Digital for all now

Digital transformation of the customer experience: companies still reluctant

Econocom 26 Oct 2015

Econocom, SIA Partners and Ifop recently published a 2015 survey of digital practices. The aim of the survey was to measure the progress of digital transformation across large organisations by interviewing over 400 decision-makers from 330 companies with over 500 employees.

 

One of the four focuses of the survey, and a key aspect of the digital transformation, is customer experience. Personalised experience, cross-channel, Big Data: the results of the survey yielded valuable insights into the topics which are on everyone’s lips and which, for companies, are crucial development drivers.

 

 

With competition becoming increasingly fierce, digital is essential for winning and retaining clients – clients who are more and more demanding and have less time. But whilst some companies have made good headway with their digital transformation, others run the risk of being left behind.

 

COMPANIES ARE PRESENT ONLINE, BUT AREN’T REALLY INITIATING EXCHANGES

 

Whilst almost all large companies (97%) have a fixed Web presence, only two thirds are also on mobile Web. At the last ROOMN 2015 , a partner at McKinsey revealed a statistic that could convince the remaining third to move to digital mobility:

 

“The operating profit of companies that have successfully made the mobile transition is 40% higher than those that haven’t yet started or finalised theirs.”

 

                         >>> Also on our blog: Customer relations: digital or nothing  <<<

 

Where social media are concerned, Facebook is in the lead: 3/4 of companies are on at least one social network, and 57% of them favour Mark Zuckerberg’s.  Companies with B2C or a combination of B2C and B2B clients have the greatest social media presence.

 

However, only two in ten organisations have set up online client communities, and a quarter of companies that do have a community don’t really use it. So very few have come as far as the Belgian department of social security, where employees are encouraged to communicate on social media and which has a rather surprising publishing policy for a public institution. As Frank Van Massenhove, the man who brought the Belgian department of Social Security into the digital era, explains:

 

“We have a simple rule: always tell the truth. And it doesn’t matter if the truth isn’t flattering: as long as it’s the truth, the employees can say it.”

 

But not all France’s companies are lagging behind: in September on this blog, we told you about the national employment agency’s digital transformation programme, which includes encouraging employees to use digital channels and organising virtual job fairs and workshops to help people get the hang of digital tools.

 

 

digital AT OVER 60% OF points OF SALES

 

Where in-store experiences are concerned, over 60% of companies have points of sales which offer a digital experience, via touch screens (44%), indoor positioning systems (24%) –using beacons, for example – or payment via smartphone (14%).

 

Whilst some companies are having trouble keeping up with ever-faster technological innovations, others have their finger on the pulse of digital. For example, optician chain Optic 2000 and its partner,  a startup called Step-in, have developed a system combining ultrasonic beacons and mobile apps to locate customers and give them gifts as a reward for going into one of their stores. Hypermarket chain Carrefour, meanwhile, have deployed a location-based LED system to guide shoppers around stores and create an interactive, personalised customer experience, and dance footwear brand Repetto has opted for digitalised shop windows using Kinect technology. But the champion of digitally-savvy retailers is French furniture chain Miliboo. Having started out as a pure play retailer, in October 2014 the company opened a hyperconnected store featuring touch screens, NFC cards and 3D glasses to offer customers a truly unique experience.

 

Miliboo : kiosques

Touch kiosks in the Miliboo store

 

 

big data: GETTING OFF TO A SLOW START

 

Cross-channel – for example, beginning a purchase online and completing it in-store – is only possible with 34% of companies. And while half of companies have real-time access to customer information, only 45% can create new or tailored offers in real-time. The “customer vision” is, however, becoming more important as 78% of companies use this data to achieve more accurate customer segmentation and 58% to assess its profitability.

 

One in two large organisations makes customer behaviour predictions, particularly in e-commerce (56%), but only a small minority exploits big data (17%). And yet, we now know that machine learning is no longer the stuff of science fiction: algorithms can learn and provide valuable services for companies. Whilst this is widely used in e-commerce (predictive analysis of basket contents, cross-selling, recommendations, estimating shipping costs, etc.), it can also be used to detect credit card fraud or even determine whether a product launch will success or fail.  At Saint Joseph hospital, business intelligence tools are used to optimise admission waiting times and bed occupation rates.

 

Security of the data collected is taken very seriously: 81% of companies have drawn up a data protection charter to address the increasing threat of cyber-attacks. Last year, Stanislas de Meaupou, director of Thalès’ cyber-security division which is in charge of monitoring France’s nuclear power stations, described sheer scale of the task:

 

“For one of our biggest clients, we collect over four billion security events a day, which generate fifty incident alerts a day.”

 

It is hardly surprising then that security is up there with budget issues as the biggest hindrance to digitalisation in organisations. The “conqueror”-type companies have managed to overcome these obstacles, however and see their digital transformation through.

 

Offering a personalised, fluid, optimised customer experience means listening to needs, detecting dissatisfaction, finding ways to make improvements and not being afraid to innovate (even if it means getting it wrong! This often requires completely rethinking the corporate culture and focusing more on customer experience.

It’s a complex transition because it requires changing processes and management methods – even overhauling the business model. But it’s vital for conquering new segments and standing out from the competition. There’s no doubt about it: it’s digital for the customer experience, NOW!

 

 

Further reading:

#digitaltransformation: what kind of digital player is your company?

Digital transformation: what governance have companies put in place

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