It’s been some time now since I returned from Salesforce’s 17th Dreamforce conference. That time has given me the opportunity to reflect on my experiences there, and how they fit into the broader context of the work I do day-to-day in my role as Isuzu Australia’s Customer Care Manager.
The opportunity to attend any of thousands of sessions, hear from speakers of diverse backgrounds, and to be exposed to new resources and ideas was invaluable. I heard from industry leaders and experts, and like many people, I came back thoughtful, engaged, and inspired.
One of the key threads woven through the conference was the discussion of how business is changing in 2020 to truly platform everything around the customer. The goal: to use customer data and consumer insights to deliver an exceptional customer experience without compromising the human aspect of business.
The perspective has been a part of Isuzu’s vision for years now: a 360 degree view of each customer, with a single platform. Our aim is a system holding data that is accessible by field staff and customer service, on which customers can update their own details, and where our dealer network can view information about their customers—all in the one system, updated in real time.
It’s a vision that increases in value as we see more companies using a customer-centric process instead of a product-centric process with great success. Being able to use a central system and have the whole organisation act as a single unit when engaging with customers increases both ROI and customer satisfaction.
In the beginning, it’s overwhelming: you don’t know how you’ll achieve those goals—you know the objective and where you want to be, you have that vision, but you have no clear pathway to success.
This is where partnerships are critical. When we began our own journey, I certainly didn’t have the team of people. Without our key project partners, we wouldn’t be here today—and, until this year, we have had no internal Salesforce resource, so we have relied heavily on our partners. As our data integration partner, DCA helped us bring together our data from isolated systems into the one central system.
Like this, leaning on the knowledge of industry experts and your CRM, data and implementation partners, you’re empowered to map out those pathways to your goals.
Once you have your map, the hardest part’s over. From there, you just need to stay the course.
For our part here at Isuzu, we’ve made a commitment to improving customer experience continuously.
Leveraging the data from our own digital transformation has resulted in customer experience improvements like greater personalisation through Salesforce Marketing Cloud and the launch of the MyIsuzu app, which allows customers to organise and manage all their vehicle information.
Here’s some lessons we’ve learnt throughout this process, and what you need to know in order to drive your own digital transformation
- Take a modular approach
The sheer breadth of the task can seem overwhelming. You can’t do it all at once.
The only way to tackle a project of this kind of scope is to break it into manageable chunks.
Make an assessment, brief in key stakeholders, get a good grasp on the components that need to be addressed, and then decide which ones need to be completed first. Reduce each large, complex task into several smaller and simpler ones. These bite sized pieces will be easier to swallow, and that will help you manage them—without having a nervous breakdown during the process.
- Ensure strategic alignment
It’s very likely that your organisation has a business strategy. Within that plan you have priorities: the desired outcomes, what constitutes successful competition in your market, and financial performance among others.
Let that information be your guide: make sure you identify and understand your pain points so you can prioritise them, and ensure that your approach marries with your overall business strategy.
- Pay attention to stakeholder management
It can be very challenging to determine what should come next. Internally, you might face problems with competing departments, different priorities and of course the potential for conflicts around the budget.
It’s important to engage with your key stakeholders early—the sooner the better. Make sure that everyone understands the requirements, and then ensure that the critical people know what your goals are, what your plan is, and what part you’re up to. Then once you’ve briefed them in don’t leave them out in the cold! Keep them in the loop.
- Get the best collaboration partners
Select the best CRM, implementation and data partners. They will see you through the challenges! Don’t be afraid to rely not just on their specific expertise, but their wealth of experience—their advice and guidance will be more valuable than you think.
Pay attention to these key takeaways, and your own digital transformation will be a much smoother journey.
We’ve come a long way—but we know there’s still a lot more we can do. Our digital transformation means we can move forward, confident we’re not getting left behind. We know our journey isn’t over yet: technology and customers change and grow. We will, too.
About the Author
Kathryn Kreuzer is Customer Care Manager at Isuzu Australia and guest author for DCA. Kath is passionate about transforming customer relationships and increasing customer engagement, satisfaction and retention.