In part two of our business transformation series, we look at how an agile mindset can help you glean customer and business insights.
Gathering real-time customer and business insights is more important than ever to inform company strategy, priorities and decision making, as well as to adapt in an agile manner.
Companies must understand the sometimes brutal realities facing their business from a customer, employee and market point of view.
Understand Changing Customer Expectations
Customer requirements and expectations are evolving faster than most businesses can keep up. For example, 73 percent of people say their customer experience is one of the most important factors when making purchasing decisions, according to PWC’s research. In fact, 32 percent of all people surveyed will walk away from a brand after one bad experience, even if they previously loved that brand.
The customer experience is transforming in many ways, ranging from how people engage with businesses to the availability of products and services they count on. To that end, many businesses look to customer experience management to help reassure consumers and keep the satisfaction of customers and employees alike top of mind.
And for good reason — transparency and the social influence of the employee experience are driving customer outcomes.
According to a study by Glassdoor, each time collective employee feedback results in a one-star improvement in a company’s rating, it correlates with a 1.3 percent increase in customer satisfaction scores. Today, your brand is accountable to both your customer and employee experiences. If the experience you create transforms without considering both, you don’t only risk upsetting your customers and employees — you risk losing them.
As they become more digitized, customer engagement and interactions influence all aspects of the customer experience and its associated business operations. This creates both opportunities and challenges for companies as they try to adapt while continuing to deliver innovative products, compelling value propositions and unmatched customer experiences.
To address such shifts and other future disruptors, you must dive deeply into current and prospective customers’ wants and needs. You can’t solely base this analysis on human intuition or even historical performance. Customer behaviors are evolving too rapidly.
You must leverage multiple data collection methods, including generative and evaluative research using qualitative and quantitative approaches, to gain a better idea of your customers’ perceptions and expectations. You can also adopt more progressive methods, such as social modeling and analytics-based research. In order to achieve a complete 360-view of your organization, be willing to widen the scope to capture as much customer insight as possible. This curiosity about your customers’ ever-changing needs is key to your survival.
Attain a 360-Degree View of Your Business
You need to look both internally and externally to gain an accurate 360-degree view of your business and understand the opportunities and threats they face. Industry and company business models are changing rapidly, and those that can’t keep up risk having to shut their doors. This means attaining an unfiltered view of your organization’s strengths and weaknesses by using data-driven insights as opposed to gut feelings.
Don’t be afraid to talk with your customers, suppliers and other stakeholders and even employ the use of industry researchers and experts to learn where your business sits among the rest. The point is to garner the best possible insights.
When looking externally across the industry, don’t only evaluate your current market and legacy competitors. Look at adjacent markets to learn about other opportunities and threats facing your organization, too.
- Make competitor analysis a regular part of your business strategy
- Evaluate potential competitors in adjacent markets trying to move into your industry
- Keep an eye on disruptors (existing and startups) that could impact your entire business model
- Think outside the box and look to seemingly unrelated industries for insights and inspiration.
DSW, for example, added nail bars to a few of its retail locations to help increase foot traffic. Its transition from a traditional retail store to an experience-based company helped ensure its survival even as it closed stores and reduced its real estate during the pandemic. In another example, T-Mobile led the charge in transformation by embracing opportunities and threats. In 2019, the company adopted banking, offering mobile checking account services while recognizing the value as an adjacent market for opportunities. While your own business model may not change as radically as these examples, you should embrace an adaptable mindset to prepare for making the best possible decisions for your organization.
Aggregate Data in Real-Time to Make Informed Decisions
To enable a 360-degree view of your organization, you’ll want to gather data and insights in real time so your organization can respond and adapt agilely. The good news is the emergence of integrated customer data platforms, AI, experience management platforms and predictive analytics tools have created opportunities to aggregate data. This allows you to collect a complete view of your organization and facilitate informed decision making. You can now more easily achieve real-time analytics – once a supreme technical challenge – with modern cloud technologies.
As developers modernize data platforms, new capabilities become available. Companies are now looking beyond dashboards and reporting. They are extracting greater benefits from their data to enable process re-engineering, process improvement, automation and management accountability. Indeed, these more mature applications of data are necessary to differentiate and compete in the current market. When data-driven insights inform your every decision, you will be primed to chart your best path forward.
Without a 360-degree view rooted in real-time customer and business insights, you’ll never establish an effective vision to guide your organization into the future. This guide is necessary to avoid going down a path of deploying the wrong strategies, making the wrong investments, focusing on the wrong projects, or even training your people in the wrong way.
When you know where you are on this journey, you can finally guide your team toward the future you want. Now that we’ve explored the role of customer and business data, we’ll look at how vision and strategy align to help organizations adapt to future challenges in our next post.