As the digital revolution sweeps across every industry, the #1 business priority for CEOs has become creating and delivering great customer experiences. Specifically, experiences fashioned around what buyers want and need, rather than on what’s convenient for the seller.
Look at these three recent examples from very different companies:
TD Bank Group’s Customer-Focused Innovation
TD Bank Group, one of the largest banks in North America, went so far as to say that its sweeping agreement with Microsoft around cloud and AI is designed to create “legendary” experiences for its 25 million customers. Group President and CEO Bharat Masrani said TD “is shaping the future of banking in the digital age.” It’s doing so through the creation of “personalized, connected and legendary experiences across all of our channels.” By exploiting the full power of the Microsoft Azure cloud and related AI capabilities, TD will be able to “accelerate and fuel new and innovative banking experiences for our customers, clients and colleagues,” Masrani said in a press release issued yesterday.
How Goodyear Tire & Rubber Puts ‘Customer at Center of Everything’
For 121-year-old Goodyear Tire & Rubber Co., the key to being around for another century and more is its ability to “put the customer at the center of everything we do.” This means ensuring that all 64,000 employees have the right tools and technology to maintain and enhance that customer-centric approach.
As I noted in an overview yesterday of Goodyear’s selection of a wide range of Microsoft cloud technologies, CIO Sherry Neubert says the company’s focus on customers and the experiences those customers want to have is allowing Goodyear to see beyond the strategic nature of “tires” that’s been fused into the company’s name since 1898.
“Our goal is to deliver innovative solutions that keep the world moving. From owning the connection to the road today, to a future beyond tires, innovation lives and breathes throughout our organization.” Neubert made the customer-first priority for digital transformation quite explicit in a related blog post from late last year: “The digital world is changing fast, and we must lead with digital innovation. For Goodyear, it’s all about how we can enable everyone in the company to put the customer at the center of everything we do and ensure that we maintain our leadership position in the new mobility ecosystem of tomorrow.”
Guardian Life Insurance: Make Customer Experience “More Delightful”
The challenge of modernizing the core technology at a life-insurance company founded before the Civil War can be daunting. But Guardian Life executive VP, CIO and chief of operations Dean Del Vecchio has been relentless in ensuring that the ultimate goal is exciting and delighting customers.
“Take the underwriting process. That could happen a lot faster than it does today, when you have to draw fluids and blood and send them out, and it can take weeks if not months for that process,” Del Vecchio said in a recent Cloud Wars article and Cloud Wars Live podcast episode.
“I think with additional data points and additional data sources, we can do that much quicker. So we can make it much more of a seamless process with a lot less touch points.
“And I think that the whole experience is going to get easier and more pleasurable, and more delightful than it is today.”
Digital Transformation Must Be Customer-Centric
No industry is immune from the digital revolution. Because every customer—whether a consumer or a business—is becoming fully aware of the advantages digital technologies can bring to everything from work, life, play and more.
Companies choosing to move forward with the misguided belief that “digital transformation” is solely about making their existing processes and operations more efficient are in for a jarring and possibly brutal awakening. Those outcomes can be nice to have—very nice if done properly—but they must be viewed as after-effects of the true objective: delighting and dazzling your customers in every experience they have.
For TD Bank, that means leveraging technology to create “legendary” customer experiences. For Guardian Life, it means doing whatever’s necessary to make the experience of buying life insurance “more delightful” and “more pleasurable.”
And as Goodyear CIO Neubert put it: “It’s all about how we can enable everyone in the company to put the customer at the center of everything we do and ensure that we maintain our leadership position in the new mobility ecosystem of tomorrow.”
Disclosure: at the time of this writing, Microsoft was a client of Evans Strategic Communications LLC.
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