By Daniel Griggs, founder of ATX The Brand, a tech agency focused on solving problems, building businesses and strengthening communities.
Over the past few years, the term “digital transformation” has become popular among entrepreneurs and business leaders. As technology advances and culture changes with it, more consumers are demanding online services and capabilities — and more companies are pivoting to try to meet the demand.
The Covid-19 pandemic accelerated the digital shift that was already happening across the country and across the world. Being stuck at home has changed consumer preferences — and expectations — around what is virtually available. According to e-commerce support platform Oberlo, 51% of small businesses say their online interactions with customers have increased. A survey from PYMNTS found that U.S. consumers are shopping online more frequently now than at the height of the pandemic, and 25% think the digital shift will stick.
It is clear that consumers are prioritizing virtual tools and services more than ever, and many businesses have responded by attempting to improve their online presence and digital game. However, there is one drastic mistake some businesses make. As the CEO of a web design, web development and digital marketing agency, it is a mistake I see repeatedly taking place.
The Process Behind Digital Transformation
The unfortunate truth is that many businesses equate their online brand with their website and see “digital transformation” as no more than a site upgrade or redesign. The fact of the matter is that digital transformation is about your company’s processes, not about your products. Your processes include your customer relationship management (CRM) system, your security, your marketing strategies and your administrative systems — and these processes are vital when it comes to sustainably growing your business. They are the pieces that your customer doesn’t immediately see or know to look for but will ultimately have the biggest impact on their experience with your business.
Your website and mobile app are important, but they are really just the tip of the iceberg. If your company hopes to stay competitive in the digital economy, you need more than a pretty website or trendy mobile app. You need to understand the mind and the values of the modern consumer and learn how to build your business processes around the needs of your target audience.
My company works with many small- and medium-sized companies who come to us with either no website or with a website that is in desperate need of an upgrade. Business owners are busy people who may not think about their digital capabilities beyond the front-facing design and content of their website or social media pages.
Important Questions To Ask Before A Digital Transformation
In focusing on the visual aspects of their brand, some business owners forget to ask themselves the following important questions:
• How do I manage bookings?
• How is customer data filed and organized?
• What is my process for following up on leads and inquiries?
• How are my services promoted and marketed?
• What is my process for gathering feedback and implementing changes?
The answers to all of these questions are critical for growing a business in a digitally competitive economy.
For example, one of our clients, a pest control company, was looking for ways to digitally transform their business. My team of designers, developers and content creators not only upgraded and rebranded the company website, but we also dug a little deeper. We helped the client create different marketing funnels and administrative processes for residential and commercial clients. We discussed how data would be gathered and pain points assessed. We supported both back-end and front-end processes that would help the company run faster and smoother in order to meet and exceed customer expectations.
This approach doesn’t just apply to for-profit businesses either. We work with many non-profit organizations and universities that say that their donation and fundraising efforts have been impacted by the digital shift. Times have changed and the way that schools and organizations connect with alumni and donors needs to change as well.
Leads and sales are important, but taking a holistic approach to digital transformation will have long-term benefits by improving customer satisfaction and retention — as well as by setting the foundation for achievable and sustainable scalability. If you attract a lot of customers with fancy web design but don’t have the infrastructure to support them, your business will ultimately suffer. Digital transformation isn’t just about maximizing revenue in the short term — it is about revamping your entire business process and setting yourself up for success in the future.
The world may never return to the “normal” we knew before the Covid-19 pandemic. The digital revolution is here. Is your business ready?