Deloitte: Rapid innovation at speed top priority
Rapid innovation to repurpose existing knowledge, resources and technology helped many organisations adapt to the COVID-19 crisis, report consultants Deloitte.
It highlights how companies who are digitally mature may have an edge on their competitors to quickly adapt their services and goods to cope with global uncertainties - today and tomorrow.
Deloitte reports that global spending on digital transformation is projected to grow by 10.4% in 2020 to US$1.3 trillion. The pandemic has highlighted how critical agility and rapid innovation is vital for organisations to navigate their way through the ‘new normal’.
Researchers at the International Monetary Fund and Stanford University sight three decades of rising uncertainty. The COVID-19 pandemic caused an obvious spike but it hasn’t changed the direction of the trend which means organisations have to prepare through innovation.
“We believe this is one reason why corporate investment in digital transformation remains strong,” says the report. It is “one of the few bright spots in a year characterised by dramatic reductions in overall technology spending.
At a time of rising uncertainty, an ability to innovate rapidly has never been more important. Innovation is complex and many factors influence an organisation’s innovation ability. Digital maturity is a key factor.
Rapid innovation during COVID-19 included:
- Use of existing drugs to tackle symptoms of the pandemic
- Cosmetics and whiskey distilleries producing hand sanitiser
- Manufacturers shifting production capacity to ventilators or face shields and masks
- A passenger airline shifted to cargo-only flights
- A hotel chain offered workspaces at day rates to professionals
- A movie studio released a new film directly to its streaming service
- A mobile car cleaning service went national in two weeks instead of two years
- A pharmacy chain used drones to delivery prescriptions to a retirement community
Most of these moves occurred a few weeks after the World Health Organisation declared the COVID-19 pandemic. According to the report these companies were successful in repurposing existing knowledge, resources, and technology.
Agility and speed key to the future
While the current pandemic will subside, there is little sign that the future will be any more stable or predictable, reports Deloitte. High uncertainty and rapid change tend to reduce the relevance of the data that companies may have traditionally used for planning. Above all, they will need a capacity for rapid innovation - every day, not just in a crisis.
Professors of strategic management and innovation Georg von Krogh, Burcu Kucukkeles and Shiko M. Ben-Menahem suggest that organisations may be able to use repurposing to achieve ultrafast innovation to develop new solutions to current and future challenges.
Repurposing is one way of accelerating innovation. Making effective use of technologies such as cloud computing, data analytics, and artificial intelligence, is among the key principles of repurposing that can support ultrafast innovation.
Seven digital pivots can play a role in accelerating innovation according to a survey by Deloitte. Each of the digital pivots can play a role in accelerating innovation.
The seven digital pivots and their link to innovation:
- Flexible, secure infrastructure involves leveraging cloud computing for scalability, cybersecurity to protect data - lower the risk of innovation.
- Data mastery means using data and analytics to generate insights to enhance efficiency, guide product development and support new business models.
- Digitally savvy, open talent networks involve securing flexible access to the talent and skills to grow a digital business.
- Ecosystem engagement involves working with business partners to access intellectual property, technology or talent that can help accelerate innovation.
- Intelligent workflows mean leveraging automation to increase efficiency and free up resources for higher-value tasks such as creating new products.
- Delivering a superior customer experience built on deep data-driven knowledge - a focus on many recent digital transformation initiatives accelerated by the pandemic.
In conclusion, Deloitte states that some of the most innovative companies on the planet were born digital. For the rest, a concerted effort to become digital can help meet the growing need to innovate at speed.
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Re-defining the economics of CX in the new customer journey
There’s no shortage of customer service channels for the enterprise to select from today. Regardless of the many new metrics that have emerged – such as customer success, or empathy – cost reduction is still a primary driver in selection criteria.
There are many articles dedicated to how companies can turn customer service and customer experience (CX) from a cost to a revenue centre. The problem is, if you stop there and don’t look beyond cost reduction, you’re limiting the scope for CX to become an even bigger economic contributor in the enterprise.
There is every opportunity for customer service and CX to significantly influence the front end of business, particularly amongst direct-to-consumer subscription-based products and services, such as popular streaming services like Netflix, Amazon, Disney+, as well as sports subscription services like DAZN.
In these products and services and others, there are new customer journeys that may drive business growth and revenue. They start earlier and may last a lifetime, so getting things right at the start of the journey is key so that customers have the best experience from day one.
Not only will this help in making customers less likely to reach out for issues-based support further down the line, but these customers will be much less likely to churn, and much more likely to take up new services as they are offered throughout the lifetime journey.
So, what does the new customer journey look like for these services?
