There’s no getting away from it: digital transformation has changed the business landscape. Fail to embrace this change and there’s every chance customers will fail to embrace you.
Although that may sound dramatic, the reality is that digital transformation has become a matter of survival. And, in a world getting more digital by the day, that only looks set to increase.
What is digital transformation?
Digital transformation happens when companies adopt digital technologies to create innovation, improve business processes, and offer better value to their customers.
True digital transformation takes place across two distinct dimensions:
- Integration of digital technology. Technology creates fundamental changes in business models.
- A cultural shift. Businesses must learn to push boundaries, experiment, and accept the associated failures. This potentially involves abandoning well-established processes for new ones — ones that are often still being defined.
Read all about the facts and figures behind the trends in digital transformation.
10 Examples of digital transformation
There are a number of ways that digital transformation can be applied, and businesses from any industry potentially stand to benefit.
1. United Airlines meets customers wherever they are
Airline passengers are becoming increasingly digital first. This, coupled with the impact of COVID-19, means convenience has never been higher on their agenda. The situation has left carriers looking towards technology to help them offer the kind of airline customer service that meets expectations in the digital age.
Passenger experience is going digital. Find out what that means for airlines.
United Airlines has responded to this by creating the Agent on Demand program. It's designed to meet customers in-app and provide support, wherever and whenever they need it. Powered by Acquire technology, the mechanism is simple: scan, click, and connect.
Customers engage with the program starting with live chat, and then seamlessly transition to a video call when required, getting the opportunity to speak to an agent about anything from seat assignments to boarding information.
The aim is to make reaching an agent as easy as possible and eliminate the need for time-consuming queuing at information desks. This approach enabled United to ensure safety and provide service with empathy during the pandemic. On top of that, it's created true freedom and flexibility for passengers going forward, too.
Agent on Demand has served thousands of passengers and proved a real boon to United’s customer satisfaction scores. United Airlines now has a more meaningful way to interact with customers, as well as provide a fast, helpful, and empathetic service.
Hear the full story of how United Airlines used digital transformation to fast-track CX innovation.
2. Ford breaks down barriers
A couple of decades back Ford was in a difficult place. Hamstrung by siloed IT and its structure as a loose collection of regional business centers, it was unable to function effectively as a cohesive whole. Understanding the problems this lack of unity was causing the company, in 2006, Ford resolved to change. The goals were clear: simplify the product line and place focus on quantitative data analytics and quality cars.
Perhaps counterintuitively, Ford cut the IT budget by 30 percent.
This wasn’t just an exercise in cost reduction though. The real aim was to free-up resources previously locked into propping up an outdated and fragmented system. These resources could then be used to drive forward digital transformation.
With this new found agility and funding, Ford was able to turn its attention to creating novel projects such as the cutting edge in-vehicle communications and entertainment systems, Ford SYNC and MyFord Touch.
3. The Dufresne Group takes in-person remote
The Dufresne Group used digital transformation to take on two different problems. Pre-pandemic, it was looking for a way to reduce costs on furniture repairs while improving customer engagement online. At the time, each furniture repair involved two on-site visits: one to assess and one to repair. As site visits were costly, the repair budget was getting out of control.
Fast-forward to when the pandemic hit, and store closures and social distancing meant the Dufresne Group could no longer offer the kind of in-person experience so pivotal for selling in an industry like furniture.
Video chat provided the perfect solution. Firstly, it allowed the team to conduct product inspections remotely and get a handle on the repairs required. Then, during the pandemic, when people suddenly stopped buying the traditional way, video chat enabled Dufresne to conduct product walk-throughs while customers remained in the comfort of their own home. This was a massive plus for customer experience.
With chatbots capturing contact information if the team was out of office, too, the Dufresne team could keep customers engaged and the sales process going 24/7.
Using video chat allowed the team to reduce their on-site inspections to the target level of 125 a week (down from the previous 250). It also helped the business find stability during a turbulent time. Not only that, but through this digital transformation, Dufresne has opened up a new window of selling to bring success in the long term.
Check out our webinar to find out more about how digital transformation can help keep customers engaged.
4. AB Inbev drinks in the possibilities
AB InBev had the challenge of turning itself from an amalgamation of dozens of independent breweries into a single, unified entity using data to enhance business processes and improve the consumer experience.
One of the ways it has done this is improving the supply chain by changing how stores are able to replenish their orders, developing a mobile application called B2B. An inbuilt algorithm also makes specific replenishment suggestions, creating opportunities for sales staff to talk about new brands and products with store owners.
AB InBev has even created a tech innovation lab, Beer Garage, to explore ways that artificial intelligence (AI), machine learning (ML) and the internet of things (IoT), among other technologies can be used to improve experiences for consumers and retailers alike. Applications for this include "connected breweries", where the quantity, quality, temperature, and a range of other relevant factors can be monitored across batches.
The company is also looking into software to monitor social media and gain insight into what consumers think of its brands. Through this approach, AB InBev will be able to create evermore relevant and meaningful content for their consumers and improve its digital marketing.
5. Level 4.0 joins the dots
The world of selling vehicles has been going digital for a while — an automotive industry trend only accelerated by the COVID-19 pandemic. This has left automotive dealers with a stark choice: go digital or go bust.
It’s against this backdrop that Level 4.0, an international marketing consulting service based in Germany with customers like Audi and Lexus, started looking for ways for their clients to bridge the gap between dealership websites and physical showrooms.
One way Level 4.0 did this was by using Acquire technology, in the form of proactive platform triggers and chatbots, to direct customers on the main Audi site to specific dealers and connect them with the relevant person.
For agents this has been a massive help, it’s allowed them to bypass lead qualifying steps and get a first meeting setup in just minutes. Level 4.0 has also used video with other clients to connect customers with experts, offer virtual tours of the showroom, and demonstrate vehicle features in real time.
