Embracing Digital Customer Interaction


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With so much discussion about the importance of an effective online interaction strategy, it’s surprising how many companies have yet to fully embrace the power of digital strategies and tactics. Many are “digital capable”, meaning that they have the ability to plan and execute isolated digital tactics. However comparatively few have yet been able to fully integrate and leverage the power of digital customer interaction, that is, the ability to market, sell, fulfill, service and support customers via a mixture of offline and online methods. At Quaero we have developed a six-dimensional framework for planning and executing an effective digital interaction strategy which combines all of the key elements you will need to make this critical shift:

Strategy – You need an integrated vision and a strategy (or set of strategies) which systematically gets you there. Being able to do e-mail campaigns for a business that has traditionally only done direct mail or telemarketing may feel like an “online strategy” but it is really only one ingredient for overall success. The vision will guide and sustain you through all of the changes you will need to make along the way.

Process – Your legacy processes will need to change to incorporate the kinds of new tasks, roles and responsibilities that digital interaction will require. These changes must be made in a thoughtful and logical way. Remember that change is not a one-time event. The speed of evolution of the digital space and the way consumers behave in that space will require you to embrace a culture of continuous process improvement. Consumers will expose gaps in your processes which you must be ready to fill quickly.

Measurement – Yesterday’s metrics won’t cut it. You will have to think more holistically about the kinds of measures that best help you to understand the depth of engagement with your customers and how well you are investing to deliver your messages and products to them. One obvious example that many companies are using or investigating is a measure of “engagement.” There are so many new ways that consumers can engage with you that you need to be tracking, as well as understanding the relationship between engagement and profit.

Technology – It used to be that there were very limited (and therefore obvious) choices for the kind of technology that you would need to deliver effective consumer interaction. However the need to deal with many new consumer-driven tools and forums has made the choices exponentially more difficult. We therefore recommend a very careful evaluation of your requirements – whether you do it yourself or with the help of a third party – to make sure you make wise investments which not only make financial sense but which deliver the automation you will need.

Data – This is a critical area and is often the starting point for transforming your go-to-market model into a more digitally focused one. You need to be able to integrate, synthesize and use a combination of online and offline data. Traditionally these two areas were separate worlds with little or no connection. That is no longer tenable. You must be able to understand the connection between search, browsing behavior, purchasing patterns and more in order to not only survive, but thrive in the exploding digital space.

Organization – This last category often determines the amount or pace of success of companies’ efforts to embrace digital capabilities. You can make changes in any or all of the above areas but you will struggle (or in some cases fail) unless you have a clear vision which excites your people, articulates the specific things that are changing, gives them the tools and the skills to be successful and helps them understand the impact for the business overall as well as for them personally. These are no more than the ingredients for any successful change management program, but we have seen them become especially important for companies which have traditionally been “offline” and which are now trying to get “online” (usually in a hurry!).

Based on my experience of working with companies going through this kind of transition, the good news is that most make significant progress. However to the extent that you can think through and plan for each of the above dimensions, you will save yourself a lot of blood, sweat and (sometimes!) tears if you make a systematic digital interaction plan which accounts for each of these critical areas.

Republished with author's permission from original post.

Niall Budds
Niall Budds is Director of Client Management at Quaero, a CSG Solution. Niall delivers client relationship management and advances the Quaero Solutions Group capabilities and intellectual capital in marketing operations. He applies best practice techniques and technologies to deliver continuous improvement in marketing performance.


  1. Niall, thanks for sharing your expertise on the important elements for developing an effective digital interaction strategy. The summary of these six elements can help any company achieve their goal of developing a customized strategy for their particular organization. Richard Shapiro, The Center For Client Retention @richardrshapiro


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