Digital Disruption: Is It Your Friend Or Foe?

Digital disruption has become an obsession for businesses and industries alike. It is an obsession that has the potential to overwhelm and dilute the underlying opportunities that a disruption itself presents.  Your business must choose if disruption is its friend or foe!

digital disruption
Digital Disruption: Friend or Foe?

A focus on being disrupted will overshadow the opportunity to disrupt.

10 indicators that your business may be REACTIVE

  1. High investment but declining revenue. This may suggest that you are chasing what you think will change the market without understanding what the market is actually looking for.
  2. High supply, lower demand. This may suggest that you are not aligned with what your customer wants even though you are competing with what is in the market.
  3. More service offerings but complaints from customers are on the rise.
  4. Higher staff churn than normal sees newer staff leaving your business while longer term staff are less likely to leave.
  5. Your industry is experiencing growth but your business is suffering a downturn.
  6. The technology platforms your business has adopted are disconnected from each other. This may indicate you are integrating new technology without recognizing how and where it will work with legacy systems.
  7. Your business is suffering from a progressive loss of market share.
  8. You notice a lack of cohesion in your product or service offerings.  They provide solutions but these are singular in application.
  9. Your business is generating lots of data but has no ability to qualify or contextualize it.
  10. Collaboration and partnering that exists is more of a ‘power play’ than an ‘innovation play’.

10 Indicators that your business is PROACTIVE

  1. Your business is experiencing exponential revenue growth and also enjoying increasing patronage despite more competition entering the market.
  2. Other businesses are seeking your business out to discuss collaboration and partnership opportunities.
  3. Your business is able to confidently make budget projections based on performance indicators measured against milestones.
  4. Agility enables your business to respond to change without impacting your core business strategy.
  5. You see failures as necessary and you are not afraid of them. They are seen as learning experiences your business can build on.
  6. Industry best practices, global trends and benchmarking are used by your business to give you insights to plan and strategize.
  7. Your employees are engaged, have taken ownership and actively participate in the business’ transformation journey.
  8. Your business communicates visibility and transparently without fear or favour.
  9. Digital is at the core of all your business decisions.  You always ask the question ‘How can digital make this more efficient or effective?’
  10. Your strategy is customer led. Your strategy is a living, breathing document that is a ‘work in progress’. It is responsive to change without compromising its core ethos.

Successful change will not happen when you apply band-aid solutions.  A band-aid solution is one dimensional and it only heals what ails the business in that area and at that time.

Transformational change is evolutionary.  When your business chooses to be proactive rather than reactive in its approach the word ‘disruption’ takes on a very different meaning.  To survive and also experience success you must choose to become the disruptor and not the disruptee.

 

Originally posted 2016-10-18 18:02:41.

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Walk A Mile in Your Customer’s Shoes

Your customer’s experiences determine if they will choose your business’ products or services or your competitors.

Doesn’t it make sense that you should look at how you position what you offer through your customer’s eyes?

A customer-led rather than a customer-centric strategy will see a significant increase in your customer conversions.

Walk in your customer’s shoes to better understand how to align your business with theirs.

.customer's

 

Your customer’s lens may be focused on …

Security

  • Is your business’ data secure?
  • What should I do to risk mitigate my business’ exposure to hackers?
  • How do I filter my data to protect my business and stakeholders?
  • What is recommended to ensure that my e-commerce shopfront is secure?

Risk

  • How can I mitigate risk as my business undergoes changes?
  • What steps do I take to measure risk in investment to grow my business or diversify into new business ventures?
  • How do I minimize the risk of redundancy in the skill set of my employees?
  • What do I do to limit my business’ exposure to disruption?

Profitability

  • How do I structure my business to reduce cost and increase profitability without compromising my brand?
  • With industries becoming more competitive on pricing how do I maintain margins?
  • How do I ensure that my cash flow is consistent and growing?
  • With markets changing how do I position my business to not just maintain but grow market share?
  • How do I establish my brand without compromising on what I charge to engage with my product or services?

Agility

  • How do I change the way I do business to be more proactive and responsive?
  • What will agility do for my business that makes it important?
  • How can I compete with start-ups and online competitors when I am an established business?
  • How do I communicate to the people in our business that agility is important to gain consensus?

Viability

  • I am concerned that if we introduce too much change too fast we may derail what we do best now?
  • The business is not delivering the bottom line it should now so how can changing how we do things improve this?
  • The industry I am in is changing so fast how do I remain competitive?

Ability

  • My people know what they know and I am unsure if they are equipped to work in a digitally driven environment.
  • How do I know who are the people in my business that will lead change?
  • My people are loyal and want my business to succeed. Will this enthusiasm and motivation overcome any gaps in their abilities?
  • How do I educate my people when I don’t understand what I need to do?
  • When recruiting new people how do I and the right people for the right roles to align with where I have gaps in experience and ability?

