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How Digital Disruption Is Forcing Businesses To Evolve Their Customer Experience

Last Modified: 20/12/2017

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While many companies are preparing and discussing the steps they need to take to survive and thrive in a digitally transformed world, how many of them are truly prepared for digital disruption? If you aren’t aware of what digital disruption is, it refers to digital technologies that enter an industry and have a dramatic impact on a service or product. This new digital technology disrupts the status quo and usually causes shifts in market share. Some examples of companies that were considered unstoppable juggernauts in their time but who were not able to handle digital disruption include Kodak, Blockbuster, and Blackberry (formerly known as Research In Motion, or RIM). These companies felt too secure in their position as market leaders, and ignored the impending threats on the horizon.  

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But digital disruption isn't something to be feared. Unless you're complacent or desperately trying to hold onto your position in the market, there's a positive side to digital disruption: it shows that people are spotting opportunities that have opened up thanks to digital transformation, and taking advantage of them. Let's take a quick look at a few companies that saw the gap and took it.

Airbnb


Airbnb has dramatically affected the short-term rental industry in a number of ways. For example, it made payment easier by acting as a middle man until the stay was complete, finding a place to stay became much simpler and previous guests’ reviews let you know what the host was like. Simply, there was a lot less risk involved when looking for a short-term solution that wasn’t a hotel.

Apple


Apple changed the way we listen to music with the iPod and iTunes, and there’s no doubt that the iPhone revolutionised the mobile phone industry. With their sleek aesthetics and highly intuitive interfaces, both devices took advantage of cutting edge technology to deliver an experience that none of their competitors were offering at the time.

Netflix


Netflix wasn’t always the online video streaming giant it is today. The company evolved over time, starting out as a DVD rental service, then switched to DVD rental by mail until 2007, when they started to offer an online streaming service. As online streaming became more popular, DVD and blu ray rentals declined, which is why Blockbuster has basically become a ghost. If only Blockbuster’s CEO had been paying more attention, it might be the other way around.

Seeing the success of these digital disrupter, a key question you need to answer is “how did digital transformation and digital disruption change customer experience across all these industries?” Let’s take a look.

How digital disruption is affecting customer experience


There are four key ways digital disruption has affected customer experience:

  • Companies have access to Big data


Organisations are now able to track customer data on an extremely granular level. For example, companies can gather data on how customers are interacting with their websites, how long a customer spends in a specific section of the retail store or at what times of day people are making use of certain services. By gathering all this information together, companies are able to identify patterns and trends in customer behaviour. By better understanding customer behaviour, you are able to offer customers a better experience.

For example, if you run a contact center that deals with customers who speak different languages, you can track when certain language groups are most likely to contact you. This allows you to prepare adequately for peak periods in your day by ensuring you have enough staff who are able to speak the most commonly used language during that period.
  • Empowering the customer


Before the digital revolution, most companies offered customers after sales service via a call center. If you had a problem or a query, you really had no other option other than picking up the phone, unless you were willing to actually go to a store.

Today, it’s a completely different story. Customers have a voice and they use it. Whether it’s a tweet on Twitter, a status update on Facebook or even a Youtube video, companies are now expected to meet customers on the customer’s preferred channel. Companies that fail to do this don’t only risk losing a customer, but massive reputational damage through very public social media channels if the customer feels like they have been dealt with unfairly.
  • Increasing competition


Digital disruption means that even the most established companies are constantly facing threats from competitors looking to get a piece of their pie. As stressful as this may be for many businesses, it’s a massive benefit to the customer, who now has even more choice when it comes to products and services. Not only are customer choices more abundant, they are more easily accessible than ever before. Companies that fall behind on customer experience, which has been identified as the primary element for ensuring growth, are at high risk of losing business to other organisations.
  • Better customer experience is a requirement, but at a lower cost


Connected to the increase in competition is the requirement for better customer experience, but it needs to be provided at a lower cost. Companies are struggling with tighter budgets, and need to ensure they take advantage of the tools provided by digital transformation, such as chatbots, to deliver cost effective customer experience.

This is not such a pipedream as it may seem, as it has been identified that companies who focus on customer experience can in fact lower their costs, simply because happier customers are less likely to complain.

These are just a few of the ways digital disruption has impacted customer experience, and companies who take steps to improve their customer experience can ensure they are one step ahead of the competition.


Merchants is a customer experience provider who can help you deal with the challenges of digital transformation contact Merchants today.

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