Picture: Picture: 123RF/John Williams
Picture: Picture: 123RF/John Williams

The digital transition has been much more rapid than the planned phased and smooth process most organisations would have wished for, says Johan Kruger, head of context at Consulta, a customer experience consultancy. He points out that there is not an industry or business model that has been exempt from having to push digitisation efforts to the next level.

The shift to digitisation has had unintended consequences, chief among these that customers have been lost sight of while traditional brands are much less visible in their lives. Even businesses that had high levels of customer-centricity prior to the Covid crisis have dropped a few levels on the maturity scale with the migration of their solutions to digital platforms.

A widely accepted description of customer experience is that the ‘experience’ is made up of a person’s holistic, provisional disposition about a brand and involves the customer’s cognitive (thoughts), affective (emotions), social and physical reactions when interacting with that brand,” says Kruger.

Brands, he continues, need to evaluate their propositions in all dimensions of customer experience before they can be convinced that their digital offering is on par with their competition.

Despite so much of consumers’ life having moved online, they still evaluate their experience based on their cognitive affective, social and physical reactions,” he says.

As a result, says Kruger, businesses need to know and understand their digital maturity. Those that are familiar with their maturity levels – both in terms of customer-centricity and in digitisation – are in a better position to regain their previous levels of customer-centricity maturity, and grow, than a business ignores its digital maturity.

Kruger also advises mapping the digital journey in order to identify the   “experience moments” in a customer’s digital interaction with the brand. “Revisit your brand identity and the experience you want to associate with your product or brand. You may discover that many ‘experience moments’ that differentiated the brand in a tactile world are actually weakened by the digital migration, and a new strategy will be needed to create meaningful ‘experience moments’ online,” says Kruger.

The big take-out:

Many businesses have regressed in terms of customer experience during their shift to digital.

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