Resistance

  • The people in my business are mixed in their response to change in the business with the longer serving employees resistant to change. How do you change that without getting push back?
  • I have provided training for new processes and programs but a lot of my people default to doing things the way they always have. How do you overcome that?
  • Do I need to restructure the business and let the people go in the business that are resistant to change?
  • If I let the people go in the business that will not embrace the direction we are taking they will leave with an enormous amount of knowledge and experience in my business. How do I transfer that knowledge so it is not lost?

Priority

  • I have a lot going on in my business right now and I know I need to look at new opportunities and bodies of work but there are only so many hours in each day. Why should I prioritize digital transformation and how?
  • My people are already overworked and KPI’d on what is already on their plates. I can’t possibly ask them to do more without them pushing back.
  • How do I justify prioritizing changing my business model when we need to spend so much time running the business?
  • What is the best way to communicate the benefits of transforming my business to stakeholders to get buy in from the right people?

Scalability

  • I want to introduce new products and services to scale my business but don’t know how?
  • Is scale about a geographic footprint or are we talking about introducing automation to scale the business and if so what does that mean and how much does that cost?
  • How do I scale my business without taking on enormous overheads that I cannot afford?
  • Why would I want to have the ability to scale when my business is profitable as it is now?
  • How do I communicate and market my business to scale quickly?

Sustainability

  • What steps do I take to better understand if my business is sustainable now?
  • How do I disrupt my business to set myself apart from my competitors and create longevity?
  • I don’t see how I can future proof my business so why would I invest in strategies that may be redundant due to the changing environment of the industry I work in?

The 10 reasons given in this blog are only scratching the surface.

The key to engaging customer’s to embark on a journey of digital change and transformation is to listen to what they have to say. If you take the time to listen to what your customers are saying you will hear the pain points they are trying to communicate.  This will enable you to propose approaches and solutions that will resonate with your customer and create an environment of trust and understanding.

When you make the effort to speak the same language as your customers, listen and empathize with their pain points and are able to take what you have learnt and interpret that contextually your ability to engage and convert your customers rises exponentially.

 

 

 

Originally posted 2016-08-22 08:57:12.

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5 ways to keep your customer happy

Today’s customer expects immediacy when they interact with your business. They look for gratification when they engage with your business and satisfaction when they use your business products and/or services.

customer

Most importantly your customers want to be heard and acknowledged as important to your business. This should be reflected by what you deliver, how your interact with them and how much you show them you value them.

…so how do you keep your customers happy?

1/ Find out who your customers really are

  • Invest some time and resource to discover more about who your existing customers really are and where your focus for customer acquisition and retention should be.
  • Rather than think you know what your customers want, take the time to listen to what your customers are telling you they want.
  • If you learn to hear your customers you will learn who they are, how they behave and how they want to do business with you.
  • Tap into and track business and social analytics, keep your finger on the pulse of market trends and always be aware of what other business that complete directly or indirectly are doing and how this could disrupt or impact on your business.

2/ Map your customer persona’s and journeys

  1. Where do your customers want to interact with your business?
  2. What time of night or day, weekday or weekend, season or frequency does your customer interact with your business?
  3. Why do your customers interact with your business?
  4. How do your customers want to communicate with your business?
  • Social media- Twitter, Facebook, Linkedin, Google +, Pinterest, Snapchat, Instagram or other?
  • Email – Contact forms, through eDM campaigns or registering for alerts
  • Phone – Do they want to talk to you, receive SMS alerts, or use voip?
  • In person – Do they like coming into your shop front or meeting you at networking events or coffee shops?
  • Multiple customer touch points – Consider that your customers may engage with your business through one, some or all of the above.

3/ Make your customers journey as intuitive as possible.

Discover the power of the data you have. Explore how you can capture data to better understand your customer’s experience. This enables you to  be better equipped to preempt how your customer is thinking and behaving when they interact with your business.

Take a look at

  • your customer relationships and how you manage them electronically.
  • accounts and invoicing processing and how efficient this is
  • what your approach is your marketing.
  • how your competitors are talking to their customers.
  • where businesses outside your industry may have commonalities in engagement, product or service  and how they are talking to their customers.
  • what communication and engagement best practices look like.
  • how you manage your customer facing relationship with affiliates and partners.
  • what your social and business analytics are telling you.
  • how your business content and resource is performing or not performing and who is accessing it and how.
  • what are your customers saying offline and online.

How are you communicating with and interpreting this data to add value to your business?

4/ Make your customers journey channel agnostic

When your customers talk with one part of the business how do you inform the rest of the business? This is important so they can continue the conversation contextually therefore when the customer next interacts with you the conversation will be fluent?

It shouldn’t matter how, when or where your customer interacts with you, what should matter is what your customer experiences when they do.

