Digital transformation is, at its core, a foundational shift in the ways that a business perceives and uses technology. Although the true purpose of Digital Transformation (typically abbreviated to DX) has become clouded as the term gained popularity, DX remains an important concept for business leaders to consider when examining their organization’s performance.
Digital transformation takes a holistic approach to business processes and is most effective when every aspect of the business is reimagined and updated through tech. However, it can also be helpful to break up the digital transformation process and examine each facet of the business one at a time. As one of the most crucial elements of any successful business, communication can benefit greatly from digital integrations.
If DX is the foundation for modern business tech integrations, communication is one of the many pillars built from this foundation. That’s why you should have a critical understanding of your communication strategies before enacting any changes in your digital business practices.
The two types of business communication
Before we examine specific DX advice, it’s important to understand the two overarching communication channels in business in order to correctly enact digital transformation in both. It’s true that DX can improve both of these communication buckets, but each one will require its own tools and tactics.
The first communication type is internal communication. This is any communication that occurs between coworkers, management, upper leadership or others within the company. Largely, the purpose of internal communication is to unify the company vision, facilitate a collaborative work environment and share relevant information.
The second communication type is external communication. This term encapsulates any conversations that your business has with those outside of the business: vendors, suppliers and—most importantly—your customers and stakeholders. Customer service, public relations and even human resources teams are responsible for communicating externally and establishing company presence.
Now that we’ve covered these two umbrella terms for communication, let’s look at DX tips specific to each.
Dewire communication tools
From phone lines to fax machines, so many businesses depend on outdated hardware to communicate with their teams. These analog communications systems might be familiar to use, but on top of high maintenance costs, wiring issues and increases to overhead expenses, antiquated technology can no longer accommodate the needs of modern businesses.
Exponential demands from both employees and employers to offer flexible or outside-of-office work arrangements mean that organizations need communication technology that “unplugs” or operates off-site.
There are several use-cases for new technology that have allowed businesses to convert entirely to digital platforms. Voice over IP telephony, for instance, eliminates phone cabling by sending and receiving voice data from one IP address to another. Broadband internet also allows VoIP users to experience high-quality calls wherever they are, further making remote work a reality.
Often abbreviated to BPM, Business Process Management software is another example of a digital integration that improves communication. Before these tools existed, business teams would have to require manual processes, such as paper documentation, to share workflow steps with others and monitor the progress for each project. BPM software digitizes workflows, allowing teams to collaborate through notifications and messaging platforms.
Ensure integration capabilities
In order to make digital transformation effective, your company should be investing in not only the right tools, but also the tools that work together the best. This means that integration—across platforms and with your other technology services—is essential to yielding a unified vision for communication.
Imagine that you use an information management system. If your technology is responsible for storing customer data but doesn’t integrate with your call systems and your email directories, sales and marketing teams will be forced to juggle between these multiple platforms to continue their relationships with the consumer.
This process, known as Business Integration, helps businesses create a simplified, intuitive work environment for employees and offers greater opportunities to automate tasks and secure information, which can result in greater efficiency (and profit margins).
Organize your customer data
When it comes to nurturing a strong customer journey and reducing your churn rate, nothing is more important than having a keen sense of customer information—where it is, how it is secured and how it can be quickly located.
Paper documentation and files are beyond outdated in terms of data acquisition, yet many businesses still rely on either printed or handwritten forms when mapping out each customer’s history with the company. This makes information difficult to locate, time-consuming to organize and a challenge to secure. Arguably just as bad are businesses that have migrated to storage on their computer systems but have no taxonomy for how or where this information is compiled.
If you find that your business struggles to migrate your data during the digital transformation process, consider the following:
- Investing in CRM storage. These platforms offer a secure, unified location for tracking and updating your customer archives.
- Performing a data audit. Since 10 to 25 percent of B2B contacts in marketing databases include critical errors, a formalized audit will allow you to eliminate faulty information before spending time and resources to migrate it.
- Backing up your data once it is digitized. Unlike paper documents, which are pervious to fires, water damage and human error, digitized data can be additionally secured by backing it up onto off-site servers through the cloud. This allows your business to simultaneously secure and share information with all appropriate parties.
By digitizing your information, your business will be able to communicate with its customers at a faster rate without sacrificing accuracy.
Automate with AI
Between emails, chats, phone calls and even online forums, customers have more communication channels at their disposal than ever before to contact your business. Today’s businesses exist in the age of a need for direct and immediate response, all of which begs the question: how will your customer-facing teams ensure rapid replies while also balancing between each of your communication platforms?
For many, artificially intelligent integrations, such as chatbots, predictive personalization and virtual assistants automate customer relationship tasks to help businesses manage the wide spectrum of communication avenues. All three of these examples use artificial intelligence to respond to simple customer inquiries or relay these conversations to the necessary team member, which can help your business share insights with its consumers even after the office has closed.
Perhaps most importantly, AI gives even small startups and organizations the ability to inform their customer communication strategies through data-driven insights. By data-mining through hundreds or thousands of independent customer journeys, you can better allocate your time and resources to match the demands of your customers, all without dedicating any more of your time to acquiring these insights.