Sustainable Customer Success through Customer Centric Digital Transformation.

Paris, July 14th 2018 by Mathieu Lecordier. 

Customer success starts with intelligent Customer Relationship Management (CRM) and e-Commerce with the latest digital technology devices, cloud software and processes. Sustainability requires also achieving customer centric Digital Completeness, maximizing Creative Digital while harnessing Destructive Digital and maintaining a Digital Balance. Let’s dive in the details in the following paragraphs. 

Step 1: Digital Completeness

What is the level of end customer satisfaction when your CRM is state of the art, but you cannot deliver orders on time because your end to end supply chain is not flexible enough? How about end customer satisfaction when the new product you want to sell comes too early on the market or too late?

As a first step to Sustainable Customer Success, we often need to consider three mutually exclusive objectives for end customers:

  • Manage all customers interactions,
  • Deliver products or services on time to customers, 
  • Provide products and services that the customers expect at the right time.

Historically these objectives have been addressed by different processes and technologies, in order, CRM and e-Commerce, end to end Supply Chain Management (SCM) and Product Lifecycle Management (PLM).

CRM has been trailblazing customer success but customer centric digital and intelligent SCM and PLM are also key components of the unified commerce model and today’s customer obsession. 

Step 2: Digital Duality

Every technological innovation comes with a duality, its “light side” and “dark side”. The strongest example to illustrate this point is nuclear technology providing on the one hand electrical power to millions but on the other hand long lasting environmental waste and weapons of mass destruction.

The same way digital innovations come with “Creative Digital” and “Destructive Digital”: 

  • The “Creative Digital” side enhances human and corporate performance through data access and processing everywhere and at any time. Customer centric digital can help sell better, increase speed of service, better anticipate expectations, reach out to any point on the planet, unite people from different cultures, beliefs and tastes and push back the limits of our thoughts and actions …
  • The “Destructive Digital” side on the contrary tends to harm the environment and humans. Increasing sales rotations boost consumptions which on the long run are detrimental to the environment, in a world limited to the resources available on our planet. Digital enhances the divide between those who can access the technology and those who cannot. Computers and robots have already destroyed countless blue-collar jobs and artificial intelligence is now about to redefine white collar work…

Sustainable Customer Success can be achieved by helping companies implement complete customer centric Creative Digital while controlling and reducing the impact of Destructive Digital, managing social equality, inclusion, building trust and implementing appropriately scaled “give back” strategies. 

Step 3: Digital Balance

According to the Balance of Nature the ecological systems tend to a stable equilibrium or homeostasis, in other words, a small change in a parameter will be corrected by a feedback that will bring the parameter back to its original point of balance with the rest of the system.

Millennials are born with digital and as they grow up they feel the need to immerse themselves in a human and organic experience both in their everyday life but also at work. For example, men grow beards, walk into the wild whilst taking their smartphones with them. Many care to post their shared human experiences and emotions on social networks.

Successful modern point of sales merge a perfect sensorial, aesthetic experience and human warmth with seamless digital technology.

Unlike some transhuman philosophers may think, the “more digital” is sustainable only if balanced with increased humanity.

The Digital Balance is at the heart of Sustainable Customer Success. 

What does it mean for my company?

Customer success and customer centric digital transformation is no longer a question today. To maintain and develop a position on your market, survive to digital born new entrants, the investment in a state of the art real time cloud CRM and e-Commerce using artificial intelligence and the development of a unified commerce approach is a must have.

Your supply chain, manufacturing and research & development must be equipped with similar technology to keep up the pace, better serve customer expectations and help collaborate with every stakeholder in your eco-system or value chain from customer, to marketer, to salesman, to agent, to purchaser, to engineer, to factory worker, to partner and to supplier.

To be successful on the long term, this digital escalation requires continuous change management and must be balanced by integrating more humanity in your business.

This means striving for digital seamlessness and making room for human interactions and positive feelings, a great experience, and trust both for customers, your employees and partners in the office but also at the point of sale and online.

In a globalized economy, largely facilitated by digital, managing diversity, equality and inclusion is no longer an option to succeed.

Finally, customer success will only be real if sustainable for our planet and its inhabitants. This means your company should give back socially and environmentally and define a progressive philanthropic and “give back” model.