5/ Recognize and reward your customers

To grow a truly customer-centric business you need to ask yourself the following questions.

  1. Does your business reward your customer for their loyalty and if so how?
  2. Do you know what rewards your customer wants?
  3. Are you listening to your customer’s voice and recognizing what they are telling you?
  4. How do you optimize your customer’s experience?
  5. Does your business’ customer service reflect your customer has told you?

Originally posted 2016-08-12 13:14:36.

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Customers don’t care

That’s right you heard me…Your customers don’t really care about you!  This can be a shock to some businesses who believe that they have loyal customers who have and will continue to frequent their business no matter what.

customers

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The reality in today’s world is that the customer can be bought, sold and coerced. If you do not know what their triggers are you are in danger of becoming extinct.

Challenge yourself by answering the following questions as ‘your customer’?

Be honest and brutal with your answers because these will assist you to improve your customer ‘stickiness’. It will also give you an advantage over your competitors. Once you understand where your weaknesses are where, when and how you interact with your customers you will be able to do something about it.

What are the ‘BEST’ reasons customers will leave you?

1/ Benefit

  • What value do you give a customer that no-one else does?
  • Are you solving a problem for your customers?
  • What advantage do they gain by using your product or service?
  • How do you differ from your competitors and how do you communicate that?
  • Is the benefit you deliver for the customer significant enough to establish them as a regular customer?

    2/ Experience

  • Is the customer’s journey seamless from beginning to end?
  • Do you believe your customer’s journey intuitive?
  • Do you believe that your customers feel like their needs and wants are being considered?
  • Does your customer feel that they have ownership of the process and are in control?
  • What makes the experience that you deliver different/better than your competitors?
  • Is the message, outcome or ‘call to action’ clear and relevant for the customer?

3/ Satisfaction

  • How does your product or service make your customer feel?
  • Will the experience make your customers want to tell their family and friends?
  • Did the customer feel rewarded, valued and happy with what you delivered?
  • What happened that will make the customer return?
  • How do you know that your customer’s are satisfied with what you are delivering?
  • How are you identifying and assessing the level of satisfaction you are delivering for your customers?

4/ Time

  • Was your customer’s experience timely because we now live in a world of immediacy and time is precious?
  • Are you aware of where your customers are and what they were doing?
  • Was navigation easy and quick to let your customers find what they are searching for?
  • Did the effort the customer had to put in to receive your product or service make it worth the investment that you asked them to put in?
  • How much time did your service or product save your customer and what value did it give them?
  • Did you customer achieve cost savings in other areas by using your products or services?

Do you know how you could improve your business to attract and engage customers so that they ‘care’ about what will you have to offer them?  How will you become a more customer-centric business?

Originally posted 2016-04-18 08:44:50.

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7 Deadly Sins of Strategies – Are you guilty?

Once upon a time… there were strategies for everything.  While having  a business strategy is often the anchor strategy you may also find a sales strategy, a marketing strategy and now a digital strategy in your business.

Digital strategies and the transformation they drive is evolving business’ from analog to digital.  The journey is fast and furious. As a result of this businesses who choose not to get on board now also risk becoming irrelevant, disrupted or extinct.

strategies

 

Digital must now be core to every part of your business.  Every decision that is made in the business should start with… So how will digital make this ….?

Digital strategies – Are you a sinner or saint?

1/  STRATEGY SIN:  You are business-centric 

Your business offers X products and Y services as a result of perceived customer demand. Naturally, because of this approach, you position your business strategy to continue to improve and deliver these products and services. Your focus is to also deliver these products and services with lower cost and higher returns. Does this sound familiar?

STRATEGY TRANSFORMATION: Become customer-centric 

Your customers determine the success of your business.  Now is the time to audit your business and benchmark how you perform in your industry and against best practices. This process will also help your business to understand what customers want now and in the future. Furthermore if you do the same thing the same way  your should expect to get the same result. In business today you are almost certainly going to get a much lesser result and see diminishing returns. This will also progressively compromise the viability and relevancy of your business.

2/  STRATEGY SIN: Cutting costs to remain competitive

When the going gets tough a lot of businesses would rather cut their costs and bunker down to weather the storm than be proactive. This behaviour closes the eyes of your business  rather than making your business aware of what is happening around you.  It also puts your business in a defensive position and increases your business vulnerability on price point and not on value.  This is a game that your business will almost certainly never win and you will continue to lose market share.

STRATEGY TRANSFORMATION: Invest in your business’ future

There is no doubt that due to the necessity for change and ongoing disruption the interruption of the traditional business model cannot be ignored.  To stay relevant you also need to understand the customer climate and innovate based on qualified and quantitative data.  As a result of this action being taken your business will be empowered to grow and outshine your competition. An investment based on intelligence and visualization is money well spent.

