Today’s organizations need to pursue digital transformation to survive in the future, consulting firm Baker Tilley noted in a blog post. “Digital transformation is critical to preparing yourself for what's next.”

Technology leaders had approximately five times the revenue growth of the laggards, displaying the rising importance of adopting technology in the post-pandemic economic climate, Baker Tilley added.

“But digital transformation goes beyond just implementing new tools and technology,” the blog post stated. “By conducting a financial assessment, creating a business case and building a road map, your organization can make the financial case for your digital transformation.”

According to a Precisely survey:

  • Only 37% of CX leaders believe they have a well-developed data architecture, however, 96% say they have or plan to invest in data integration, data integrity or data enrichment technologies
  • 54% of participants agree that legacy systems are holding them back from achieving their CX goals
  • 48% of CX leaders report that data silos are hindering their access, and 45% of respondents believe their data isn’t current or relevant

But the pursuit of digital transformation that focuses on technology can leave CX as an afterthought.

“While adopting a digital transformation falls under the purview of IT departments, the main goals of digitizing an organization are to improve the customer experience and increase sales or growth,” Debbie Qaqish, The Pedowitz Group CEP, said in a recent blog post. “Therefore, marketing is crucial for digital transformation and why CMOs and CIOs are increasing collaborating between the two functions.”

The following five strategies can help ensure that CX stays at the center of your digital transformation strategy:

1. Include Journey Mapping

“When pursuing a digital transformation strategy, you can’t forget to incorporate customer journey mapping,” said Bethany Farchione, Questline marketing director.

“This exercise offers a design framework that helps solve business problems with the customer in mind. Even if your reasons for pursuing digital transformation lie outside of customer experience, journey mapping can remind you where pitfalls might be hiding and help you prevent service issues.”

Journey mapping can uncover what it’s like to be your customer and see problems through their eyes, Farchione added. Without journey mapping, you’re unlikely to develop processes that truly put your customer at the center. Instead, you risk investing heavily into new tech that is too cumbersome to appeal to your target audience.

“In the energy industry we see a lot of digital transformation efforts underway,” Farchione said. “Our clients have found that reducing the number of clicks and offering up more self-serve solutions have been key integrations for CX. Customers want to be able to solve their own problems without reaching out for help. They expect things to be quick — in fact, that’s why they are adopting digital in the first place.”

Related Article: Making the Most of Your Customer Experience Journey Maps

2. Make Digital Workflows Human-Centric

Team members should have a role to play in how AI is built and used, with an ongoing feedback loop, said Dinesh Nirmal, general manager, IBM Automation.

By applying automation to repetitive and mundane tasks, CX and other teams within the organization can focus on higher-value work and apply their existing and new skills to roles that will help drive business value.

By using robotic process automation for mundane tasks, CX teams can focus on more value-added tasks, according to Nirmal. “AI and automation capabilities help create an intelligent, predictive and proactive support infrastructure that boosts productivity and worker satisfaction while significantly reducing costs.”

3. Offer Customers Exclusive Benefits

The opportunities to differentiate with CX — and build loyalty — during digital transformation are built on a foundation of consistency, leverage a new definition of convenience and offer value-added experiences, services and products, said Sagar Rajgopal, Ubiquity COO.

Learning Opportunities

“Exclusivity is a powerful tool in both building customer loyalty and driving conversions,” Rajgopal explained. "While retailers might have previously relied on gut a bit more than analytics in merchandising, advancements in retail tech have shifted that balance, allowing retailers to make intuitive decisions supported by data.

“Retailers use this kind of intelligence to improve CX by curating and segmenting merchandise selections for hyper localization and hyper-personalization.”

Related Article: How to Personalize Your CXM Strategy

4. Minimize Artificial Intelligence Bias

“It's tempting to say that companies who make the collection of CX data the sole focus of their digital transformations will improve their chances of overall success,” said Sharad Varshney, co-founder and CEO of OvalEdge.

He continued, “To ensure maximum effectiveness of data collection, many companies are making AI/ machine learning a key part of their digital transformation strategies. However, as we are seeing on a very regular basis now, AI bias is a very significant problem in digital transformation deployments.”

Many in the data industry recognize the serious impact of AI bias and seek to take active steps to mitigate it, Varshney added, including addressing AI bias at the start of a digital transformation. Data teams should formulate equity metrics in partnership with stakeholders, including CX teams.

5. Remember Non-Digital Experiences

With so much focus being put on improving digital CX through investments in new tools and technologies, organizations often forget about the traditional components of CX, e.g., paper statements and forms, operator-answered calls and in-person interaction, noted Matt Swain, managing director and practice lead at Broadridge.

“Improving — and maintaining — high CX marks requires an omnichannel approach to CX strategy,” said Swain. “Customers expect consistency in each experience.

“For instance, if their digital experience has transformed, but their print-based communications still look like they are 15–20 years old, that’s a problem. Those communications should be modernized, use QR codes as a print-to-digital bridge and generally reflect the plain language, relevant and summarized content that customers are asking for.”

Final Thoughts

As companies continue with their digital transformations, it can be easy to focus on the bells and whistles of technology. CX leaders will need to ensure they include the strategies above in their recommendations to the C-suite so that CX doesn’t become an afterthought.