There’s a reason everyone goes for “agile” these days. Technological innovation requires us to be light on our feet. Though most people are only able to catch a glimpse at patterns of future innovation and transformation, most companies should, instead of fearing the question “what comes next?” turn it into the statement “whatever comes next”. Because that’s agility: readiness for whatever. This is especially true with Customer Communications Management solutions, thinking about customer retention amidst a flurry of short and long-term changes to business norms.
Reactive vs. Preemptive Adaptation
Taking on an agile mindset begins with recognizing two types of internal change. The first is the reactive kind. I’ll call it immediate change, imagining a response to some straightforward, qualitative reason for adaptation. For example, if rain comes down, I put up an umbrella.
The other change is a preemptive. This is how we ought to respond to disruption, and it requires immense foresight. You have no idea whether it’s going to rain or not, you just know that it someday will. In fact, you are 100% sure that if you go outside enough times, eventually it will rain. So – assuming you’re more careful than most people – you carry a small umbrella around 100% of the time.
Adapting In Customer Communications
Immediate change is simple tit-for-tat. In your industry, it could involve some modification to an already-existing technology. Sometimes it’s “monkey-see, monkey-do”, where a first-mover adopts a technology, and others begin to see it as the new normal. Examples of this in customer relationship are any digital services you offer, mobile communications, or some form of interactive engagement. Currently, these technologies are in a phase where anyone now implementing them can be considered a late-mover.
But this immediate adaptation would have, at one point, been considered preemptive. Companies that weren’t ready for it – maybe they didn’t establish a proper foundation, one way or another – are now gone. You know how they say, “Once you see the tiger, it’s too late?” Well, it’s exactly that. This is not a case of “monkey-see, monkey-do”. It’s “tiger-eat”. The harsh truth is that most business are probably not ready for this kind of change.
Disruption consists of a small minority of companies who, either but genius or good luck, transform the markets. Either they were first-movers, or they had the resources to fully adapt and survive disruption. Others spend years and vast amounts of money trying to stay relevant, then drop out.
It’s been found that the longer it takes companies to adapt, the more difficult and expensive it becomes. And who knows what new technology could arrive once all the ducks are finally in a row? When the industry gets a face-lift, old goods and services die for the sake of newer, more convenient ones.
Of course, degrees of disruption may vary. While I refer to the highest magnitude of disruption (something like the invention of smartphones or televisions), smaller, more common disruptors are ever-present. Government regulation and customer preferences are always changing incrementally, sometimes hand-in-hand, with innovation to form industry standards.
The Long-Long Term
So being “agile” means being able to survive new industry standards. This might sound like an obvious business need. But then why are so many companies still yet to adopt agile business solutions? Maybe they’re convinced theirs will last; maybe they can develop new systems on their own, make whatever updates necessary when the need arises, or maybe they aren’t exactly wary of what it could mean for their industry to truly be disrupted.
When thinking about new business technology, we might only prepare enough for the long-term. Good as that sounds, we should instead be concerned about long-long term. This, by definition, is disruption: not long, but long-long. When we describe a future-proof solution, it should be directly interchangeable with disruption-proof, or else, is it really future-proof at all?
Features that make a customer communications solution disruption-proof (or agile):
1) It’s highly customizable, with unlimited support, and because it’s a one-stop shop for customer communications, all parts get the updates they require.
2) It worries about the long-term for you. As part of being customizable and pacing with change, it possesses all standard modern communication channels.
3) It’s innovative – it is, in itself, a continuous disruptor. We ourselves drives change by implementing solutions that greatly benefit customers, but are still quite new and uncovered.
For example: a two-way interactive document lets you collect data on your customers in real-time as they scan through various interactive elements in the digital documents you deliver them.
This is how Ecrion is both driving and responding to change. We are always growing and changing, and we welcome everyone to do so with us. Yes, many technologies in many different industries have some claim to the word “agile”, but are they really? Is their response to change expedient or effective enough to boast? While other companies might catch a glimpse at the future, we like to believe that we see a fuller picture, and we see it sooner.