School is back in session, and with it comes the promise of new beginnings, growth, and transformation. And while the people behind big brands may have traded in their desks for, well, different desks, they’re still on the hook to study hard and learn about one of today’s most important subjects: digital transformation.
To help our readers make the grade, we attended office hours with Ken Madrigal, Digital and Social Strategy Lead at Verizon Fios. Read on for lessons that marketers and other business leaders can – and should – take to heart as they work to ground their companies in digital and focus around the needs of their customers.
Successful digital transformation hinges on creating a whole new corporate mindset, which requires a substantial amount of research.
“Any company that wants to be successful in transforming their company via digital has to do their homework,” says Ken. “We dived deep, at least for a year and a half, to understand the correlations and causations between being a digital-first company and our business objectives.”
For Verizon Fios, Ken says, digital transformation required a full re-organization to “divest from a traditional mindset of silos and truly integrating not by department, but aligned to digital capabilities and user experience.”
Through its research, the Fios team found that customers preferred more online self-service options, which is in line with trends across a range of industries. The organization adjusted its support strategy accordingly, which has led an accelerated move to digital assistance among subscribers.
“When you show that strength of revenue and cost savings, with those key metrics, it’s a compelling argument for full buy-in from leadership,” Ken explains.
It’s easy for companies to fall behind when they’re pursuing perfection. But (and this may go against the philosophy of every math teacher ever), don’t get mired in the details!
Just like in school, being late in the corporate world can have serious consequences. The consequence in this case isn’t receiving a demerit – it’s hindering your business’ potential growth.
“Large, traditional companies often get caught into the waterfall mentality of ‘it’s got to be perfect, it’s got to roll out with everything,’” says Ken. “They miss out on the idea of being agile and putting something out there and iterating against it.”
Knowing and hearing your users, implementing their requested capabilities with a continually improving experience, buys an invaluable connection with customers.
Today’s customers are more connected – and as a result, empowered – than ever. Given this new landscape, it’s imperative that brands get to know their audience by having real conversations and genuinely listening to what they have to say.
“You have to inspire customers and connect with them, and create the right interactions so that you have authenticity and you build equity with them,” says Ken. “We’re trying to connect customers with our product without trying to oversell them. Brands need to engage with customers and understand that the customers drive the conversations, and that including relevant personalized content buys brands a better connection with them.”
As with all healthy relationships, listening is the first step. Find out what customers are looking for, and tailor your messages to them. When they provide feedback, take it to heart and use it to inform your ongoing strategy.
A company of any size can’t just cram all night and try to achieve digital transformation the next morning. It’s a continuous, evolving process.
According to Ken, Verizon Fios constantly researches innovative tech such as chatbots and other AI integrations. The key is to strike the right balance and explore new frontiers without leaving your customers in the dust.
“For things like bill pay, or knowing what’s on TV – basic transactional questions – I think that’s a huge opportunity that chatbots can take over immediately,” he says. “This frees up humans to do more complex, experiential engagements that connect customers to brands and products even better…where the real success is going to come from is chatbots learning to seamlessly hand off complicated requests suited for humans and humans easily passing off mundane transactional task off to automation.”
There’s always something new to learn, for both human workers and our AI counterparts.
Showing up for class – and work – is just one factor that determines success. Having the right supplies at your disposal is an important, if begrudged, component as well.
Just when you thought back-to-school shopping was over, here we are with another list (don’t worry – the majority of ours is free).
Since research is at the heart of any assignment worth its salt, having case studies to draw from is helpful in developing your own digital transformation plan.
See what has worked for you in past projects, and what other companies in your field are doing now. Which ideas fit in with your goals? Of the unsuccessful campaigns, what about them didn’t work?
Take a look at things from all angles to learn from the mistakes and successes of others (and maybe even your own company).
Not everything goes according according to plan – and that’s okay. You might have a great idea that just doesn’t resonate in the current market. That doesn’t mean you should abandon it altogether, it just means you need to see what can be changed to make it fit now.
New processes often have pain points. Digital transformation is no exception. This is an opportunity to take what you have and make it better and more accessible to the masses. Don’t give up just because you’re not seeing the results you expected. Re-focus, pivot, and keep moving forward.
As stated earlier, never stop learning. The landscape is constantly changing, and in order to keep up, you must have an open mind to process new ideas and concepts.
Don’t shoot down an idea because you don’t understand how it will benefit the bottom line. Let your team make their case, and consider implementations that others’ may not have even considered.
With the right mindset, you’ll be able to shift your company to a digital-first model and provide A+ experiences for your customers.
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