I have long thought about this question: “How could I influence organisational leaders to invest in technology today for the business of tomorrow?” This question has led me to are two more questions:
- What is the purpose of an organisation?
- Why is it important to innovate?
Through this article, I will try and answer one question at a time—peeling the layers of this metaphorical onion, if I may. And to answer the over-arching question about investing in technology for the future, I first need to dig deep into the two listed above.
So, what is the purpose of an organization?
The answer stems back to the simple truth that businesses exist to serve customers, add value, and solve their problems. Here’s how I see it.
First things first, your business needs to be Customer Centric
As a business, you need to be customer-centric to succeed in today’s competitive market. By putting the customer at the center of everything we do, our companies can deliver solutions that meet the needs of our clients and provide a positive user experience. A customer-centric approach also helps build trust with clients and foster long-lasting relationships.
Moreover, a customer-centric approach enables us, as I have seen happen endless times, to quickly identify and address any issues or concerns, ensuring that our solutions are always up-to-date and meet the changing needs of our clients. This approach also provides valuable feedback and insights that can be used to improve products and services continuously.
Simply put, here is why, as businesses, we need to keep customers at the center of what we do:
1. To foster a better understanding of customer needs
2. To provide a better user experience
3. To increase customer loyalty
4. To gain valuable feedback and insights
5. To improve brand reputation
6. To increase revenue
All in all, being customer-centric is critical for a company’s success. By putting the customer at the center of the operations, we can better understand our customer’s needs and expectations, improve user experience, increase customer loyalty, gather valuable feedback and insights, improve brand reputation, and increase revenue. We can achieve long-term success by prioritizing the customer to remain competitive in today’s rapidly changing technology market.
Now that we have a customer at the center of the circle, what’s next?
Each organisation I have been exposed to has many ways that it engages, supports, and interacts with its customers. Some of these would include Marketing, Sales, Delivery, and Support.
In today’s technology-driven business landscape, customer satisfaction is critical for success. A tech business focusing on the customer experience can reap numerous benefits, including increased sales and revenue, improved brand reputation, and enhanced customer loyalty. This can be achieved by ensuring that the four critical areas of the business – marketing, sales, delivery, and support – are customer-centric.
Marketing is the first area where customer-centricity must be a top priority. It is crucial to understand the needs and wants of its target audience and create marketing campaigns that resonate with them.
Customer-centric marketing strategies must focus on the customer’s journey and address their pain points and challenges.
This can be achieved through surveys, focus groups, and other research methods. The marketing strategy should aim to build trust and credibility with the customer and provide them with valuable content and resources.
Sales is another area where customer-centricity is crucial. Sales teams must understand the customer’s requirements and provide personalized solutions that meet their needs. The sales process must be simple, straightforward, and transparent, with clear and concise explanations of the products and services offered. Sales teams must have the tools and training necessary to provide an excellent customer experience. They must be encouraged to listen to customer feedback and use it to improve their approach.
Delivery also requires customer-centricity. Businesses must ensure that the delivery processes are smooth and efficient and that their customers receive their products and services on time. They must also make sure that their delivery methods are convenient and accessible and that they can be easily tracked. In addition, they must ensure that the products and services they deliver are of high quality and in line with customer expectations.
Support is a crucial area where customer-centricity is vital. Businesses must ensure that their support teams have the tools, training, and processes to provide an excellent customer experience. They must also ensure that their support processes are easy to use and that customers can easily access the help they need. Support teams must be proactive in solving customer problems and be trained to handle customer complaints and issues with empathy and professionalism.
Remember to ensure that marketing, sales, delivery, and support are customer-centric. It is essential for success in the tech business world. By focusing on the customer experience, our businesses can increase customer satisfaction, improve brand reputation, and enhance customer loyalty. This will increase sales and revenue and help ensure long-term success.
Throughout the history of business, three components have been required to deliver the parts of the Inner Circle described above: Our People, IP, and Processes.
People are the most important resource, and they must be selected, trained, and motivated to ensure success. This includes both employees and partners, such as suppliers and customers.
A tech business must have a talented and dedicated workforce and strong partnerships to ensure that it can meet its goals and objectives.
Intellectual Property (IP) is the foundation of a tech business, and it can provide a competitive advantage. This can include patented technology, trade secrets, copyrights, and trademarks. Protecting IP is critical to the success of a tech business, as it can prevent competitors from copying or stealing their ideas.
Effective Processes are essential for the success of a tech business. This includes internal processes, such as product development and customer service, and external processes, such as marketing and sales. Processes must be well-defined, efficient, and flexible, and they must be regularly reviewed and improved.
The value of an organisation sits in its IP (what it does differently), its processes (how it ensures consistency), and its people (those who are making things happen in a customer-centric model).
So, is anything else missing?
It’s TECHNOLOGY, of course!
In the 1980s, something changed. Our businesses met the PC, an introduction that would change how we do business today. It was introduced as an efficiency tool, a machine that could help our People deliver move value.
