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Why Customer Experience is the #1 Strategy for Digital Transformation

Loyal Customers Will Do Just About Anything For You

Customer Experience (CX) and tools like Design Thinking are gaining a lot of momentum in the digital era. Why? Digital Transformation delivers superior results via new or improved business models in one of three ways - Meeting customer needs better, dramatically improved operational efficiency, or putting new digital capabilities into products (e.g. smart toothbrushes). All three of these involve critical human empathy components - to understand how to meet customer needs better, you need to live in their shoes; to make dramatic changes to internal operating systems, you need to create systems that will be adopted by your employees; to put the right technology into products, you need to understand how that technology will solve a customer need.

It turns out that digital transformation is a human empathy game!

Are you doing enough to leverage the goodwill and passion of your customers?

This approach of starting with people is the opposite approach  of what corporate IT organizations have been trained to do. The IT strategies over the past four decades were all about scale. Simplify and standardize processes, and then automate them. Build the right systems and the people will come. That worked well for the scale-related goals. It isn't such a hot approach for digital transformation.

Organizations that don't differentiate between a systems-approach (for continuous improvement) and a design-thinking approach (for disruptive change) are at a strategic disadvantage!

Here's what you can do.

1. Focus on Customer Experience(CX) Techniques: CX is the #1 driver of digital transformation. It re-imagines how you can serve your customer better.  It shows the organization the difference between where they think they are, and where the customer feels they are. It refocuses your organization on delivering that human touch, while letting technology do the rest. The following write-up from FirstPost illustrates this well.

2. Use CX broadly; it can change your organization's culture: CX tools such as design thinking can be applied for improving just about anything. IBM re-imagined their Performance Management process by crowdsourcing its design to employees. The new process is designed to drive the right culture for a digital era - via faster feedback cycles, relying on feedback rather than assessments, providing the ability to pivot from goals that are not working. It's win-win.

3. Beware the trap of "I don't need CX because I have a brilliant idea":  The opposite of design thinking is "build it and they will come". The problem with that approach is that even the  best ideas don't transform into success in execution, because they may not be designed to solve a customer-relevant problem. Even the best ideas need others to build on it, and to provide feedback on how to make the product relevant to others. CustomerThink's article provides 5 tangible steps that you can take to design with empathy.

Net, digital transformation is a people game in all respects. It's a people game in terms of changing the culture of your organization, and also in terms of focusing your transformations on the most important goals - serving your customers better.

Go forth and transform.


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