When we look back on 2020, we’ll remember it as the year everything changed. Customer communication is no exception.

By Mia Papanicolaou, chief operating officer of Striata

With people around the globe forced to stay home under varying levels of lockdown, companies have been forced to rethink how they communicate with customers. This has led to an accelerated conversion to digital processes and communications.

But just because there has been a quickened rate of digital acceptance, it does not mean that companies have moved the dial in digital maturity within their communications.

As lockdowns are easing and people continue to engage far more digitally than before, organizations need to assess how transformed they really are when it comes to communicating with customers.

The most effective way to do so is with a digital maturity framework.

Knowing the difference

Before delving into the importance of a digital maturity framework, it’s important to understand how significant the difference between digital conversion and digital maturity is.

Digital conversion is about moving processes and people onto digital channels. It includes getting customers to adopt digital communication.

Digital maturity, meanwhile, takes into account what the business is capable of producing and the quality of that communication. Simply sending an email campaign or a text notification is not a sign of digital communication maturity.

While the first may be a matter of survival for some organizations, the latter offers a long-term competitive edge.

The benefits of digital maturity

There are several markers of a digitally mature company. They are constantly evolving communication to meet customer needs, take an analytical, data-based approach and deliver a great CX. For the organizations that get to this point, the benefits are plentiful.

Companies that have an analytical, data-based approach are in a great position to enhance customer experience. This is because they have customer information on hand that can enable hyper-personalization, which in turn drives more meaningful interactions and engaging customer communications.

With customers prepared to pay more for better service and experience-driven businesses seeing almost 2x higher year-on-year growth in customer retention, repeat purchase rates and customer lifetime value than other businesses, that also translates into higher revenues.

Digitally mature companies are additionally better placed to make use of emerging technologies such as artificial intelligence (AI) to further improve the customer experience in communication. AI can analyse the data on hand in order to decide the next message that is best suited to each customer.

Delivering the right message. to the right person, at the right time improves the customer experience, and due to relevance and timeliness, is most likely to result in the response the business wants – a subscription, an upsell or a new sale.

Know where you stand

While all this digital technology is available to help organizations improve their customer communications and ultimately deliver a great CX, it is essential to ensure that these efforts are not negated by inconsistency – as this will fracture the customer’s communication experience and negatively impact your organization’s journey towards full digital communication maturity.

This can happen all too easily when an organization does not have a measure and monitor its digital maturity in customer communication. Enter the digital maturity framework.

Typically, a framework will have defined levels of maturity to which the organization aspires. The right framework enables organizations to customize the maturity elements to fit their sector and to pinpoint the elements which provide a useful comparison to competitors. That’s as true for digital customer communication as it is for any other aspect of the business.

Furthermore, it allows businesses to understand where they are in relation to the big picture of where they want to be, identify gaps and quick wins, track their progress, and consistently realign their priorities.

For the organizations that understand this, moving processes over to digital platforms won’t just be something they were forced to do by a global pandemic, but a competitive advantage that gives them long-term gains.