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The 4 pillars of a successful customer-centric transformation

The most successful companies today are centered on – and obsessed with – customer experience. And since so much of business today is done online, becoming customer obsessed requires first-rate digital experiences built with the best supporting technology.

But it isn’t all about upgrading your technology. Digital transformation has to go much deeper than that to be successful. It involves shifting your organization’s culture, ethos and mindset from the top down and aligning digital experience technologies, strategy and platforms with the business goal of delivering consistent, great customer experiences.

That isn’t to say that the right technology investments aren’t crucial. But without the right strategy and people in place as well, it may be impossible to truly transform an organization into one that is customer-centric.

Get these four critical pillars in place and an organization can be a powerful experience business – well aligned where it matters most and consequently grow, scale and evolve with its customers.

Pillar #1: Strategic goals with a specific timeline
Begin by defining your digital marketing strategic goals, KPIs and timelines. Initiatives need to be well articulated and work in tandem with supporting KPIs to provide a clear course of action for cross-functional teams. When you define clearly what you want to achieve, you can more easily align the remaining pillars and move forward effectively and efficiently.

Central to a company’s digital experience strategy is analytics and reporting, business intelligence and customer experience management (CXM). Disruptive technologies like artificial intelligence, machine learning, predictive analytics and real-time customer profiles are also worth experimenting with to create an effective digital experience platform.

Once digital marketing initiatives roll out, establish regular reviews incorporating customer metrics and key learnings that influence strategic goal reprioritization and supporting process. This way you can make sure that you continue to meet KPIs while scaling and shifting to meet consumer demands.

Pillar #2: Employees as “experience makers”
Digital transformations fail when company culture is not able to sustain it. Staff related issues get in the way too, for example, a lack of staff resources or human barriers like fear and egos.

As such, once your digital marketing goals are defined, empower your employees – beyond those in the marketing department – to champion customer experiences, to be true “experience makers” within your company.

Aligning teams to the common strategic goals, a unified set of digital marketing KPIs, and technology, can help eliminate marketing silos that prevent successful cross-functional collaboration. Additionally, it is critical that teams are closely aligned with the organization’s vision and goals and have the necessary autonomy to get work done in the way that works best for them.

Transformation also means changing how you engage teams, providing the transparency and communication needed to keep transformation moving forward. This results in clear expectations, aligned KPIs that support common business and marketing goals, and effective execution of cross-departmental campaigns.

Pillar #3: Customer-focused processes
A new vision for digital experiences requires an accompanying road map for your teams. Only with clear processes in place, can customer experience-focused teams effectively implement the organization’s vision.

New processes require owners who will determine the new tools needed, what the supporting technology should be, how the data will be managed and analyzed, and who to oversee content strategy. Employees need to understand their roles and responsibilities and what’s expected of them. This will also highlight shifts in skill sets required to support new initiatives. In many cases, this will mean added training and ongoing employee support, plus full-scale analyses of staffing structures. The right staffing will ensure that deliveries are instep with strategic goals.

While all this may sound time-consuming, there’s a good chance the basic foundation already exists within your organization. Your existing employees already have deep domain knowledge on the products and services you create and a solid understanding of your customers. It is about shifting the processes to focus on the customer and pivot expertise around them. It doesn’t necessarily require starting from scratch.

Pillar #4: Transformative technology
Starting with technology before you’ve addressed the above pillars is like putting the cart before the horse.
Transformative technology is important, but it cannot be effective on its own. Organization leaders must work with digital experience professionals and line-of-business managers to tie the supporting technology stack to a common architecture that can drive organizational transformation.

By having the people, processes and technology work together, businesses can create a solid ecosystem that delivers customer experiences in a holistic way. This four-pillar approach ensures experiences are contextual and consistent, leveraging the technology to effectively respond to customers’ needs in a meaningful way.
As with the preceding pillars, organizations must regularly review and adapt their technology to support the business objectives and continually adjust and optimize for best returns.

Ming Fai Chak

Ming Fai Chak, Solutions Consulting Manager, Adobe Southeast Asia.