Interviews, insight & analysis on digital media & marketing

Achieving operational efficiency through a digital-first approach  

by Kevin Korpics, Field CTO, EMEA/APJ, Quantum Metric 

As digital further moves to become the primary driver of business sales and revenue, organisations are facing major hurdles in decreasing the time between identifying digital opportunities and acting on them. 

Added to this are teams’ limited ability to capture every customer friction, including small customer touchpoints that, when added together, can have a significant effect on the customer experience (CX). These challenges have an immediate impact on digital return on investment (ROI) and focus of ongoing initiatives.

According to Quantum Metric, the average consumer organisation leaves over €180M on the table per year due to inefficiencies, with digital teams taking up to four weeks to resolve digital issues or optimise experiences. As such, businesses recognise that digital first strategies allow teams to align and prioritise the digital needs that have the greatest impact on their business, but they may not know how to put it into action, or where to begin.

How to achieve operational efficiency 

Businesses are finding it difficult to achieve operational efficiency through digital first initiatives, but why is this?

Firstly, it can take a lot of effort to accurately align and quantify digital priorities across all experience touchpoints. Digital experiences have evolved rapidly in recent years due to people spending significantly more time online. On average, internet users worldwide spend 403 minutes online per day. Not only this, but people are also engaging across multiple channels and expect a consistent experience across them all – from the web to mobile and native apps to the kiosk.

The result is a larger data volume and a richer dataset. Despite being helpful in gaining a better understanding of consumer behaviour, it’s sometimes difficult to discern critical warnings due to the increasing amount of data. Sometimes decisions are made by key executives which can be frustrating for digital teams, who do not have the tools needed to demonstrate the true impact that friction points have on outcomes and the organisation’s bottom line. This can lead to a lack of agility and wrong priorities, meaning customer needs aren’t met.

Knowledge also plays a significant role. Filling the gaps in digital expertise is arguably one of the most complex challenges for any organisation. A wealth of data is useless if the consumers of that data do not know the right questions to ask to interrogate it or navigate the insights produced into actionable next steps for the business. 

Sometimes, expertise lies with one person and if this person is unavailable, the lack of understanding amongst the rest of the team is soon exposed. This holds considerable risk in case of employee churn, holidays or long-term leave. Operational efficiencies can grind to a halt and digital needs go unanswered or resolved.

When companies need to be digital first to engage and retain customers, every team member must have access to, correctly interpret, and understand the customer data available to them. This means they focus time more efficiently on immediate actions, doing more with less.  

The third is visibility. With a holistic understanding of when, where, and why their customers are struggling, organisations can succeed. There may be several barriers preventing your customers from having an optimised experience but identifying them all is not only extremely difficult, but acting on them can be even harder.  

Something obvious but relatively minor may take up all the attention of your team, while a less visible issue leads to a segment of customers abandoning and resulting in a direct loss of revenue. Many international companies need to navigate the complexities of a shared product catalogue, with both global and regional ecommerce teams, while still providing a distinct experience for all customers. Imagine searching for a relatively language-independent term like “hoodie” in Spain but getting no results, or getting blocked on your favourite mobile-responsive website when the size selector is hidden – preventing you from adding to the cart. Being able to see all issues easily and prioritise them based on the friction points means you can work on the issues that affect your business’s bottom line first.  

Digital will continue to transform and impact every industry and businesses will feel even more pressure to re-invent the customer experience wheel. By keeping up with evolving customer experience expectations, businesses know what to prioritise, so they gain a competitive advantage. If executed correctly, digital-first programs will lead to happier customers, lower costs and higher revenues. By taking away pain points and turning it into an exceptional customer experience, businesses have a greater chance of retaining customers and growing business in the future.