ITWeb Events: Your presentation at the Digital Economy Summit is focused on the customer. Why is the customer so important in a digital/disruptive environment?
Makau: Technology has changed the way customers shop and interact with brands online. Consumers are using the Internet and social media to make purchasing decisions and use the same channels to express their frustrations about the service or product from the businesses they buy from.
The digital revolution has changed customer expectations and the level of empowerment to customers is irreversible. This has made customers wanting to know more and expect more instantly.
Customers are increasingly "always on" through mobile technologies, and they use this state to receive continuous information updates about products and brands and to form opinions. Social media and online interactions have also changed the customer's definition of fast. Customers now expect a response to their query on the same day or within the same hour.
Additionally, consumers turn to the Internet to find information on products, services, and businesses before making a purchase. They no longer compare brands with their direct competitors, but rather compare all brands they consume, no matter the industry or product. They are comparing not only the product but a myriad of brand elements such as service, quality, and overall customer satisfaction to name a few. Customers also have an expectation that digital services should be fast, hassle-free, intuitive, streamlined and easy to use.
ITWeb Events: Why are businesses ‘going digital' and what is the first thing that every business should do before they embark on the digitisation journey?
If a business wants to survive and prosper with the customers of today and tomorrow, they should make use of customer facing services (such as call centres, mobile apps or social media) that enable businesses to access customers almost immediately. Additionally, customer facing business processes have to become fully digitally enabled, fast and operate outside traditional business hours.
Much of the technology that customers use every day is exceptionally well-designed, streamlined, and easy to manage. Customers expect a similar technological experience from the business they interact with.
Digital disruption is unstoppable and business should embrace it. It is important to keep an eye out for industry trends and this will enable you to plan ahead and work with the flow rather than against it. Planning ahead will also lead to further growth and new opportunities for the business.
ITWeb Events: As the Executive Strategic Projects for Tracker – what has been your biggest learning curve/challenge in the digital/disruptive space?
Makau: The greatest challenge facing us and other organisations is our ability to move quickly enough and adopt these new technologies and incorporate them effectively into our existing business processes OR transform the business quickly enough to leverage these new technologies effectively for the benefit of our customers.
ITWeb Events: What questions does the CEO of the business ask you when you presented your thoughts on the future of the organisation?
Makau: How do we move the organisation fast enough to match the pace of rapidly changing technologies? How do we build a culture of continuous innovation and adaptation to the changing environment?
ITWeb Events: Why did you say yes to presenting at the upcoming Digital Economy Summit? What is it that you bring to the table and what do you want attendees to take away with them after your presentation?
Makau: The ITWeb Digital Economy Summit is an ideal platform to educate people about how digital disruption is changing the way we live and work as well as how avoiding/ignoring disruption can cause damage to an organisation. It will also cover how businesses need to overcome fear and confront digital disruption to ensure that they appeal to the future of customer experience.
If a business has not fully embraced the digital revolution they may already be the victim of disruption by competitors and new entrants into their industry who operate digitally – the evidence is clear: Netflix, Airbnb, Uber to name but a few.