The following is a guest blog written by Reagan Miller, Vice President of Chat Agent Services at 7. Learn more about 7 by visiting their website.
I was never an actual member of the armed forces, but my Father was a Lt. Colonel in the Army, so I was “sort of” in the Army too; let’s just say that by the age of 3, in knew what the words “attention” and “at ease” meant. Among the many colorful words and acronyms I needed to understand in order to survive, there was one in particular that proved to be highly valuable, it was “sit rep”. No, that’s not a description of an ab work out, it’s short for Situational Report. When my Dad asked for a sit rep, it meant I needed to state my objective, observe my surroundings, assess my location, determine my operational status, assess any threats, determine a recommended course of action, and communicate all of this as accurately and concisely as possible to my commander. This was particularly useful for a 3 year old when crossing the street.
But the idea of the sit rep is also useful for the savvy business person. In fact it’s something we do rather instinctively, although we sometimes do not deploy a disciplined approach to the task, and for my military Dad, that’s just not up to spec (specifications for you non-military types) and is likely to leave us with a “soup-sandwich”.
So how does all of this relate to my organization’s digital interaction strategy? Well, let’s take a moment and “sit rep” it. Before you start to conduct such an analysis, you’ll need a way to gauge your surroundings and look into the future, and for this purpose I’d like to propose a Digital Channels Maturity Framework.
Using this framework you can:
– understand the current consumer digital interactions landscape
– assess your current state relative to a defined maturity model
– gain insight into what the future holds for digital channels and how you can adapt, or perhaps lead among your competitors
– develop a forward looking capability roadmap
– build a business plan for future investment
There are four maturity levels; Siloed, Distributed, Connected and Federated. There are also three high level focus areas including the consumer’s perspective, the technical landscape, and business value. Let me share a few essential descriptors for each of the levels of maturity in the model.
Level 1 – Siloed: Few channels, consumer initiated, limited availability, not personalized, undetermined value
Level 2 – Distributed: Some channels, initiated by rules, availability inconsistent, not personalized, unclear value
Level 3 – Connected: Many channels, sophisticated targeting, right time, right reason, personalized with journey context, defined value
Level 4 – Federated: All channels, always on, context and personalization is persistent, all text based channels, cross channel / channel pairing, value is determined at journey level
In our engagements with some of the world’s leading consumer brands, we have found that they are in very different positions along the maturity continuum. This often has to do with the speed of change in consumer expectations, fast emerging technologies and disjointed strategies, coupled with reactionary mandates to provide service in new channels. I have also seen companies struggle to organize leadership and budget around a well thought out strategy. But there are more than a few companies who seem to have performed their sit rep, and there is a groundswell of new leadership that are making bold moves to unify their digital channels strategy.
So what’s next? Now that you have a framework for your sit rep, it’s time to act. Brush up on those acronyms, get your war paint on, be ready to be brutally honest with yourself and your team, and most importantly be ready to reshape your thinking.
7 offers a workshop during which we share the 20+ key factors that define your digital maturity. We can help your team develop an understanding of the complete model and facilitate an open dialogue among your team, to develop a path forward. As I sit in my chair at my desk, I can almost hear my Father now with that stern voice saying something like, “Do you know where you are and where you’re going? No? Alright then, I need your sit rep . . . on the double.”
To hear more about this topic and others like it, join us at Customer Response Summit Phoenix, February 23-25, 2016.