3/  STRATEGY SIN: Being reactive 

Your competitors are changing their business models and embracing technology. You don’t want to reinvent the wheel. If your competition are doing it successfully you assume  it is what the market wants so you invest in a version of what your competitors are doing to remain competitive.  You compete on cost to offer an alternative that is attractive for your customers as an option to your competitors more expensive offering. This will make your competitive….right? Remember when you take this approach are trusting that your competition has made the right decision for you.

STRATEGY TRANSFORMATION: Be proactive 

Being reactive means you are always behaving from what ‘has happened’.  The key words here are ‘has happened’ .  Working in the past tense is disadvantaging your business as you are always trying to mimic or catch up to where you think you should be.  Strategic planning with digital tools at the core of your decision making ‘turns the tables’ and puts you back in the driver’s seat. You are able to introduce indicative and predictive analytics based on market intelligence.

4/  STRATEGY SIN: Culture adverse 

By accepting that the culture in your business does not or will not change you are condemning your business to a bleak future.  Technology is often mistaken as digital transformation where it really is a tool that facilitates it. The true driver is your people and the culture in your business.  Culture will have a bigger impact on your P & L going forward than technology ever will alone.

STRATEGY TRANSFORMATION: Culture shift 

Culture change doesn’t happen overnight and cannot happen without people in your business championing digital transformation and owning it.  When this starts from the C-suite down the momentum starts to swing but the key is identifying, incentifying and rewarding people in your organisation who champions and lead change.  These are the people who will work with their teams to make true digital transformation happen. Invest in resource to bring into your business to educate, facilitate and guide your business.

5/  STRATEGY SIN: Tunnel Vision

Planning a strategy that is projected on what you know or think you know now will be fatal.  The 3 year/5 year strategies that have been the mainstay for legacy businesses as the bible of what they will do next, how they will resource and what they will invest in is now redundant.  Your business vision needs to recognize that business is changing almost before the ink dries on the bound print strategy on your desk.  Today’s business strategy is a living and breathing document that must be agile to respond to change as it occurs.

STRATEGY TRANSFORMATION: Peripheral Vision  

You must look outside of the centre of your focus to be able to see what is happening in your industry and even in other industries that may disrupt or change the course of yours.  Smart and agile startups that are only interested in giving your customers what they want, where and when they want it should be on your radar. The strategies start-ups work from are agile and living.  They make changes to their strategies that reflect what the customer is saying and are responsive to change. This enables them to deliver immediacy and satisfaction.

6/  STRATEGY SIN: Competing with yourself

Silos are nothing new in business and silos competing for budget dollar in a business isn’t new either. This annual push and shove for the budget business dollar dilutes the power of the business to perform in an agile manner.  If department A is competing with department B to achieve their independent objectives you have to ask these questions.

  • What is happening to the companies goals of achieving their objectives?
  • Is the business being obsured by  internal politics and is this overriding what is important to the business holistically?

STRATEGY TRANSFORMATION: Making yourself competitive

Your business needs to establish strategies that are customer led and are driven by digital at their core.

  • How can you better manage your business by embracing digital?
  • Who should own digital in your business to drive this?

You need to hold digital accountable for this!  Digital should touch and impact every part of your business model and your business operations (yes your people). Technology is critical to make this happen.  This will arm your business to be ready to compete with disruption, change and challenges. Your business will evolve to become a smart and innovative digital leader.

7/  STRATEGY SIN: Set and forget

Does this sound familiar?

Your business strategy has consumed your business time and resources. You have ensured that you have addressed everything you need to and it has been documented ready for board approval.  The presentation goes well and the strategy is approved. Beautifully bound volumes of your business strategy are sent to key stakeholders across the business….then what?

Meetings follow and key elements of the strategy are implemented.  The challenge is that a lot of what is written on those pages is left sitting on desks.  It is highly likely as time passes that they will gather dust and be overlooked or simply ignored. This could be due to the either the challenges of the day-to-day running of the business or lack of time rather than intent.

STRATEGY TRANSFORMATION: Making it happen iteratively

Strategies need to be informed before they can be determined and your current and prospective customers should be the authors of your strategy.  Once you learn what your customers and stakeholders need and want you have qualified data that illustrates direction and enables smart decision making.

  • What if your business could have a strategy that was licensed to be implemented iteratively and incrementally? This would effectively take the strategy off those pages and deliver quick wins as it is implemented.
  • What if these wins could offset cost, reduce resources, improve sales and be measured by other benchmarks to grow the business.

This would justify investment and also empower your business to change course as your customers needs and wants change. This would give your business the competitive advantage you need. This is how true digital transformation works.

Please feel free to add other strategy sins that are not listed here and their remedies!  How we behave as businesses has never made us more vulnerable than we are now.

Your business  can not afford to invest in a digital transformation.

No business is exempt from change and everything you hear and see suggests that this is only the beginning.

Originally posted 2016-04-10 15:20:28.

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