Four step approach to blending technology and business

By Arun Shankar   4 January, 2018
Four step approach to blending technology and business

Ahmed Hamzawy is General Manager, Sales and Business Development, Middle East and North Africa, BT.

In a world where technology has made it easier to seek out the best deal and to move to greener pastures, a better digital customer experience is the competitive differentiation. CEOs today are prioritising the customer experience and are well aware of the role played by digital transformation in developing these richer relationships with their customers.

According to BT’s Digital Customer 2017 research, 69% of consumers say they find dealing with customer service issues is exhausting.

Organisations are racing to catch up with the digital consumer who expects a seamless, personal and engaging experience, while they switch from in-store showrooms to their smartphones. Other traditional businesses are still grappling with too many discrete channels and silos of customer information and too little integration of customer-facing processes.

It is very clear what customers want: they want transactions to be easy, the vendor to be available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week and their personal data to be secure. Companies need to shift their focus to delivering the outcomes that keep customer engaged and anticipates their preferences based on their purchasing history.

In an age when customer experience is increasingly the benchmark for choosing between brands, it is time to start thinking about each customer experience as a journey. Customers make decisions at each stage of the journey based on their motivation, context and attitude.

An organisation must understand the needs and objectives of customers who behave in certain ways, provide signposts and personalise every interaction until the customer achieves their goal, whether that is booking a flight, changing an account, stopping a service, or reporting a fault.

To help organisations move ahead with digital transformation, we have developed a structured approach that brings business and technology together:

#1 Define your customer journey

Digital customers are blending the digital and physical worlds to interact directly and indirectly with you. They are dictating the stages in the journey, and they are choosing how, where and when they interact with you at each stage.

#2 Understand customer behaviors and expectations

The second step is to understand customer behavior and expectations. How customers behave and what they expect at each stage of the journey is not a function of their age, nationality or wealth. It is a function of what they are trying to achieve. In short, customers are goal-centric.

#3 Choose the right technology mix

By this point you are committed to enhancing your digital customer experience. You may currently be focused on the voice channel as a way to service customers, but now you need to do more. It is important to note that voice is not being replaced – in fact it is still very much one of the key ways that customers want to interact.

#4 Analyse customer interactions

Successful innovations are those that customers want, organisations need, and technology can deliver. At the end of this four-step approach, you will want to make sure it is delivering everything you want. It is time to analyse the customer journey and interactions, find out if the journey is smooth, and whether the experience is great for the customer, and, ultimately, what this is really costing your business.

Facebook, Amazon, Netflix and Google or FANG have changed customer expectations of service, engagement and response. More traditional companies are under real pressure to catch up. Using digital technology to transform the everyday customer experience is, quite rightly, high on the boardroom agenda. However, it is important to resist the temptation to throw every new technology at the problem.

Digital innovations only work when three things come together: customers want it; the business needs it; and the technology can deliver it, reliably and at scale. Miss out one of these, and the desired transformation may not occur.

Using cloud-based contact centres and omni-channel services can help you to overcome the restrictions of ageing legacy infrastructure, as well as ensure compliance with data protection legislation. In turn, this builds consumer trust in the way personal data is handled.

It is also possible to combine improving the customer experience with increased efficiencies and reduced spending. Properly executed, a digital customer strategy can contribute to lower costs. Doing all this consistently, securely and at scale is a significant challenge. Companies who are committed to delivering a great digital customer experience will be looking for and leaning on technology partners they can trust.


Key takeaways

  • Digital innovations only work when three things come together: customers want it; the business needs it; and technology can deliver it.
  • According to BT’s Digital Customer 2017 research, 69% of consumers say they find dealing with customer service issues is exhausting.
  • In an age when customer experience is increasingly the benchmark for choosing between brands, it is time to start thinking about each customer experience as a journey.
  • Customers make decisions at each stage of the journey based on their motivation, context and attitude.
  • An organisation must understand the needs and objectives of customers who behave in certain ways, provide signposts and personalise every interaction until the customer achieves their goal.
  • It is time to analyse the customer journey and interactions, find out if the journey is smooth, and whether the experience is great for the customer, and, ultimately, what this is really costing your business.
  • Using digital technology to transform the everyday customer experience is, quite rightly, high on the boardroom agenda.
  • It is important to resist the temptation to throw every new technology at the problem.

Ahmed Hamzawy at BT explains how selecting and blending the right technology can help reduce the expectation gap for digital customers.


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