Digital transformation tactics: How customer obsession drives results

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Remember the Yellow Pages? Years ago, after finally deciding to find a carpenter to fix my wonky terrace railing, I couldn’t find the familiar yellow publication anywhere. My options were limited: I could ask a friend, knock on a neighbor’s door, or call mom.

We now have the world at fingertips, and that includes the former Yellow Pages, known simply in the UK as “Yell.”

Thanks to their survival instinct, paired with a laser focus on customer experience and innovation, we all still have access to the trusted yellow tome online – improved with all the elements that optimal digital transformation tactics afford us.

Go technology!

Customer-obsessed businesses: Earning loyalty and profits 

Yell’s digital transformation tactics took them from an exclusively offline, hard-copy business directory to a full-fledged digital business. It’s a noteworthy – if not exemplary – story for the times we’re living in, and it’s the direct result of customer obsession (the good kind, of course).

Of course, Yell’s digital transformation didn’t happen overnight – it took time, dedication, and many lessons along the way. But there are some key factors that influenced how Yell got to where they are, and where they plan to go in the future.

6 digital transformation tactics to drive success

  1. Recognize the need: Yell realized the opportunities of a digital platform early on. In the first stages of their transformation, in parallel to publishing the Yellow Pages book, they simply transferred the entirety of its content online to produce a digital mirror copy.
  2. Be bold: Fully committing to and embracing an online digital platform started in earnest the day Yell stopped the presses. It took jumping with two feet to force the directory into its next stage of evolution. With content updated in real time and search functionality second to none, customers didn’t hesitate to share positive feedback, and a new business model was born.
  3. Look, listen, and look again: One key, and perhaps surprising observation (at least to a non-millennial like myself), is that people are less and less interested in connecting with support services by phone. They’re happier to use a “help” function, be guided through steps, or have a bot assist. In keeping with the concept of conversational commerce, Yell connects customers to merchants and suppliers directly via the chat function without using the phone. Maybe the robots are taking over after all. No problem, as long as they’re friendly and helpful!
  4. Honor agility: For repetitive and often redundant questions, Yell uses chatbots complete simple requests like password resets. This naturally increases efficiency in the backend, freeing up service centers to focus on other activities and serve customers better.
  5. Enable customer freedom: Since the early days of the digital-only realm, one thing has became apparently clear: The importance of customer freedom. In response to this, Yell developed the “Yell 4 Business (Y4B)” app, allowing suppliers and merchants to manage their accounts and digital advertising choices directly.
  6. Empower choice: Yell’s future plans include enabling end users to define their own journey in the way they see fit instead of guiding them down a prescribed path.

Their future-proofing concept incorporates ways for customers to select their contact preferences, whether that’s:

  • SMS
  • push notifications
  • chat
  • chatbot
  • email
  • or all of the above methods

The idea is “meet the customer where they want to be met, in the way they want to be met.” Further down the road, existing chatbots will be replaced by more intelligent ones and include the capacity to connect to the backend while chatting with a merchant to provide contextual recommendations and feedback.

To hear more about this story of digital transformation success direct from the source, listen to our podcast below – it’s a genuine and unplugged account of Yell’s journey, featuring Geoff Fogg, Head of Architecture at Yell.

We must confess: 
we’re obsessed with this roundtable
on brands being ready for 2021.
Watch it HERE.

Tanya van Soest
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Tanya van Soest

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