How the ‘Four Ds’ can turbocharge CX transformation

How the ‘Four Ds’ can turbocharge CX transformation

8th March 2024 · Arvato · Blog

Stephen Miller, IT & Innovation Director, ArvatoConnect

Improving customer experience (CX) is one of UK businesses’ top five focus areas when it comes to their ongoing digital transformation, our new Digital Deficit report revealed*.

However, our research also found that most businesses were missing critical steps when it comes to their transformation plans – gaps that, if left unaddressed, could mean their transformation delivers underwhelming results or fails to deliver any change at all.

Following the ‘Four Ds’ of digital transformation is a good way to ensure that any transformation is built on the strongest possible foundation for success, including that focused on improving CX.

What are they and what benefits could they deliver?

four ds

Step 1: Define

The ‘Four Ds’ reflect the fact that improving CX, as with any transformation objective, is really about good processes as it is about specific solutions.

They are straightforward, but essential, steps that any organisation looking to digitally transform should follow.

The first stage is ‘defining’ the transformation goal. This means knowing what customers want, and narrowing down where the issues are, before setting clear objectives.

It may sound obvious, but having an up-to-date view of customer needs is something that our research found is very often missed. The vast majority (81%) of firms we surveyed for our report said they hadn’t gathered feedback from their customers about how their current processes were – or, perhaps more importantly, weren’t – working.

In the context of CX, transforming without this kind of insight, businesses might make changes to their systems or processes that actively exacerbate existing customer frustrations, or that have no positive effect at all.  And customers certainly do have frustrations.

A separate YouGov poll of UK adults that we commissioned found that more than half (68%) of respondents had experienced an issue when contacting a business in the last year.

The most frequently cited issue for those who had experienced problems was long hold and queuing times (59%). 

This was closely followed by difficulty receiving human help when required (57%), slow response times to queries (45%) and then ‘looping’ (37%) – the painful experience of being sent around and around the same list of support points or questions, without reaching a resolution.   

Failing to pinpoint these issues and respond accordingly, supported by effective CX transformation, could have serious consequences for sales, customer relationships and brand equity. More than half (58%) of customers who have encountered an issue said that the most recent issue they experienced made them want to avoid contacting the company again, while a further seven in ten (69%) said they’d advise others against doing the same.

Step 2: Design

Once a business has set objectives, backed by solid insight, it can then move to stage two: ‘designing’ a solution that’s fit for purpose.

This is about identifying what technologies and processes are going to actually deliver the results they want.

On one hand it will be defined by factors like budget and timeline – elements that any project must deal with.  

But it will also be determined, again, by customers’ needs and desires, and particularly when it comes to CX.

For example, using technologies like chatbots and conversational AI, which follow rule-based processes to quickly manage simple queries in the same way that humans would, could be powerful solutions to the common customer experience challenges our research highlighted of long hold, queuing, or response times.

However, if they’re offered to the wrong set of customers, at the wrong time in the customer journey, the effect could be as if they weren’t in place at all.

Similarly, if they’re overused, they could risk alienating customers – not helping them.

Our YouGov research** found that just two per cent of UK adults currently want to have all their interactions with a business automated. Avoiding the temptation to resort solely to shiny, new cutting-edge technology and building in the right blend of human and digital help is good design in action – and a step that is likely to deliver better results.

Step 3: Develop

With the processes and technologies selected, a business can then decide how to ‘develop’ the solution.

This stage could involve adapting a technology to their specific needs, rather than simply deploying it ‘off the shelf’ – something fewer than one in five businesses (18%) currently do, but which can make a significant difference in terms of the benefits delivered.

Similarly, it’s important that businesses think at this stage about training employees on any new processes and systems they’re deploying.

A technology can have all the potential in the world, but deliver little real value if teams don’t have the knowledge of how to effectively use it.

For example, the latest generation of digital engagement platforms use tools like AI and automation to track customers’ journeys throughout a business, enabling agents to see exactly what data has already been gathered on the customer, and how they’ve engaged with the business in the past.

Tools like these are a potential piece in the puzzle to solving issues, like the ‘looping’ that our research showed was such a bugbear, by ensuring data at each touchpoint is collected and available for other touchpoints – specifically, the agent – to use.

But this is only if the agents using them understand how the platforms work, and how to then use the data presented effectively to deliver a service that delights, every time.

Step 4: Deploy

The final step is all about driving continuous improvement.

Just as many firms that we spoke to weren’t gathering feedback from their customers on what was or wasn’t working with the current systems, many (67%) also aren’t gathering feedback on changes that they do make.

This is indicative of a ‘fire and forget’ approach – one that misses the opportunity to constantly review how any changes to CX processes are working.

Revisiting results time and time again, and fine-tuning transformation, is critical to any transformation fulfilling its full potential.  

Theory into practice

The ‘right’ path when it comes to CX transformation will vary from business to business.

And the Four Ds aren’t the only ingredient to effective digital transformation. As we explore in detail in our Digital Deficit report, and as you can see in our blog on the most common customer experience challenges facing the public sector, having a solid underlying strategy for gathering, processing and extracting actionable insights from data is critical too.

But they can help put businesses on the best path to success.

At ArvatoConnect, we help businesses reshape and reinvent how they connect with those that matter most.  

For more information about how we could support you in your digital transformation plans, contact:  

* Research was conducted by Censuswide on behalf of ArvatoConnect in December 2023. The sample included 500 UK customer experience, transformation or IT decision makers in private sector organisations currently engaged in digital transformation. 

** These figures, unless otherwise stated, are from YouGov Plc. Total sample size was 2,133 adults. Fieldwork was undertaken between 12th – 15th January 2024. The survey was carried out online. The figures have been weighted and are representative of all UK adults (aged 18+).  

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