Lynsey Abernethy, from the UK Marketing, Sales & Service consulting team introduces the change in direction to the Customer Experience blog. 

Hypothesis: No organisation can build a credible customer strategy if it lacks digital components.  Discuss…? 

Capgemini Consulting  is focusing its positioning on digital (Capgemini Consulting Digital Transformation ) recognising that traditional rules of management, competition and especially customer engagement are being rewritten in the digital world.  Many CE practitioners also recognise that organisations cannot ignore digital to remain relevant and competitive.  In line with Capgemini Consulting’s digital focus, we’re seeking to follow this theme through to this blog, so from today, expect to see a more prominent digital theme, kicking off this Friday with an interesting opinion piece on Ping Marketing.  Today, I’d like to introduce some thoughts around what this digital revolution means for customers, customer strategists and customer experience practitioners – and introduce my three guiding principles for digital customer transformation.  I’d be really interested to hear your views, so please do leave a comment so we can ensure we’re tailoring our future blogs around the topics that you’re interested in hearing about.

Let’s start with a definition – what do we mean by digital?  How does this impact the customer?  I’ll begin by telling you about my average day: 7:00am and my alarm goes off, I sleepily roll over and check my emails via my iPhone – most usually for me this includes daily mailings from retailers, such as Brand Alley and events listings like Daily Candy Digital Interaction #1, and I haven’t even put my slippers on yet.  I may even have a quick scan of my facebook news feed, where I read friends updates, as well as updates from some of my ‘liked’ pages, for me this includes retailer (again) Cocosa and movie event company, Secret Cinema Digital Interaction #2.  As I’m getting ready for work, I have the news on which as well as discussing products and services, promotes its own interactive channels including web, twitter and iPlayerDigital Interaction #3.  In the office, reading my emails I see further commercial updates and notifications via my RSS feeds – Digital Interaction #4.  Later that day, I am tasked with sending a gift to a colleague overseas, so I choose to browse websites local to her gift, and I browse, compare and purchase online – Digital Interaction #5.  At home that evening, I settle in front of the television, catching up on favourite shows via my Sky+ box Digital Interaction #6, where I fast forward through the ads whilst simultaneously browsing LoveFilm online for DVD rentals, using my high speed broadband connection to watch trailers before selecting my chosen movie – Digital Interaction #7.

I have the ability, through my chosen channels, to filter and control the content that I receive.  Traditional marketing is likely to be lost on me.  What these digital outlets have provided for customers, is access to smaller, niche players who don’t have the budgets for large-scale marketing, suddenly widening the competitive playing field due to seriously reduced barriers. 

Most organisations are aware of the digital age and its needs and are incorporating the channels in their portfolio, however few have mastered an integrated digital customer strategy.  Below are my views of 3 guiding principles to follow:

  • 1. The digital sphere is invisible to the naked eye: A traditional marketing mix contained a limited set of 2-dimensional components.  The control was with the marketers and the content was manageable.  Today, content is generated from multiple sources and it is then shared and shared again.  Search engines like google make that content more easily searchable and accessible to the customer. We, as customers, are learning how to search and we’re likely to try sources other than the corporate website during our information search. 
  • 2. Feed a man a fish, and he’ll fail to start a revolution: A digital strategy cannot be treated as a project which has a start, middle and an end, i.e. don’t set one person the task of managing a twitter page and let the rest of the organisation continue as they did before.  For a company to be successful, their entire organisational ecosystem must be aligned to its digital channels and outlets.  This means that organisation design should be reviewed, silos must be integrated, processes and governance must be established and partners must be engaged.  If the infrastructure is designed to fluidly support and enhance digital interactions, then the organisation will be better placed to continue the evolution as it progresses further into the future.
  • 3. There’s no turning back: Like a nasty cold, when information sparks an interest – good or bad – it spreads.  There should be cataloguing and monitoring of information in the wider web and media sphere and organisations should be ready to proactively respond to user-generated content when appropriate.

Digital customer experience is not new, what is new is its prominence in the market place.  Never before have customers been so empowered, to selectively digest data and act accordingly.


Our Customer Experience blog will examine this evolving landscape for customers in the digital age by considering digital tools and case studies in more detail over the upcoming months.  Please share your thoughts with us on the topic.