Planning for business transformation? Listen to customers first

Evolve with the needs of your customers by embracing transformation.

Evolve with the needs of your customers by embracing transformation.

Is the industry in which you operate being disrupted?

Have you noticed customer expectations and needs evolving?

Are you experiencing talent drain?

If there is at least one “yes” in your answers and you have not thought about changing the way business is conducted, there might be a problem.

Labeled as the Fourth Industrial Revolution, the digital revolution brings unique challenges and redefines the traditional roles of industries and businesses. It is unique because this is the first of its kind where technology has impacted both the supply and demand side of the equation, progressing at an exponential pace with unprecedented breadth and depth.

At the same time, the power of speed also means this revolution is detrimental to businesses that cannot adapt fast enough. Amidst the environmental shifts, business transformation is a default choice to stay relevant.

Why couldn’t multi-million businesses such as Eastman Kodak, Blockbuster, and Borders survive the game of transformation? Were they blind to the disruption? Were they too comfortable to change? I don’t think so. The root cause was not the inability to take action, but the tendency to follow established patterns of mindset and behavior. Being obsessed with ways of thinking and working that succeeded in the past limited the companies’ visions to see further and out of the box.

Avoid Getting Stuck

The first and foremost rule of transformation is to avoid getting stuck, especially at this moment in time when the acceleration of innovation and the velocity of disruption are impossible to anticipate. Businesses have to adopt an agile business model to be able to adjust course swiftly (read my previous article on building an agile business model). At the same time, businesses have to be mindful about evolving customer expectations and pay attention not only to products and services, but more importantly, to customer experience. Keep your customers in the center of your transformation.

In an agency environment, what ultimately manifest in customer experience are the quality of the talent pool, operational processes and the agency mindset. A customer-centric transformation approach is to:

Optimize processes, not just service offerings

Effective operational processes in this day and age have to function like living organisms that evolve alongside industry developments, technology advancement, client expectations, and behavior. To achieve this, agencies have to implement a flexible talent structure supported by a team of generalized specialists that can develop acute sensitivity to trends and master insights and knowledge.

Make trust your most important product

Forget about media relations, digital marketing, or influencer engagement, make trust your winning product. The services you offer will keep changing, but trust is constant. On one hand, agencies should continuously up-skill to be the best in what they do. On the other hand, building client trust is THE soft skill to acquire.

Adopt a consultancy mindset

Communications agencies today should no longer limit themselves to solving communications challenges. Think beyond them and use the power of communications to tackle real business problems.

Thanks to technology, such as mobile devices liberalizing people’s content consumption habits and digital analytics tools enabling insights, communications will make an impact in creating brand differentiation, defining target markets, and even improving product design. Make good use of the power, and make your words and work matter.

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