August 7, 2022
Photo: Jonas Walzberg/picture alliance via Getty Images
Good morning! Nothing was supposed to help improve the customer experience more than digital transformation. But as it turns out, the "magical software fix" hasn't really fixed much at all.
Even before the pandemic, two words seemed to dominate the vocabulary of every executive in corporate America: digital transformation.
It was inescapable. Suddenly, nearly three decades after the advent of the internet and over a decade since the first iPhone was released, companies seemed to finally realize the power of technology. And with artificial intelligence, two equally buzzy words that are now impossible to avoid, companies could finally make use of mountains of consumer data to ensure they would never miss a sale, fumble a customer service call or encounter a blip in the supply chain.
So what have billions of dollars in IT investments meant for consumers? It’s a tricky question to answer, as many of the changes to date, apart from a massive proliferation of apps, are likely invisible to the end consumer. And a lot of investments are focused on internal improvements that might cut operational costs but do nothing to improve customer interactions.
With overall customer satisfaction dipping to its lowest level since 2005 and employee productivity levels actually slowing down, it’s clear that aspects of that transformation have been overhyped both by businesses that want to impress customers and vendors eager to upsell companies on new tools to boost annual contract sizes.
But all the promised IT investments were at least supposed to position businesses to better respond to market-altering occurrences. Instead, companies have no idea what consumers want. And it’s paved the way for a new cycle of vendors that are all promising the magic software fix.
Still, improving the customer experience requires businesses to actually put investment toward it, not just provide lip service. And for some industries, particularly those with few competitors, it may not be worth it.
Airlines aren’t alone. Customer service across corporate America, in general, is still awful and might actually be getting worse. (It is worth noting, however, that support workers are also subject to an increasing amount of unjustified abuse from customers, which is ridiculous.)
It is still early in the journey among most large businesses to become “tech-driven,” which helps explain why results have been lackluster.
Chip shortage could undermine national security: The global shortage of semiconductors has impeded the production of everything from pickup trucks to PlayStations. But there are graver implications than a scarcity of consumer goods. If the U.S. does not ensure continued domestic access to leading-edge semiconductor manufacturing, experts say our national security could suffer.
Don't be Meta or Google: How to tell workers they need to be more productive — Lizzy Lawrence
Quantum computing will require massive software updates. Doing that securely will be its own challenge. — Kyle Alspach
What’s in a name? If the name is Meta, a lawsuit. — Issie Lapowsky
'Buy now, pay later' is finding a new avenue for growth — Veronica Irwin
The crypto crash is bad news for ransomware criminals — Benjamin Pimentel
Airtable is a hit with designers. Will enterprise tech see it as an app development platform? — Aisha Counts
The US is ready to block China’s access to advanced chip design software — Max Cherney
The Biden administration is poised to place export restrictions on vital software used to design advanced AI chips. The goal is to block the sale of the design tools to Chinese companies pursuing AI applications.
Electric vehicles won't kill the gas station. They’ll redefine it. — Kwasi Gyamfi Asiedu
Warner Bros. Discovery’s new streaming strategy is to undo its old streaming strategy — Janko Roettgers
Chip shortage could undermine national security:To ensure American security, prosperity and technological leadership, industry leaders say the U.S. must encourage domestic manufacturing of chips in order to reduce our reliance on East Asia producers for crucial electronics components.
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