Creating a coherent approach like this has enabled Audi to manage the several thousand daily website visitors much more efficiently, engage with four times as many customers, generate more leads, and achieve an average customer satisfaction score of 4.5 out of 5.
Check out our webinar to learn more about how to keep up with today's automotive shoppers.
6. Leeds City Council opens up
It isn’t just businesses that stand to benefit from digital transformation. Public-sector organizations have a lot to gain, too. But digital transformation can prove more of a challenge for institutions such as these — they simply don’t have the big-money budgets boasted by some of the corporate big-boys.
In the UK, Leeds City Council realized that it could by-pass these budget issues and still deliver cutting-edge digital transformation by deciding upon an open data model. The beauty of this approach was that it created a vast pool of machine-readable data which allowed third-parties to innovate and create useful applications.
On the back of this, a number of new digital services have become available to residents which otherwise would not have been developed due to lack of resources — for example, the Leeds Bins app for iOS and Android allowing residents easy access to waste management information. This approach to data has been so successful that the initiative has been extended to incorporate the whole of the north of England.
7. Elevate builds connections
Elevate, a tech-enabled credit solutions company that supports the financial wellness of the millions of customers in the United States who live paycheck to paycheck, has always been dedicated to customer service. But, without the right tools at their disposal, the process had become difficult to manage. There was no way of knowing how much work an incoming call would require, and triaging took up valuable time.
On top of this, there was a lack of visibility into how support affected sign-up numbers, as well as where people were struggling with applications. This meant improving the offering was difficult. And as Elevate agents provide support to customers under extreme stress, they wanted to deliver the much needed funds, faster.
Acquire’s live chat and cobrowsing products offered the perfect combination to do this by breaking down barriers between customers and support agents. A user-friendly chat interface can be accessed anywhere on the Rise (a sub-brand of Elevate) site, whether through mobile or web.
Live chat also gives an extra option for people who may otherwise feel too anxious to have difficult conversations over the phone. And if a customer gets stuck in the application process, agents can offer to start a cobrowsing session right from live chat, allowing them to troubleshoot on-screen together in real time.
These tools have made it simpler and less time-consuming to answer the frequent but simple questions that come up, like resetting a password. Agents can also hold multiple conversations simultaneously over live chat and so serve more people in the same amount of time or even seamlessly transfer customers to more specialized agents if needed.
Elevate can now assess the impact of customer support and where customer issues arise by measuring how many applicants interact with support and go on to complete applications. Because of this, Elevate is able to understand exactly where these issues arise in the application process and what pages generate most support requests.
Check out our webinar to learn more about how Elevate Rise used digital transformation to deliver a better customer experience, quicker.
8. DBS Bank turns it around
Singaporean multinational DBS was ranked rock bottom of the list for customer satisfaction. In fact, it was even given the less than complimentary nickname, the “Damn Bloody Slow”, thanks to the lines of customers queueing in front of its cash machines.
To tackle this issue, DBS resolved that it must take direct control over the technology the company was using to power its products and services. In practice, this involved going from outsourcing 85 percent, to insourcing 85 percent of their technology. This meant it could launch the world’s largest banking API platform. On the back of that structure, FinTechs and software developers were then able to improve its ability to innovate and increase profits.
DBS didn’t stop there though. It also launched a mobile-only bank, DigiBank, in India. DigiBank uses cloud computing software, making use of Amazon Web Services (AWS), among others. This has improved cost-effectiveness and allowed it to scale.
Now, it has even extended this digital approach to include recruitment. JIM, (or Job Intelligence Maestro) is an Artificial Intelligence bot used to review applicants’ resumes, collect psychometric tests, and answer any basic queries – for example, about hiring response time or career growth opportunities. Only then does a recruiter get involved, looking at the scores JIM produces for applicants.
Thanks to its program of digital transformation, fast-forward a decade and DBS became the first-ever bank to be awarded with the title ‘Best Bank in the World’ by three major publications.
9. HLC makes getting answers easy
HLC, a leading bicycle parts distributor, was providing support to its customers primarily via email and phone. But with 1,000 customers logged in to its website daily, and its entire catalog available online, HLC wanted to open more doors for communicating with their support team and provide customers a way to get instant answers to common questions.
HLC realised that live chat offered a perfect method for customers to reach out wherever they were stuck on the website. HLC even logs the most common customer issues that come up during support interactions using Acquire’s live chat tagging feature. This allows HLC to identify and categorize issues and get proactive about solving them.
But HLC went even further than that. By including Acquire Cobrowsing in the mix too, it was able to increase engagement with customers. This added an extra element to support, providing a way for agents to see and interact with a customer’s web screen securely, and guide them through using pointing, clicking, scrolling and highlighting features.
With all these new avenues of communication opened up, HLC has been able to make massive strides in its customer-first ethos while achieving an impressive 90 percent response rate.
Check out our webinar to hear more about using innovative service to meet customers where they are.
10. Microsoft changes course
Despite its success in the operating system market — boasting a market share of 77.7 percent — Microsoft had been struggling in the mobile operating system market, thanks to stiff competition from Apple and Amazon (among others).
To address this, Microsoft changed tack. Instead, it turned its focus to cloud-based solutions and forging relationships with software and technology vendors — quite a departure from its previous approach.
Both stock prices and revenue saw a dramatic upturn in response, going from $38 per share in 2014 to $139 in 2019 and $93.5 billion to $122 billion respectively.
Digital transformation done right
The stark reality is that just 16 percent of executives say their company’s digital transformation efforts are succeeding. So if you want to make sure you have a successful digital transformation, it pays to remember these key takeaways.
Have you got any great examples of digital transformation? Why not leave them in the comments below.