Digital Transformation:
The Paradox & The Paradigm Shifts

Digital transformation has redefined the relationship between a business and its customers. Everybody is talking about how digital channels and the overall digitalization of customer touchpoints has elevated customer experience to a whole another level. Some even call it dimensional shift.

But believe it or not, for some industries digital transformation is creating a paradoxical situation which needs immediate attention. Instead of bringing customers closer to the enterprise, it is pushing them further away!

Look at banking for example. Banking by its very nature represents a close relationship between the enterprise and its customers. This relationship is built on faith and trust – something that is very integral to human beings. However, these days digital channels have become the pulse of the banking industry. Chatbots are taking over interactions and IVRs are offering pre-defined assistance to customers. Websites and online forums are helping customers make buying decisions like never before.

So, what is really happening is that customers’ opinions and expectations are getting influenced even before they have any real human interaction. The human component in the entire journey is getting replaced by the digital channels.

How can an enterprise create a meaningful and a long-lasting relationship with customers if there is hardly any “real” conversation with a human? It wouldn’t be an exaggeration to say that this new wave of digital customer experience is hitting hard at basic human qualities like emotion, compassion, comfort, etc. which create real value in a relationship.

A chatbot may be able to analyze the words of the customers and identify the sentiment as annoyance or anger. But would it be able to tread the fine line between annoyance, anger, and rage? What would happen when the customers use sarcasm in their dialogue? Would the chatbot be able to identify that as well? Better yet, would it be able to replicate the compassionate relationship or interaction a customer would have with a human on the other end?

The paradox is that while adoption of digital channels is improving customer interactions, it is impacting the quality of customer relationship. It is creating a void between the customers and the human part of the enterprise. And this void is getting wider with each passing day!

Addressing the Paradox

We have always maintained that digital transformation does not mean implementing a slew of digital technologies or tools. Unless and until you have a clearly defined strategy and a roadmap, the so-called “transformation exercise” would just remain a “modernization exercise”.

When discussing digital transformation with business leaders, we talk about the changes that they would have to deal with. We group these changes into three different categories.

The first category is called “Expected Changes”. This will include changes that are predictable and have already been anticipated by the leaders. The second category is called “Unexpected Changes” where we put down the changes that they did not anticipate but we were able to point out based on our other engagements. The third category is the “Paradigm Shifts”. This is where we put down slow and subtle transformations that redefine the essence of the industry.

Needless to say, the paradigm shifts are the ones that need more attention. They are not quantifiable and often just slip under the radar. They can be subtle to the point of not getting detected for years. But they have the capacity to disrupt the core essence of the industry.

We are focused on helping leaders deal with these paradigm shifts. We are holding discussions with industry leaders to deliberate on what it means for them to exist in the new normal of the industry where the rules of the existence are rewritten. It is these discussions that lead to a plan of adaptation for them to follow.

To know about the paradigm shifts that your industry would undergo and what should be your plan of adaptation, engage with our digital transformation consultants.

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