The world has gone through a massive overhaul, with Covid-19 taking the reins of how things work. The current market has forced several industries to transform for good. The remnants of traditional sales and marketing have evaporated, and it has forced businesses to adapt.
The need to change every aspect of growth has become inevitable. Businesses may want to rethink their strategic plans to extract growth from existing budgets or, in most cases, reduced budgets. Businesses must also face the challenge of achieving growth targets amid crisis. They have to keep the lights on for existing customers.
Digital transformation and its components, such as process automation and business optimization, can help. Businesses can reduce the cost to serve, automate sales/marketing processes and hyper-personalize the customer journey using machine learning. According to a PwC study, a third of customers prefer a digital experience as an enabler for doing business with a brand.
If implemented correctly, digital transformation can be an important enabler of growth.
Reduced Cost To Serve
As the world goes digital, there has been a significant increase in customers who prefer digital interaction. This forces businesses to find novel ways to deliver online the same experience the customers expect offline. A website, email or Google listing will not be enough. True cost to serve (CTS) savings come from reducing dependence on support and service staff and increasing digital customer accessibility.
The easy opportunities of cost to serve exist across three areas:
1. Customer communication management.
2. Product access/delivery.
3. Payments and invoicing.
Artificial intelligence (AI)-based communication platforms like chatbots can deliver consistent customer interaction at a much lower cost. Customers can get answers to the most frequently asked questions instantly without having to go through phone transfers or browsing your website endlessly. In fact, The State of Global Customer Service Report shows that self-service is the first option 66% of customers choose, and a chatbot serves as a great self-service tool.
Some common applications of chatbots include:
• Answer questions and inquiries: Order status, location details, event schedule, new product inquiries.
• Find products: Locate products instantly, make personalized recommendations, make new product suggestions.
• Process refunds/exchanges.
• Collect customer feedback/ideas.
• Check shipping status or store hours.
Another area that can help reduce cost to serve is having a self-service portal with invoicing, payments and product accessibility or tracking. A customer portal can be a central resource and help reduce dependence on physical staff or disconnected resources (e.g., file sharing, email, invoicing, payments).
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Sales And Marketing Process Transformation
Marketing and sales digital transformation often gets confused with digital marketing, email marketing or social media. In reality, transformation is much larger than deploying digital marketing tools or channels.
There are five main components of marketing and sales transformation:
1. Operations model: How do you plan to perform marketing and sales in the future? Where and how will you scale? How will the organization look (e.g., structure, people, location)?
2. Capabilities: What capabilities will you have in place, including new versus existing (e.g., sales outreach, customer management, lead generation, ad targeting, marketing automation, compliance, media buys)?
3. Data structure and compliance: How will the data be structure and accessed? What data systems will be added, and what types of data sources are available? How will data security, compliance and privacy be managed?
4. Measurement: How will you measure the success of marketing and sales initiatives? Where will the metrics and key performance indicators (KPIs) live? How will the measurement be communicated?
5. Platforms: What platforms will deliver the capabilities? Will the platforms be software as a service (SaaS) or on-premises?
To transform sales and marketing, businesses must prioritize the digital use cases across the five areas mentioned above.
As technology seeps into our daily lives, many customers are still not willing to let go of the human elements of their purchase cycle. They are open to accepting a digital business interaction as long as there is an increased level of personalization. PwC reports 63% of customers will share more information with a company that offers a personalized experience.
True personalization goes beyond product recommendations and requires a deep understanding of your customers. Businesses can leverage machine learning and AI capabilities to understand their customers and then deliver hyper-personalization at scale. The three key areas in which to deliver hyper-personalization are:
1. Segmentation: Understanding your customers is the first step in the process to deliver personalized content. Businesses must identify and categorize customers based on demographic data, behavior and geographic segments. These segments must include data from past purchases, site visits (offline/online), social media and competitive intelligence, as well as third-party and industry data.
2. Recommendations: Aligning customer needs with the right message, products or services, and then delivering those recommendations, requires systems, processes and technology. The marketing technology landscape is filled with technologies that use AI to deliver content. For example, Uberflip is a platform that automates content recommendations using machine learning. Alie is a product recommendation platform that uses representational state transfer (REST) API to connect with data sources and delivers AI-powered recommendations for e-commerce sites.
3. Loyalty program customization: Personalization does not have to end once you acquire the customer. It extends through the entire life cycle of the customer, including loyalty. Businesses that rely on one-size-fits-all loyalty programs are at risk of losing loyal customers to other businesses that deliver customized loyalty programs.
Loyalty customization starts with deeply understanding your customer’s interest and aligning it with loyalty incentives. The loyalty incentives must also extend beyond your website/app so customers can earn and redeem rewards in-store and on social channels.
Using the above strategies, digital transformation can help acquire new customers, increase customer retention and accelerate growth.