Executives recognise change is needed – so, how do they adapt in a digital consumer era?

The speed at which people have adapted to digital technologies has challenged businesses.

This fast-paced evolving market has meant some businesses have found it a struggle to adapt their operating models to meet the expectations of customers. This expectation has meant people command a high level of service, delivered instantly, via tablets and mobile phones.

A recent study commissioned by Experian – called Winning in the Consumer Era – found that 73% of C-level executives believed in the next five years’ traditional models would disappear as digital transformation ushered in a new approach in which customers would be central.

To reach that position most executives believe their organisations are currently failing to deliver on customer experience, particularly in digital.

70% of the responders stated that they are currently not able to deliver an optimised digital customer experience, across all touchpoints of the customer lifecycle. However, 72% of respondents said better integration of physical and digital channels was a top priority – which should help them migrate into a fully optimised digital offer (78% are unable to offer an optimised digital experience for their customers at present, however 25% are using automation to streamline processes, to reduce response times, and to relieve the customer of unnecessary burden).

Digital customer experience has started to hinder business, with 48% of respondents reporting an increase in the cost to serve a customer and 35% saying customer churn had increased over the past 12 months. This highlights the level of challenge many businesses are having to deal with – and suggests areas where they can start to focus their transformation plans.

With just 23% of organisations claiming to provide a friction-free, seamless experience for new customers, over a third (37%), are suffering from increased time to on-board, with 1 in 4 (26%), faced with higher levels of customers abandoning their journeys before they complete a purchase.

As a response to this situation, C-level executives unanimously recognised that customer insight would be critical to business success – 81% said improved customer insight was a top business priority over the next 12 months. This is a great starting point for businesses and showcases how committed they are to developing new ways to improve their digital offer and therefore customer engagement.

Trying to add digital to the an existing customer journey may increase the level of friction customers receive and therefore ‘transformation’ that has digital as a fundamental part of the infrastructure, is key to delivering effective onboarding processes.

3 things to consider:

  1. The first is to deliver a 360º view of the customer across the lifecycle. Currently, only 26% claim to have a unified view of their customer across all channels. 1 in 4 businesses are therefore lacking in their own ability to proactively maximise customer value and growth at every touchpoint across the lifecycle journey.
  1. The second response should be to enable businesses to fight fraud without compromising the customer experience.
  1. Finally, organisations need to break traditional business constraints to serve today’s non-traditional customer.

While the digital gap has been recognised at a senior level, an uncertainty around how to turn priorities into action could potentially start to put additional pressure on the implementation. As such, being able to articulate a plan that allows it to be a firm part of operations – and becomes normal, will be beneficial to its design and execution.

Pressure from agile, digital savvy competitors will continue to increase. And, as we have seen in this blog, business leaders are already starting to understand the areas where they can improve to relieve any loss of custom. This is a great starting point and provides a customer focussed foundation to build upon. The future will no doubt see some great innovations and some valuable enhancements.

What does digital transformation look like?


Experian (2016): Winning in the Customer Era

Experian Whitepaper (2017): Customer Digital Onboarding