Earlier this year, my son Chris became a first-time dad, and I joined the ranks as a very proud first-time grandfather. My wife Jessie and I traveled to Germany this past March, where Chris and his wife Petra live, to welcome Maya into this world, marking the start of a new generation in our family. There’s something about your kid having a kid, aside from making you acknowledge the passage of time — that makes you feel an enormous shift in perspective. Who would have ever thought that at our very fingertips, the internet could close the 5,400-mile gap, thanks to tools like Skype and FaceTime? These are not the only changes that we have seen in our world. Technology is rapidly changing the way we do things, and traditional ways of doing business are disappearing. For example:

  • Instead of teaching our kids never to get into a car with strangers, today, with a click of a button, not only do we go online and share our location, With mobile apps like Uber and Lyft, we ask strangers to take us places. With both parents working, it is not uncommon for Uber drivers to have regular routes of pickup and drop off for school age children.
  • Companies like Starbucks have simplified the consumer’s journey, resulting in saving time and money, with its’ mobile app. It manages a customer’s loyalty points and lets customers place orders ahead of time, so they can skip the in-store lines. Starbucks now has 13 million active members in its Starbucks Rewards program, with mobile payment alone accounting for 27% of U.S. company-operated transactions.
  • The transformation has been enormous in banking and financial service(s). Thanks to technology and the power of data, companies like Kabbage are revolutionizing small business loans and within six minutes have a decision from your phone instead of physically going to a traditional brick and mortar bank, waiting up to a month for loan approval.

The Digital Client Experience

With a mouse-click, customers today can instantly switch to a competitor while sharing their experience of a product or service with the rest of the world via social media, directly influencing brand perception. Never before did we have such a high degree of transparency.

As the number of digital channels continues to increase, we are seeing that customers want, expect, and demand businesses to tap into those channels for business interactions. To address this trend, companies must accommodate new paths for the customer journey and meet consumers where they are. In this environment, providing an exceptional client experience via all touch points in a highly personalized manner is not only a key competitive factor, but it is also a necessity. Companies that are not able to provide an integrated and seamless client experience across all touchpoints will see their client base erode.

Several studies including Ernst & Young’s “The digitisation of everything How organisations must adapt to changing consumer behaviour” found:

  • The digital revolution is an opportunity for a business to transform itself while moving from a transactional to an ‘interactional’ relationship with their customers.
  • End-to-end digital engagement strategies and comprehensive digital operating models that address suppliers and employees are needed just as much as customers.
  • To overcome commoditization, many organizations are successfully shifting their focus from products to services as a way of differentiating themselves and also increasing margins. Successful responses to the commoditization threat include increased personalization; wrapping a service around a product.

Cox Automotive recognizes the need to for a seamless Omni channel experience to best serve the market’s changing behaviors. The digital marketplaces coupled with physical auctions, allow for more opportunities for buyers and sellers to connect and transact, buying and selling vehicles how they want and when they want. It is this transformation of business and operating models that are needed to stand the test of time in today’s digital era.

As digitization continues to change the world, I look forward to seeing what the next generation will bring. How will they be raised and what kind of people will they become? I want to see how their lives and upbringing are influenced by the foundation that has been laid by my generation and those before mine. And Maya is the start of all of that.

Originally published at medium.com