Digital Transformation or Lipstick on a Bulldog?

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On a recent flight, I listened to a senior corporate leader describe how their new digital technology was going to improve customer experience for his organization. This brought to mind an infographic that Accenture used during their Digital Transformation, seen  here, which shows the three essential pieces for developing a lasting customer relationship. At no point in this leader’s commentary was there any mention of also changing the underlying business or operating model to be more customer-centric. When questioned about this, an initial blank stare was followed by the confident statement that such a change wasn’t necessary and it would have taken more time and expense. Basically the visual aesthetics of the new mobile customer-facing application would “look as good as their competitor”.  My unspoken reaction was lipstick on a bulldog.  It’s very likely that their customers will soon discover that all they’re getting is a repackaged version of the existing service offering with the same warts and frustrations. This company was missing the opportunity to truly transform their digital customer-centric application.

Moving to a digital platform is not just a Band-Aid fix; one must really evaluate the current customer experience and develop an approach that will cohesively and affectively make a lasting impression on current customers and attract new clientele. Our company, eOriginal, along with our integrated partners, is fortunate in that we are usually brought in when our joint customers are committed to reorienting their business and flexing their platforms. While we certainly take the cumbersome paper processes out of business transactions and cut costs, but we also exceed customer expectations by letting them be anywhere, at any time, on any device, to access transactions.

Unlike my flight companion’s narrow-minded perspective of customer improvement, which was simply benchmarked against what a competitor was doing, a customer-based event most likely jump-started scrutiny of the current business models. What can and should encourage these digital transformers are the stories and stock prices of companies who have either gained or lost large market share because they ignored the rapidly changing demographics of the digital-first. If a brokerage has the mindset that older wealth management clients want to deal with paper when the majority of grandparents today are purchasing online and texting, the brokerage will miss opportunities to “wow” their customers with digital solutions. It’s clear that the digital choices people are making in their personal lives are having a serious impact on their professional choices. These expectations carry with them the same potential penalty for digital transformation stragglers and lost relevance. Delighting customers is a lot more than a feel-good thing, it’s everything.