform, shifting from bricks and mortar to digital, moving to the cloud or changing backend infrastructure.
Those that get it right will reap the rewards of the promises of digital transformation, including happier customers and lasting brand loyalty. Get it wrong and you risk the wrath of the empowered customer.