Digital transformation – how to improve your customer service and beat the competition

Forward-thinking industries should be putting digital innovation at the very heart of their work, not just as an add-on or in response to an emergency

Forward-thinking industries should be putting digital innovation at the very heart of their work, not just as an add-on or in response to an emergency.

Here, Paul Williams, chief technology officer at Everflow Water, explains how it harnesses technology to spearhead growth.

There’s no getting away from it; for your business to get ahead, it needs to get digital.

While the shift from analogue has been a long time coming, and many firms have already implemented full-scale digital strategies, there’s no denying that the pandemic has hastened any such moves.

In fact, a report by management consultants McKinsey and Company, compiled after speaking to nearly 900 executives, revealed some startling figures.

It found that Covid-19 and its restrictions had accelerated the digitalisation of customer and supply-chain interactions and their internal operations by three to four years, while the share of digital or digitally enabled products in portfolios has accelerated by seven.

No matter what industry you work in, business could always be better; better profits, better results, better working conditions, better efficiency.

Which is why firms in all fields and of all sizes must harness the power of digital innovation and automation to move forward. More than that, they need to think digitally across every facet of their endeavours; we’re talking more than just a website now.

A digital strategy needs to be built into every business to really take advantage of all the opportunities presented by advances in technology – only then will they be able to keep up with their competitors.

As Microsoft’s chief operating officer in the UK, Clare Barclay, warned in 2017, “with significant digital technology changes occurring, businesses that fail to embrace them will fail”.

Put simply, if you don’t put digital at the heart of your business, somebody else will – and that’s a message we live by.

Putting it into practice

At Everflow, everything we do and everything we create is centred around one thing: making water simple.

That was the original idea that sparked chief executive Josh Gill’s vision, and he set up Everflow Water in 2015 to revolutionise the water industry.

He wanted to bring the utilities market into a new age, one of first-class customer experience, automation and simplicity for everyone involved.

And to do that, he needed to innovate and harness the power of digital, something no other utility provider was doing.

In fact, we’re so focused on digital solutions that, in 2019, we launched our very own software provider, Everflow Tech, to allow other companies to reap the rewards of our innovations.

A business built around digital

One of those innovations has been our Simple Quoting software, which has achieved what Josh set out to do; it has used automation to revolutionise the water industry.

Devised collaboratively throughout the group, with input from both sales and tech teams, it has streamlined the whole process from quote to contract.

And it is no exaggeration to say that the software has been the key to Everflow Water’s phenomenal success.

We’re the fastest organically growing water retailer on the market, while the group as a whole was placed 3rd in the Financial Times annual list of the 1,000 fastest-growing businesses in Europe.

The above goes to show that digital transformation is vital for growth; using it to make life easier for customers means that more and more clients will head your way.

It can seem risky – change always does – but the benefits will outweigh any teething troubles, particularly in the long term. Just look at the pandemic; those businesses that were already on their digital journey, working in an agile way through cloud computing or e-commerce, fared far better than those still stuck in an analogue world.

Innovating the future

The beauty of digital is that there are no limits and, at Everflow, we continue to innovate to continually push the boundaries of what is expected in the water retail market.

We are always innovating, and are soon to launch an exciting new step in our digital portfolio – a self-serve portal for our customers, which has been created to help customers manage their accounts themselves.

It allows them to access their accounts 24/7, enabling them to do things themselves that they would previously have had to contact us for, such as downloading bills and arranging direct debits.

It all comes back to our original aim of using automation to make life easier for customers, allowing them more flexibility and giving them back control.

As for Simple Quoting; rather than keep it to ourselves, in 2020 we launched the technology into the wider market, meaning that not only do we benefit from our innovation – the market as a whole does too.

Digital should never be an add-on, or something you feel you have to do. It has real power to transform your business, and other people’s, creating something you never thought possible.

Because digital is the future – and we’re already living in it.

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