Once the PC was in the hands of our People, digital technologies soon spread to all other parts of our organisations. The PC allowed our People to add efficiencies across Marketing, Sales, Delivery, and Support (the Inner Circle), and we, by default, began to see Process innovations occur.
The next significant innovation was, of course, the internet. Organisations began to utilise the internet to connect to their customers, drive further efficiencies and create new offerings. Now even our customers interact with our organisation via technology.
So, that leads to asking how we bring Technology to Marketing, Sales, Delivery, and Support while being customer-centric.
In today’s technology-driven business world, incorporating technology into marketing, sales, delivery, and support is essential for success. However, it is equally important to make sure that technology is used in a customer-centric way and that enhances the customer experience. Here are some tips on bringing technology to marketing, sales, delivery, and support while being customer-centric.
In Marketing, Technology can reach customers through various channels, including email, social media, and online advertising. Businesses can create a more engaging and relevant customer experience by using customer data to personalize marketing campaigns. Technology can also analyze customer behavior and preferences, allowing businesses to make data-driven decisions about their marketing strategies.
Technology can streamline the sales process in Sales and make it more efficient. Customer relationship management (CRM stands for Client Relationship Management. A CRM system is a digitised process of keeping your customer interactions and details...) systems can manage customer interactions, track sales, and generate reports. E-commerce platforms can be used to create a seamless and convenient shopping experience for customers. Technology can also personalize sales by offering customers product recommendations and real-time support.
For Delivery, Technology can be used to improve the delivery process, making it faster, more efficient, and more convenient for customers. This can include using software to track deliveries, automate shipping, and provide real-time updates to customers. Technology can also be used to optimize delivery routes, reducing the carbon footprint and saving time and money.
For Support, Technology can provide customers with quick and easy access to support. This can include using chatbots and Artificial Intelligence (AI) is a very large and broad spectrum of technologies which most people would be familiar with through... (Artificial Intelligence (AI) is a very large and broad spectrum of technologies which most people would be familiar with through...) to provide automated support and using self-service portals to allow customers to find the answers they need on their own. Technology can also be used to improve the speed and efficiency of support by automating routine tasks and providing real-time analytics.
By using technology to personalize experiences, streamline processes, and provide excellent support, businesses can enhance the customer experience and increase customer satisfaction.
All this finally brings us to the next question.
Why is it important to innovate?
Suppose every business is Customer-Centric and uses Technology to increase efficiencies across Marketing, Sales, Delivery, and Support while focusing on IP, People, and Processes. How can your business truly differentiate? Why would a customer engage your business over your competitors?
The answer here is Innovation.
We have all seen technology being utilized across the customer-centric model to add value to each area and continue to drive efficiency. However, to evolve our organisations we need to shift our thinking. Yes, we need to continue to innovate our systems to help improve operations and deliver across all aspects of our businesses. Instead of thinking about how technology can fix a process or drive efficiency in a department, how about we begin to see technology as a lever to scale our People, Processes, and even IP?
Remember Henry Ford’s famous line? “If I had asked people what they wanted, they would have said a faster horse.
As businesses, we can easily focus on efficiency improvements. We need to take our current business model (the horse) and look at how we can make it faster!
We are utilising technology to deliver efficiencies across all areas. This is pivotal in business, but are we stopping to think about the value and outcomes our customers are unaware they need?
Yes, we need to continue focusing on delivering a faster horse, but does it stop there? At what point will a competitor’s shiny new car come around the corner to better serve the customers?
It won’t be that long. After all,
Uber disrupted the Taxi industry!
The internet news disrupted the Newspaper business!
Amazon disrupted books stores!
The music industry was disrupted by iTunes & Streaming services!
One is left wondering, What’s next?
So, here’s to coming full circle, having started from the question, “How could I influence organisational leaders to invest in technology today for the business of tomorrow?” I champion innovation as an answer.
I understand that the word innovation has become quite a cliché. It is now used in every industry and every facet of the business. Wrongly or rightly, it has been plastered on billboards, as marketing material, used as a core value in businesses, and even within taglines. But in the end, we all must innovate!
I challenge you to consider how your People, Processes, IP, and Technology are working together to serve your customers.
- Are you an organisation that has had the same business model for the past 10 years and is starting to see a decline in sales and revenue?
- Are you an organisation that is concerned about the impact that technology disruption can have on your business or even your industry?
- Are you an organisation that is heavily invested in People and Processes but lacks technology foresight?
- Are you an organisation that sees technology as a tool rather than a possible strategic advantage?
When I look at technology today, I see it as an enabler to deliver significant value to our customers, to empower your People, and showcase your Processes and IP to your customers at the centre of your business.
Technology can transcend the role of a tool (a faster horse) in a business to an asset that delivers new value (the shiny new car). This will, however, require a significant shift in mindset and thinking across your entire business so that you focus on Innovation.
If you want a team of experts to guide you on this path to innovation, get in touch for a free consultation with Aerion Technologies. To book a free chat: https://calendly.com/d/cfb-778-ymv/30-minute-workshop-with-andrew-rex