Opportunity waiting for the likes of Netflix & Disney
While consumers may have previously regarded customer service as a way to mitigate the inconveniences in their lives, the customer journey is expanding in scope every day. Today there are many more touchpoints available that put CX in a position to drive revenue.
For one-off purchases, traditional CX deployments have not changed significantly in the past few years. However, if you look at the change in the CX relationships we’re seeing with subscription-based products and services, particularly media-based streaming services, it’s clear that these companies lead what quickly become very multifaceted relationships with their customers. These have serious potential to evolve over time for increased economic benefit.
For any sort of subscription-based business, customer lifetime value is paramount, and the requirement to actively manage a continued positive customer experience is critical.
Every interaction is an opportunity, and every data point is a chance to offer more value. Introductory offers can convert to longtime customers. Longtime customers may take up opportunities to upgrade to more premium products or services. They may also appreciate incentives to invite family and friends to become customers. Consumers who like a particular service, for example, may appreciate a recommendation for another similar or complimentary service.
It all starts with customer interaction, and the customer experience journey becomes an opportunity to strategically affect the user base and resulting revenue - which is a far cry from the limitations of call center cost reduction or churn metrics.
How do companies support the new customer journey?
More and more, customers look at the new customer journey as engaging with brands as part of their lifestyles. Many companies are making brand ambassadors available before the traditional customer journey even starts, which is a marked change from a purely transactional relationship associated with a one-off purchase.
These ambassadors, who are often independent users of products or services, are providing trusted pre-sales advice, and that same trusted advice can also function to nurture the customer journey in a subscription-based relationship. Call it ‘GigCX’ or ‘crowdsourced customer service’ or even ‘peer-to-peer customer service’ - it doesn’t matter.
The key is in providing impartial, trusted advice from real users. Think about it: who would you rather get advice from? Someone who has used a product or service extensively, or someone who has been trained to provide customer service surrounding that product or service?
For services such as streaming media, advice from trusted experts with real product know-how could be invaluable. This may not be limited to technical issues, such as what to do when you can’t access your favourite show, or how to access services across various devices. It could be parents helping other parents who are concerned about how to restrict adult content from child viewers, or simply customers who have similar taste in programming who can comment on the benefits of upgraded or premium products. The point is, these experts are easily available at any touchpoint in the customer lifetime journey, creating more chances to add value.
It’s also about tipping customers from ‘passive’ to ‘promoter’ in the NPS scale. It’s an opportunity to turn neutral customers who may be vulnerable to competitive offerings into loyal enthusiasts who will keep buying and referring others, fuelling growth. It may ultimately help drive even further revenue by creating customers that are helping to sell the brand itself.
And, while chatbots and automation may play a key role, they are often not able to handle the more complex support needed in the new customer journey. Conversational AI is rarely as conversational as it claims to be, and in the new customer journey, most companies are finding that a mix of automation and people-centric service is an ideal way to nurture the many new touchpoints created.
It’s no longer about trying to replace human capital with automation: it’s about orchestrating a uniquely personalised CX, and proactively engaging during the customer lifecycle to enhance the experience, and to create more long-term value.
At the moment, we’re only seeing the tip of the iceberg in terms of the power to affect the economics introduced by the new customer journey. We’ll no doubt see this evolve rapidly particularly amongst streaming companies as they use human-centric connections in CX to support the full potential of customer lifetime value.
About Roger Beadle
Roger Beadle is an entrepreneur and business leader who is reinventing how customer service is delivered via the gig economy. After establishing several businesses in the contact centre industry, Roger co-founded Limitless with Megan Neale in 2016. Limitless is a gig-economy platform that addresses some of the biggest challenges faced by the contact center industry: low pay, high attrition and access to new talent. Previously, Roger and Megan helped to build one of the largest privately-owned outsourced contact center business in Europe, before selling the business to the global conglomerate Hinduja Group. Roger is an outspoken proponent of digital ethics, worker’s rights and the ‘good-gig:’ which encapsulates gig work for incremental pay versus full time work, skilled gig work, no unpaid time/downtime and zero expenses.
Named a Rising Star at Deloitte’s Technology Fast 50 program, Limitless is a gig customer service platform, combining crowdsourcing and AI to help global businesses address their biggest customer service challenges – rising costs, increasing attrition, variability in demand and the need for diversity. Brands like Microsoft, Unilever, Daily Mail Group and Postmates are using Limitless’ SmartCrowdTM technology to connect with their most engaged customers, and reward them for providing on-demand customer service that can flex in line with demand. Limitless is one of the world’s first global tech platforms to introduce localised platform terms to protect the rights of its gigging workers. Backed by AlbionVC, Downing Ventures and Unilever Ventures, Limitless is empowering people worldwide to earn money for providing brilliant customer service for the brands they love.