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When you distil things down, most companies’ products and services do ostensibly the same thing as their competitors’. All pizza restaurants serve you pizza. All insurance providers pay out when things go wrong. All airlines fly you from A to B. So it’s little surprise that with the underlying products performing essentially the same functions, customer experience (CX) is such an important battleground when it comes to differentiation. For any modern organisation to set itself apart effectively and woo potential customers, it needs to offer better CX than its competitors. This is why so many businesses are continuing to up their investments in this area.

However, as technology moves on, so do customer expectations. To deliver today’s high-quality customer experiences demands a lot more from your business than it would have even a year ago. Now, more than ever, good CX requires you to have your finger well-and-truly on the pulse, so you’re able to detect customer behaviour, competitor activity and market trends in as close to real-time as you can possibly achieve. This enables you to understand what you need to respond to when creating quality customer experiences.

The second must-have is the ability to analyse what you detect and react in a way that delivers the customer experience that will set you apart – again, in as close to real-time as you can get. This could involve anything from making an instant recommendation to a customer on your website, to helping your product or service development team create or refine a new offering and get it to market quickly.

Making it real

The challenge is that while organisations may want to take their customer experiences to the next level, they often aren’t equipped to do this.

So how do they make the jump? How do they transform themselves into businesses that can quickly, effectively and continually deliver next-gen customer experiences – the sort that enable them to truly differentiate their products and services?

The answer is to evolve into a genuinely dexterous business. Think about a dexterous person: someone who can respond quickly, accurately and proportionately to things happening around them. This is what modern businesses need to aspire to if they’re to achieve market-leading customer experiences.

So what does a dextrous business look like?

Business dexterity

First and foremost, a dexterous business has the ways and means to detect events as they happen. This could be anything from sensors along a production line to social media sentiment analysis to gauge customer opinion – some means of collecting real-time data. It then has ways of analysing this data and putting actionable insights in front of the right people at the right time.

What those people are then able to do with the data depends on the organisational structures. These need to be set up to enable the business to respond quickly to the events it’s detecting.

Structural flexibility is one option, as highlighted by the COO of a services company in the Capgemini Why Digital Dexterity Matters report: “We reorganize frequently. Sometimes things are centralized, and sometimes things are decentralized”. Amazon, meanwhile, uses the two-pizza rule, where team size should never exceed the number of people you can feed with two pizzas. This approach can help maintain efficiency and agility, even as a business grows. In Amazon’s case, these small teams can draw on a wide variety of centralised capabilities to support their work and get things done faster.

As well as putting in place structures that enable dexterity of response, individuals or teams must be empowered to seize the initiative when they spot an opportunity or threat. Too much red tape, form-filling or complex sign-off processes will hamper dexterity and sap morale.

Equally, people need the right tools and working environments. Can office-based teams group together as and when required? Can remote workers or teams collaborate effectively? Do you have ways for teams to request access to the data they need? Are there quick ways of assessing whether you a) have the data and b) can use it for the intended purposes? Is your IT up to the task, or will a new product team need to wait months while IT procures and installs new infrastructure?

Dexterity boosts revenue and loyalty

With the right structures and tools in place, organisations large and small can turn themselves into genuinely dextrous businesses. They’ll be able to listen to what their customers are saying, keep tabs on their competitors’ activities, and respond as fast as possible to emerging opportunities and threats.

As a result, dextrous organisations are able to create new products, services and customer experiences that are better-tailored to their customers’ needs and therefore genuinely set them apart from the competition. Not only that, but they’ll be able to get these to market faster than their less-dextrous rivals. Consequently, this double advantage opens up exciting opportunities to drive new revenue, increase customer loyalty, boost reputation and cut risk.

In our next blog, we’ll explore some of the ways businesses can go about making this transition into truly dextrous organisations.