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Chris Connor

Senior Director Product Management, Data Innovation of Comcast Business

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Placing the Customer at the Center with Digitization

November 25, 2016

The notion the customer is king is nothing new, but organizations are taking this business maxim to new levels.

The notion the customer is king is nothing new, but organizations are taking this business maxim to new levels. Indeed, business success today increasingly is measured by customer experience, which explains why innovative organizations are seeking new ways to leverage network technology, cloud services and data analytics for digital transformation. The goal is to become a company customers can’t live without.

To achieve this, organizations have to be easier to work with by anticipating and fulfilling customers’ needs – in some cases even before they know what they need. And if you think this is exclusively an enterprise play, think again. From small regional companies with a handful of sites to enterprises with hundreds of locations around the globe, more and more businesses are working on how to become a better company for their customers.

Their motives aren’t necessarily altruistic. A better customer experience translates to higher revenue, as evidenced by Aberdeen research on service companies. Service organizations with 90 percent or higher customer satisfaction see their service revenue grow by six percent, Aberdeen has found. No wonder organizations are putting so much emphasis on collecting and understanding data, especially where it relates directly to customer experience.

Digital Ecosystems

Businesses of all sizes are leveraging a host of emerging and existing technologies with an eye to creating a digital ecosystem that works in harmony to produce better customer outcomes. Among the technologies they are tapping are cloud platforms that give them cost-effective, scalable, flexible and dynamic data repositories and added processing power to drive business insights and actions.

Data analytics engines are providing the insights into what improvements are needed in business operations and processes so that companies can refine customer-facing systems, apps and services.

Mobile apps have a fundamental role in this evolving digital ecosystem. Customers have become increasingly mobile, demanding access to the data and systems they need from anywhere at any time. The same goes for employees who, given access to lightweight, functional mobile apps, gain new levels of flexibility and productivity to help their companies boost agility and competitiveness.

To facilitate the creation and deployment of those mobile apps, innovative companies are turning to rapid application development platforms. These tools accelerate the development process, making it easier to keep up with evolving market demands.

Early Results

Many companies already are seeing welcome results from their digitization strategies, as they leverage data to improve processes and service. In transportation, for instance, trucking companies are placing sensors on their vehicles to not only track shipment locations and deliveries but also each truck’s maintenance status.

If a sensor picks up an imminent maintenance issue, it can relay information to a cloud-based backend system to schedule a repair and reconfigure shipments while the truck is off the road. This ensure customers still get their deliveries on time, while giving the company the tools to better manage its resources and expenses.

In another example, let’s say customers are complaining on social media about a business. Maybe the business doesn’t respond fast enough when customers need service. A cloud-based application measuring customer sentiment sends a message to management about a potential recurring problem, allowing the company to reach out to customers before they even call to complain.

Or picture a company with a handful of service technicians making their way to customer sites on any given day to repair or deliver an appliance – or install a new service. A service call comes in at the last minute and the customer needs help urgently. A cloud-based system checks technician availability and location, reroutes the one closes to the customer, sends directions to the technician’s GPS with the fastest route, and messages the customer that help is on the way.

A Matter of Survival

With these types of results, it’s no wonder 88 percent of businesses have embarked on digital transformation strategies. They recognize that investing in new technologies and integration with existing digital assets will help them achieve the ultimate goal of becoming a better company to customers.

Twenty-seven percent of executives even consider their digitization strategies “a matter of survival.” What about your company? How far along are you in implementing a strategy to ensure your customer will always be king?

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