While most South African customers and businesses have been somewhat apprehensive to embrace digitisation, we’ve had to do it to full effect in recent times. From online shopping, online teaching and learning, online meetings, online technical support, online conferences, online networking, online customer service – pretty much everything that was previously tactile and face-to-face morphed into a virtual, online space. This transition has been two-fold though. While digitising your business does make things more efficient, it also has a downside: many major, traditional brands that were built on their physical and market presence are now much less visible in the lives of their customers as they navigate the digital hyperspace, and where their customers only engage with them when they choose to do so, online.
With the desperation of delivering a business product through a digital stream (and rather quickly), came the sacrifice of customer satisfaction, which slipped to second-fiddle. This focus on product over customer happiness has become evident.
In banking as one example, the customer journey in a bank branch is significantly different from the customer banking experience via an online app. Similarly in the fast-food industry, the ordering and delivery of food are often outsourced to third-party providers, depriving the fast-food company of the opportunity to deliver the ‘tangible experiences’ associated with their brand. This is the same for clothing shopping, groceries, and many other day-to-day customer behaviours.
While so much of a consumer’s life may have moved online, it does not change the fact that they still evaluate their experience based on their cognitive, affective, social and physical reactions. So, how can businesses do this?
Know and understand the digital maturity of the business
The reality is that many businesses that were on high levels of customer centricity maturity (having in-person businesses) dropped a few levels on the maturity scale with the migration of their solutions to digital platforms. Businesses familiar with the maturity levels, both in terms of customer centricity as well digitisation, are in a much better position to regain their previous levels of customer centricity maturity and grow than a business that ignores its digital maturity.
Map the digital journey
Identify the ‘experience moments’ in the customer’s digital interaction with your product, service or solution. Revisit your brand identity and the experience you want to associate with your product or brand Chances are that you may discover that many ‘experience moments’ that differentiated your brand in a tactile world are actually weakened by the digital migration, and will need a new strategy to create new meaningful ‘experience moments’ online.
Chances are that your business may never return to the customer engagement model that existed prior to COVID-19. User experience (UX) through digital platforms will most definitely influence the overall experience of your customers and may even become the entire new CX (Customer Experience). The question is whether or not your business is geared to navigate this new fraught journey with insight and proven methodologies?
Talk to the experts
So if you’re a small business, or you’re someone who sees themselves as an entrepreneur or business owner sometime in the future, keeping these points for software development can help establish a significant competitive advantage and give customers something intangible that they actually want. Let the team at My Online Presence guide you through the various phases – whether you need a website, custom software, customer experience consultancy, or a CRM system. Whatever your digital needs, they’ll be able to move you forward!