Digitalization changed customer experience

Technology changes the way we function. It affects how we communicate, search for information, and how we make use of the products and services offered by various organizations. The most notable change, however, will not be in technology, but in thinking.

Tedious parts of customer experience eliminated through new technology

We want our interaction to be easy and fast. An increasing number of everyday tasks can be performed online, more processes are being automated, and with data, services are becoming more personalized.

A decade ago, waiting was part of the deal, and so was repeating information several times in a purchase process. Today we expect immediate service and a seamless customer experience. Dealing with companies and organizations must be frictionless. Convenience has begun a new loyalty. Few of us are patient enough to wait for online deliveries for longer than a few days, our doctors should provide us with medical diagnoses by video call, and payments should be already automatic.

Hopefully, standing in checkout lines will be a memory from the past, and we will no longer have to waste time on manual routines that machines can handle. The pandemic has further accelerated the speed of digitalization, and within the span of one year, we have gone through a journey that was expected to take five years.

Digitalization provides unprecedented possibilities – and challenges

Instead of concerning single aspects, new technologies such as AI and robotics affect complete business offerings, core processes, and the skill sets of employees. Technology has become invisible and recognizing the solutions of your competitors is more demanding than ever before.

Creating a web-based service or mobile application was a fast and relatively cheap process. Implementing projects with AI is more challenging but, when successful, quickly gives you a significant competitive advantage. These improvements that rely on technology are manifest in a more efficient service, an enhanced understanding of customers, and overall, a smoother way of doing business.

Excellent customer experience calls for excellent leadership

Nevertheless, the most notable change will not be in technology, but in thinking. As customers, we are primarily looking for a partner to fulfil our needs, wishes, and dreams. We want predictability, ease, and continuity. Customership is about more than managing the customer journey efficiently, and a positive customer experience entails much more than just good customer service. Thus, above all, building customer experience in the digital era calls for excellence in leadership.

Companies often face the challenge of trying to improve the old, when they should already be thinking about completely new paths. To create new ideas, thinking outside the box is needed. Innovation requires genuine in-person interaction between people, and team diversity is essential. New thinking and skills must be imported from the outside of the industries, as change in a business field seldom originates within the field itself. This is good to keep in mind regarding recruitments, for example.

Customer and employee experience are closely linked together. Taking good care of employees will be reflected on the customer. Often the focus is purely on service, but employee satisfaction and engagement reach much further. An inspiring working atmosphere that encourages creativity helps to meet the needs of the customers and to find solutions, together. In the end, we are humans and need real-life interactions. Exchanging ideas and thoughts and trying out new concepts face to face is possible again. It’s time to change from leggings into proper working outfit and take a brave step into the new normal!

Belinda Gerdt

Belinda Gerdt has built a successful international career in some of the world’s leading technology companies. She has almost twenty years of experience in developing digital customer-oriented businesses.