An unspoken rule of common sense says that when things change around you, you need to change. But did anything change lately? Well, it seems that life has changed dramatically.
Three months ago, almost at the end of March I was thinking how I would be able to go to the farmer’s market and get my spring vegetables. And then, to my incredible surprise, I got a recommendation from some friends regarding a producer that used to come to the farmer’s market near us and was now moving online. You would be able to place an order online and they will deliver it to you on some specific days. So, that person that had no intention or no real approach to the digital life had the inspiration to move forward in order o be able to keep their business.
This process of moving towards an online only presence is called digitalization. This process is true not only for what a company sells outside for the customers, but it is also a process that happens inside the business and its structure.
I suppose the new context of life has made many of those who were somewhat distrustful of this new era of digitalization to finally move to it. And for those that are still in a doubt let’s review a bit what would be the benefits of moving to digitalization.
- Improves business flow
Consider this: you need to make a presentation to potential customers. You bring up a flipchart, you meet with your colleagues and brainstorm for days, for this to work you need to print tens of reports to prove the business income, you need to have someone arrange a meeting hall and bring in some refreshments like water and coffee, give some breaks if the meeting is longer, invite some lawyers if there is a contract to sign, etc. There is a lot of things to prepare, a lot of papers to print and review, a lot of departments involved with which you need to get in touch and ask for different reports, and so on.
And now think just for a moment if you would be able to access all these data online. Imagine your company would have its own base of online documents, secured therefore encrypted and available for everyone to check in digital form, if they work in the company and have access to this database of internal knowledge. To get into a meeting with potential costumers you will probably need to set up a video conference at an hour that is convenient for both parties, and when asked about some report or document, you will only need to access the database and put the document on the screen. Wouldn’t this be easier and fuss free? This is digitalization and how it improves the day to day business flow.
Instead of sending 10 emails to 10 different colleagues to get 10 different information, you only need to access a common database that has all you need in terms of data. You do not need to use paper anymore, no more cutting trees or risking getting some disease because someone sick touched a piece of paper.
When you choose the digitalization of documents within your company, you are not only choosing progress, but you also choose a greater efficiency. When things can be done digitally the speed improves considerably. Not having to browse through a physical file, but just click a search button and search for a word, improves your efficiency considerably. Do not forget that time is valuable, and you cannot buy it with all the money in the world. So, using some database or automation software could save a lot of your daily work and make the tasks easier. Even further, when everyday repetitive tasks are given to a software, your mind is able to innovate further. Being able to use the information so easily and from so many resources you will be able to find quicker solutions to problems.
- Improves customer experience
If you someone ordered a product from you, let’s say a pair of shoes, and they didn’t get in the estimated time, what do you think the client will do? Probably spend hours trying to get someone on the phone who might not know how to solve the issue, then the client would get upset and never buy from your again. Or if someone had an issue with a product, they already bought from you that broke or never functioned in the first place? They would try to contact your service, if you provide one, they might think the person whom they talk to was not ok and get nervous and this will generate a whole lot of other issues between your customer and you.
Now, let me share a personal experience. I bought something from a less known online Chinese store. The products did not arrive until the promised date, so I contacted the online store. I did not call, they had a chatbot and I wrote to it about my issue. After 1 or 2 questions more, the nice bot told me that they will give me my money back and if the products arrive eventually, I could keep them with no costs implied. Then I would like to tell you about the time I flew to a destination with a airways company and I discovered I did not have a seat in the plane I bought an online ticket for. I was sent from one person to another, and then I had to pay a penalty fee, and when I wanted to complain about this and get my money back, I spent my next 3 to 5 days trying to get them on the phone.
Do you see the difference? When you digitalize things, they become easier. You have a set of rules and you set the chatbot or the automation program to follow your rules exactly. No human interaction might seem strange for some, but it could save you a lot of clients. You can only hire a limited number of people, so they will talk with others when a client is really upset and wants to talk to you right then. Also, people have attitudes based on their characters or life, while robots have only numbers to follow.
Some of you might think this is a “cold” way of assessing customer services, so I would like to give you another perspective. Marketing automation software is a way of digitalizing a company’s marketing day to day work that could make things better not only for you as a marketer, but also for the client. Reaching that customer that might be really interested in what a brand has to sell and say is the ultimate goal of any marketing professional. Digitalization helps you create that customer profile that really fits the product or service you are selling. Your selling process becomes easier and more efficient, on one hand, and on the other hand, the clients gets exactly what is up their alley.
- Reduces costs
There were times when people would consider that a software is a luxury and they might be better without it. Nowadays digitalizing your business not only proves to save a lot of time, but it also saves a lot of money.
Three months ago, when the COVID-19 crisis started to spread all over the world people were in a kind of panic thinking how they will be able to work and get money. All of a sudden, all the big office buildings became empty in a matter of days. So, businesses all over the world were forced to find solutions to continue their activity. And guess what? Most of them discovered they do not need to go to an office building to make their business work. Most of the people that worked in an office could very well work from their homes: the Internet was their knight in shining armor. They could meet online, they could talk there, and they could even count the worked hours. So, do they really need an office and paying an incredible rent for it? Many came to that logical conclusion that they do not need that. So, here it is, the first cost reduction, office rent.
For a lot of time the Human Resources department of a company was kind of a God of a company: big salaries, great responsibility and sometimes a lot of issues. Digitalization offers HR solutions that costs far less than a whole department and having the advantage of an exact syntax and matching system that is designed to work in a certain way, it is also more precise. HR software from today are able to assess the entire pool of employees, recommend further courses, or transfers between departments based on efficiency and current market needs, etc. This might not sound like a real problem for you if you have 20 employees, but if your company has over 1000 employees it is incredible difficult for a few people to keep track of everything need for HR to do today.
- Addresses the new digital culture
You’ve probably are, or you have at least heard of the Millennials or the Generation Y? They are those who are now probably amongst the best customers in the world. Because they are at an age that does not care for money, but they are still a bit conventional, they are the best buyers. They are not wild being very young, but they are not safe being still young. These are those who use the Internet as 40 years old use gas, meaning they’ll use it as something normal, just another commodity.
They would be probably 40-50% of your employees so they would consider it normal to have almost everything automated.
Not only the millennials will be a considerable part of your employee pool, but they will also be a significant part of your clients’ base. Then, there is a special segment of customers called Generation C from connected. This is a special part of the population because even they are mostly made up of those under the age of 35, they might also be over 40 or whatever age. And that is because those are the people that are organically connected to their mobile terminals. They would ask, order, buy, sell, work, interact, etc. only online. And they are those people that will begin their day by opening their mobile and then making a coffee.
This generation C extends more and more and during the last months of 2021 it found new fans, due to the social distancing measures and the fear of touching anything material.
I strongly believe 2021 is the year the digitalization will begin to really matter. Until today those automated and online tools, services and software were just something you needed to do at some point in time. Now going digital is the only way that works and that proves to be powerful and able to provide a small amount of security.