How Shifting Communication Trends Are Impacting Digital Transformation – Forbes

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I’ve recently discussed the many ways the digital transformation has impacted every part of the business world, from healthcare to finance. In fact, we hear a lot about how digital has changed individual industries or departments. But how has it changed communication throughout the business enterprise — both internally to employees, and externally to customers and clients?

I remember the days when getting the Sears catalog in the mail meant the start of the holiday season. Today, retailers can connect and communicate with the shoppers 24/7, allowing them to mark the beginning of any season, sale, or incentive program at literally any time. On the front end, that means needing a well-oiled outreach machine. On the back end, it means the need for employees to work together just as quickly and efficiently to meet the customers’ ever-increasing demands. The fact is, all industries are facing this transformation — the need to communicate effectively to and among employees to meet constantly shifting and increasing needs among a particular client base — all while dealing with a parallel shift to an increasingly mobile workforce. The following are a few ways enterprises are managing that shift.

On The Internal Communications Side

It used to be that sending out a quarterly newsletter or weekly email digest could pass as “internal communications.” But the pace at which today’s digital marketplace is moving has changed all of that. It’s no longer enough to inform employees what’s happening around the office. Instead, they need to be tied-in to the company vision, instantly informed of product changes and updates, and given the opportunity to voice their insights where applicable. That requires a major shift in mindset on the part of the communications teams.

“Unified Communication” (UC), for instance, has been advancing along with the digital transformation, allowing enterprises to harness the power of video conferencing, webinars, virtual huddles and more. It’s no longer necessary for all employees to be in the same room — they can access one another from wherever they are.

While the company intranet is still useful for accessing internal documents and announcements, many companies are turning to persistent chat leveraging mobile and messaging apps to reach employees on the go. Text updates can hit them instantly — also relieving the email overload that has come with the digitized world. All in all, this leads to an increasingly agile workforce, and one that is always up-to-date on company issues.

On The Customer-facing Side

Today, the customer journey does not end when they get their receipt at the check-out counter. The customer experience has become the driving force of the digital transformation, as communication-hungry customers seek real-time relationships with companies of every kind. A weekly mailer is not enough. Neither is an automated email message. Today, companies need to have a strategic communications plan that builds loyalty and trust with their customers on an omni-channel level. This includes everything from personalized and targeted email marketing to instant incentives delivered to a customers’ smart phone when they pass by your company’s doors. It also means a strong presence and interaction of social media, instantly addressing customer concerns and doing “damage control” if a disgruntled buyer shares their experience online. Things like push apps, artificial intelligence and automation can help in providing these more personalized services, helping overloaded marketing and customer service teams manage the increase in communications today’s customers are thirsting for.

But while customer experience remains one of the top reasons for the digital shift, digitization is also helping companies save money over traditional communication media like printed brochures and catalogs. In fact, A Gartner study found that cost optimization was “one of the strongest drivers for creating a strong customer communications strategy. In that sense, digital is helping companies do more with less — at least, when they time to think strategically through it.

To me, communication remains one of the most fascinating elements of the digital transformation, as the way in which we desire to communicate with one another—quickly, focused, agile — begins to mirror the communication of a successful business itself. Most of us today want answers, progress, and a clear feeling that we belong. That’s something that a strong communications plan — supported by digital — can provide.

Additional Resources on This Topic:

How IoT will Improve Employee Engagement

Striking a Symbiotic Relationship Between Technology Adoption and Your Employees

Daniel Newman is CEO of Broadsuite Media Group, principal analyst at Futurum and author of Building Dragons.

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