You often read about the need to digitally transform your business to adapt to the changing expectations customers now have of any type of business, large or small, hi-tech to low-tech, media company to a dentist, and so on... but what does that really mean?
Even though I have been in the technology business for 20 years, and have helped businesses large and small implement technology to transform their business, I still get amazed at how fast expectations have grown around the "Customer Experience". Last week, I had one of those "experiences" that made me reflect on the current digital revolution we are smack-dab in the middle of.
It was a normal Tuesday morning commuting into downtown Denver, CO, and I pulled into my regular parking lot a few blocks away from the office. As I pulled into the lot, I saw that my favorite spot was empty right beside the Fire Station, so I pulled into it and parked my car thinking to myself what a great way to start the day!
As I went to the pay terminal, I noticed a white piece of paper taped to the screen, and I thought to myself "Here we go....I'm going to have to go back to my car and find another parking lot. So much for having a good day, here goes another 20 minutes!"
I read the sign, and it said "Out of order. Please use the Mobile App to pay. Parking lot #1944." What! Fine. I proceeded to download and install the app. It took the standard few minutes to enter an email address, name, license plate, and credit card info. With a quick button-click, I paid for 10 hours of time.I thought to myself "That wasn't that bad. Kinda nice actually". All of a sudden, a timer popped-up on the screen with the amount of time I had remaining and was counting down. Cool. I would usually keep the paper receipt in my wallet so I knew when the time was going to expire. So that's convenient I guess.
Then I noticed a bunch of other features on the app. Automatic notifications to notify me when time was about to expire 15, 30, 45, 60 minutes before the expire time. Map (GPS) in case I was traveling and forgot where the lot was. Favorite Parking Lots, Promotion Codes, and even Reservations!
After I looked around the app for a few minutes, I thought to myself "It's literally just parking a car in a parking lot, how can there be this many benefits of having a mobile app to make parking a car an experience!"
It made me remember that we are in the middle of a massive digital transformation and revolution and at the center of it all is the Customer and their Experience. It doesn't matter what industry you are in, the size of your company, or the location. If you do not evolve your business, you will die. Customers now expect an "experience" which could include an app, automated reminders getting sent to their phones, ability to look up their account info online, anything that augments the service or product you are offering.
A parking lot is just a slab of cement that we park our vehicles on - and that's it! And the business owners understood their customer's pain points, and how they could improve the experience for their customers to increase their ROI and keep customers coming back again and again.
What does that mean for your business? Are you waiting to digitally transform your business because you think it's a "fad" and it will go away? It won't. Customers are not only expecting, they are demanding a digital customer experience.