Software Driven Business: The Key to Customer Centricity

Digital transformation continues at an accelerated pace — partly driven by a requirement for increased resilience, diversified revenue streams, and continued competitiveness in the age of the coronavirus. Whether it’s cake shops offering their recipes at a price online, or traditional family-run restaurants having to embrace the ‘Uberisation’ of food consumption.

We’ve seen gyms and fitness instructors move their products online and new apps enter that marketplace and disrupt an industry where a lack of dedicated brick and mortar space was seen as a definite barrier of entry. What wasn’t foreseen was that the customer’s own home could indeed become that dedicated space.

Adaptation as a response to crisis

As a response, some gym chains have had to invest more time and money into their mobile applications. Total Fitness, a prestige fitness and health club brand operating in Northern England started running virtual aerobics classes, offering personalised downloadable plans and delivering their own-brand smoothies, shakes, and protein-rich savoury meals door to door.

A fitness club moving their offering(s) online certainly isn’t an isolated case. What makes it noteworthy is that this is a ‘high-end’ service, where the exclusivity of the clubs acts as a selling point, yet they had to adapt in order to remain competitive. The exclusive, ‘luxurious’ nature of their model meant they were less immune than other service providers in the same industry.

They, like others, had to move their model from an almost entirely-physical offering, to one — albeit perhaps temporarily — that operates almost entirely as application software with their working staff operating as distributed units, whether that’s the kitchen staff preparing the meals in the family kitchen or the instructors operating from their home studios.

Of course, this is a very simplistic example of a more intriguing phenomenon — the rise of the software-driven business.

A new model emerges: the software-driven business

Take Vodaphone, one of the longest-running giants of the British telecoms industry, and a key mover and shaker in the mobile phone revolution of the late 1990s. Just last week they declared that they now see themselves as “an IT company”.

Perhaps in some ways they always were, I’m fairly certain there’s always been a large IT operation in order to maintain their service and it’s auxiliary features. However, this is a marked change in the way Vodaphone as a company sees itself — and describes itself to others.

Leveraging software for customer centricity

In the years ahead, many experts predict that software is going to become the primary engine of businesses. If we adopt for a second, as we always should, a customer-centric mindset then thinks of how they engage with brands they’re interested in. Whether it’s placing orders, requesting support for upcoming deliveries or existing purchases, viewing their account, or even applying for credit — on the backend it’s all software.

Similarly, even prior to Covid, but more so during and ‘since’, mobile apps helped ease the strain on overwhelmed call centres particularly within financial institutes dealing with a deluge of payment-break requests.





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Emilien Coquard

Emilien Coquard

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