Business owners and executive teams often focus so strongly on their business procedures that they lose vision of their customers' expectations. Not only do they not concentrate on delivering to their customers what they want, they sometimes do not even know exactly if their customers are satisfied with what they get today.
However, digital transformation is not just a reconstruction of a web site or the introduction of a new document workflow. It is also a mistake to consider transformation as a way to sell to customers what you already have or to motivate them to use your services in the way you think is right. For any companies and organizations that sell their products or services to customers, the main point of digital transformation is to offer customers what they want.
Yes, digital transformation solves many problems, namely it allows you to streamline workflows, spend less and increase margins. However, at the center of the true digital leap that the iconic enterprises of the digital age (Uber, Alibaba, Airbnb, Netflix, etc.) have made stands precisely the understanding of the real wishes of customers and their willingness to respond to them. This is the type of transformation that I consider “true”, it will help you turn your market upside down and put your company in the first place. Give your customers what they want and the world will be at your feet.
Travel and tourism
There was a time when, to make a tourist or business trip, you went to a travel agency. You told your manager your wishes, leafed through hotel catalogs, decided for a long time whether to buy a package tour or better a ticket and a hotel separately, consulted with friends and wrote down the phones of verified private accommodation owners. Where are these travel agencies now? Where are the airline ticket offices?
Booking.com, Airbnb, airline aggregators offered customers exactly what they needed - freedom, convenience, maximum friendliness and openness of the tourism infrastructure of entire world. The tourism industry will never be the same, because in its former shape it did not meet the needs of the client. These changes were made possible by technology, but inspired by the customer desires.
In the science fiction film “Men in Black” (1997), there is a moment that cannot but respond to the soul of any experienced music lover. One character introduces another to the latest alien developments that will soon be introduced on Earth, and, among other things, shows a small disk. “Well,” the second one says without joy, “then again you have to buy the Beatles White Album!” Indeed, the music industry made good money on us, selling the same music repeatedly on new media. In addition, we had to buy albums to listen to one or two songs.
The ability to listen to music anywhere, to get exactly the songs that we need, not to buy an expensive player, was given to us by the technology industry that spawned MP3, iTunes and the like, fundamentally changing the pricing, access, delivery and consumption of music. The inspiration here again was the desire of customers. Luxury music stores and record labels were unable to guess and satisfy these desires and needs.
Similarly, it happened in almost the entire media industry. Remember video rentals and video stores? They were once a point of attraction in cities, a meeting place. However, their inability to provide unlimited choices, the need for a physical visit, and unobvious pricing, were taken advantage of by services such as Netflix. Capturing an unsatisfied consumer need, they gave customers exactly what they wanted, and quickly destroyed an entire industry.
Traditional large taxi fleets in most cities around the world do not exist anymore. The taxi business enjoyed a monopoly on customers, but lost it as soon as technology allowed any car owner to become a certified and insured driver, instantly accessible through the application on a smartphone.
Thanks to Uber and followers, this industry will never be the same again, and these changes are 100% inspired by the customer’s desire.
Customers Come First
Can you imagine a scenario of how your business is being destroyed by competitors who listen to your customers and satisfy them better than you? Make an effort to find out what they want. There are a lot of methods and tools to find out the interests, desires, explore behavior of both existing customers and the entire target audience.
The customers you are about to reach deserve even more attention. If you do not know what they need, you can hardly convince them that you can give them what they want. You should behave as if you are solving their problems, not the problems of your business. In this case, you need to behave sincerely and really be interested in their desires. Otherwise, digital transformation hardly can be successful.