We use cookies to improve your experience. By using our site you are accepting our cookie policy. 
Read our privacy policy to learn more.

Innovation and Best Practice
for Business Success

Established 1967

Go to Marketing & Public Relations

How to Complete a Digital Transformation to Remain Successful

18th May 2015 | Steven Van Belleghem

When Digital Becomes Human Author Steven Van Bellehem Outlines the 10 Steps for Making a Digital Transformation

When Digital Becomes Human (9780749473235)In this extract from When Digital Becomes Human, Steven Van Belleghem outlines the 10 steps you need to start taking today to remain successful.

Completing a digital transformation is essential if you want to remain successful in the years ahead. In the previous chapters I have described the elements that go to make up this new customer relationship. This evolution will bring companies to the right-hand side of the ‘when digital becomes human’ model.

The consumer has chosen; almost every element of our life now contains a digital component. A digital transformation is therefore an indispensable condition for your future survival as a company. Non-digital companies will start to find things difficult within a matter of years. Change is taking place at lightning speed. There is no time to lose: you need to make the necessary structural changes today. Tomorrow will be too late.

The following elements form the core of the transformation to a digital customer relationship:

  • Rapid progress in technological development has been matched by a major change in the expectations of consumers. Digital first = customer first. The successful companies in the digital world are extremely customer-oriented.
  • The digital customer relationship leads to a new form of operational excellence that combines efficiency and a higher level of customer experience.
  • Customer first means extreme customer orientation. This requires an adaptive business model. Markets are constantly in movement. Organizations need to anticipate or follow these movements. A customer-first mindset also involves and ‘Angry Birdization’ of the customer process, a back office working for the end user, a front office with more autonomy and an evaluation system that reflects customer-oriented performance.
  • A digital relationship places the customer (and not the channels) in the central position between the different interactions. The difference between online and offline disappears. To succeed in this transition, it is necessary to create a digital ecosystem.
  • A digital ecosystem in the interaction between all the different channels (online and offline), the consumer and the relevant partners (for example, suppliers, bloggers). This system places the customer in a central position and links all the possible contact moments with each other. A digital ecosystems functions via data centralization, faster than real-time actions and an open partner model.
  • In the digital customer relationship the company seeks to secure a ‘return on happiness’ – increasing service to the customer at a lower cost. Self-service in the only way to realize this management paradox.
  • In the future, customers will have more and more control over all aspects of their relationship with companies and organizations. Self-service will evolve into self-control.
  • The huge increase in the use of sensors and the internet of everything will make it possible for self-control to evolve into automation. Automation is the superlative form of self-control. The customer relationship of the future is an automated relationship.
  • Data are the fuel of the digital customer relationship. Everything in the world can be converted into data. The evolution of data makes consumers more predictable. This means that marketers need a new approach. They must no longer focus on the average customer, but on the individual customer.
  • The most important objective of data use in the digital customer relationship is the creation of greater relevance. If the customer is willing to make their data available, they expect optimization of the customer relationship in return. Relevance can be enhanced by using the data pyramid model. The base of this pyramid is the generation of new customer insights (big wisdom). The second step is the improvement of service in app phases of the purchasing process (big help). The third and final step is the personalization of products, services and communication (big personalization).

About the author: Steven Van Belleghem is a successful entrepreneur, academic, speaker and author. He is a thought leader on the transformation of customer relations and the future of customer-centric marketing. The former Managing Partner at market research and consultancy firm InSites Consulting, he is a professor at Vlerick Leuven Gent Management School and author of The Conversation Manager and The Conversation Company.

o learn more read When Digital Becomes Human: The Transformation of Customer Relationships. Save 20% when you order the book with discount code MKTWDBHB

Buy now


Marketing & Public Relations

For over 40 years Kogan Page has been providing marketing, advertising, sales and PR professionals with the great ideas and practical advice they need to be the best at what they do. Here you’ll find free guides, case studies, original research and articles from our author experts. Subscribe for weekly updates by selecting 'Marketing' on our newsletter form and follow us on Twitter (@KPMktng) for the latest information.

Go to zone