Author of our new lessons on Digital Transformation, Circus Street faculty member Jo Davey talks transformation in business, Customer Experience...and holidays!
You don’t need me to tell you that we are living in an age of huge transformation. Technology has fundamentally changed the way we shop, communicate, learn, drive, travel, read…the list goes on and on. We are undoubtedly in the midst of the biggest transformation of business that we have seen since the Industrial Revolution. Technology is empowering us all to do amazing things every day. It’s incredibly exciting, but it’s also incredibly daunting. This immense change is making us dizzy and it’s easy to let the complexity of transformation bamboozle us!
Don’t get me wrong: digital transformation is hard. It requires difficult decision making, it requires behavioural change, it requires bravery. It’s different from doing a bit of digital marketing, getting a new website or adding some digital routes to market to your portfolio. It’s about re-engineering your product or service to meet the extremely high expectations of today's customers. Customers who are busy, who place a value on saving time but who also use technology to help save them money and get the highest quality experience they can.
We've all seen the rise of Silicon Valley disruptors, who ignored existing business rules and re-invented entire markets from ordering taxis to booking hotel rooms. But time is yet to tell how long these platform businesses will last – rapid growth has given many of these companies teething troubles.
The brands I admire most in the world of digital transformation are those in traditional categories who have put the customer front and centre and thought about how digital could transform the customer experience.
Take UK based airline EasyJet. EasyJet has gone to great effort to ensure their customers are not drawn in just by the price of its flights, but by the experience provided when their customers travel with them – they are trying to make it as easy as possible for customers to interact with them through digital.
I’m travelling the EasyJet way this year on my family vacation, and my experience so far has been friction free. I scanned our passports on my phone to input all our passenger information into their online portal - all eight boarding passes are now stored on my EasyJet mobile app. I ordered bacon sandwiches to be delivered to our seats (welcome at 4 in the morning!) and EasyJet will text me if my flight is likely to be delayed. When I land they will also text me where my baggage will be delivered to and send me a map of how to get there. I could also have booked airport parking, car hire and doggy daycare with the click of a button!
EasyJet have followed some simple digital transformation principles:
1. They put the customer at the heart of the experience and use the power of digital to make a superior customer experience. They’ve made it easy for me to spend money with them.
2. They haven’t overengineered the process or products – in complex times people crave simplicity. A couple of clicks and I’m done.
3. They are data smart. They use data to personalise my experience and send me offers that I might like. I’m a busy person – that works for me!
4. Innovation has become part of their DNA. They are experimenting with using drones to inspect planes, working with Sony to create a “paperless” plane, and they were the first airline to install a weather tracking tool that will alert them to any ash clouds and help to identify alternative routes so that they can avoid plane cancellations. They don’t stand still.
And all this works for them. This year EasyJet reported that total revenue has risen by nearly a fifth to £2.2bn, up from £1.8bn this time last year, and total revenue per seat increased by 11%. Digital transformation is driving business growth.
Digital is having an impact on every single one of your customers and it is likely that it has already begun to fundamentally change the way your business works. It’s just not an option to stay standing still. Marketing has always been about putting customers first – digital transformation is just marketing in a different age. And the time for change is now.
In our latest lessons on Digital Transformation, we explore some of the key qualities needed to thrive in the digital age and consider the consequences of getting it wrong. We also look at the role of a clear vision and strategy for planning and implementing changes, regardless of your industry or sector. Check out our Digital Transformation course page for more information.