Five tips for successful digital transformation thanks to customers ánd employees

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Digital transformation… Customer Experience transformation… These are easily and frequently mentioned terms, but making them truly tangible is often a challenge.

As a loyal reader, you now know that I advocate for a specific driver technique based on my PhD (watch this video with the most common mistakes in CX if you want to learn more about what I mean with this specific driver technique).

This technique is necessary to uncover the real, unconscious buttons of your customers and employees, instead of focusing on 99% of the research that targets their rational drivers.

These unconscious drivers can be applied in many ways during your digital transformation. Just as you can use your digital transformation to stimulate the drivers and desired customer-centric behavior of employees.

I’ll admit right away that I will describe my ultimate dream as the last of the five, a dream I have had for several years. This dream is technically already possible, but it is still rarely applied. There are so many functional and transactional priorities that take precedence.

Yet, I remain hopeful!

1. Use the drivers as design principles

After conducting over 1000 driver analyses over multiple years, companies, and even countries, we see that digital elements are rarely the number one driver for customer experience. Should we all then stop digitizing? Well, maybe, but I’m afraid that ship has sailed.

So that’s not the message.

The message is that you can use the drivers that have the most impact as design principles for all your technology.

For example, if the number one driver is “Company X gives me personal attention,” you can certainly translate that into employee behavior (which we also do, see items 4 and 5 on this list).

But what many people don’t realize is that you can also translate this into your app or website.

Let’s think together: how can we make the app and website feel like there is personal attention for our customers?

It can be through simple textual elements, or it can be by providing personalized tips through the app or making it easy to contact us. So, don’t quickly assume that the more emotional drivers are only applicable to human channels.

2. Use the drivers to prioritize your user stories

Almost every organization of some size nowadays has an overflowing backlog, along with a prioritization method. Think of legislation that goes live on a specific date, which often takes priority one because it needs to be ready on time.

However, the experiential side often lacks attention because how do we know what has the most impact? This is where those unconscious drivers come in handy.

At the very least, you can start by plotting all the user stories against the drivers. If the number one driver is personal attention, the second is clear product choice, and the third is the status of my order, how many of the user stories are related to drivers 2 and 3?

Most likely, the majority of user stories are related to the third driver because it’s relatively transactional.

If we don’t have enough user stories related to driver 1, can we add and adjust user stories to give them higher priority so that we have the greatest impact on the customer experience?

3. Connect the “why” of your CRM rollout to the drivers

I’ll let you in on a little secret… Back in late 1999 (yes, really), I conducted my thesis research in Business Informatics on CRM.

When I started working, I thought: great, I’m going to encounter all these companies that have perfectly functioning CRM systems!

Fast forward to 2023, and it’s still often quite challenging to find an organization where employees feel optimally supported by their CRM system.

What usually happens during a CRM rollout? There is almost exclusive focus on the functional and technical aspects of the system.

But what if you could involve your employees and indicate to them:

“If you update the status of the different steps in the journey in the system, you will have an immediate positive impact on our customers’ experience. Because the number 3 driver we have discovered is that they want to know the status of the process they are in.”

Or another example:

“We know that the main reason you joined this company is because you want to help customers. But now you’re spending a lot of time on administrative tasks in the old system. By optimizing/implementing our new CRM system, we create extra time for you to focus on providing the personal attention our customers desire. This creates a beautiful win-win situation of finding more meaning in your work while simultaneously enhancing our customers’ experience.”

So, connect the why and the benefits of digital transformation to the sense of purpose for employees and an improved customer experience. And of course, a new CRM system is just an example; it can also be another form of digital transformation (and no, simply replacing your current CRM with a new one that does the same thing is not digital transformation).

4. Integrate the drivers at specific moments in your CRM.

Most of us have already discovered the significant added value of working and thinking with journeys. The customer journey, of course, involves a substantial part within a digital tool (CRM, app, website, etc.). This means that at the backend, you can nudge employees about the drivers at specific moments during that journey.

For example, with a call center employee, you can briefly provide a tip every 10th call they take: take 2 seconds to think about how you can provide even more personal attention to the next customer. You can go through the entire customer journey and identify smart tips you can give to your employees within your systems.

5. Make the timing of nudges highly personalized.

The previous point was still generic. It applied to all employees and everyone at the same time (in this example, by default, on the 10th call). Now, the dream… in most digital transformations, many systems can be interconnected. This allows for the trendy term “hyper-personalization” possibilities on the employee side!

If I have a connection with employees’ calendars, the HR system (to know their role), and the CRM system, then I can do the following: 15 minutes before account manager Piet has an intake with a customer, the system sends Piet a brief nudge with the 3 killer questions to make the customer feel that personal attention is highly valued in our organization.

And so, you can come up with numerous relevant nudges, interventions that simultaneously enhance the experience of both employees and customers. That’s when we truly embed transformation in the heart of the organization.

That’s when we concretely integrate behavior change into daily work. That’s my mission.

Because when is CX transformation truly successful?

When employees from all departments say, “Yes, this makes my daily work more enjoyable, meaningful, better, and impactful.”

If you want to learn more about the connection between Customer Experience transformation and Digital Transformation, listen to the podcast interview that I recorded with Arjan Kramer from Salesforce.

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