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How Digital Transformation is Driving Our Understanding of the Customer Experience

Digital Explained: Issue 4
September 30, 2021

Digital Transformation and the Customer Journey

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What is Digital Transformation?

Our digital strategy rests on two pillars – Innovation and Digital Transformation.

Innovation is a bottom-up exercise that supports the generation of new, workable solutions. All ideas are filtered to ensure they are practical and solve a real problem that exists in the market.

Digital Transformation is a top-down exercise that places digital at the core of the business. It helps deliver customer-first solutions that improve the client journey through the application of digital technology.

We aim to digitize 30% of all customer journeys by 2023. Meeting this ambitious target requires the whole company to undertake a journey of transformation. We are rethinking the way we work, accelerating decision making, and creating specialist hybrid squads that incorporate industry experts, service designers, developers and architects.

Digital is now at the core of SGS. We are not only changing our products and services but also reconfiguring our whole organization. This transformation has clear objectives, with defined, key results for our teams.

Case Study

We created the SGS Online Store in response to the demand for new ways to work and buy our products and services. An example of success is the online sale of an Alpaca Wool Testing service.

Online Store Best Seller

Since its online launch at the beginning of the year, sales of this testing service have increased enormously. Partly this is because industry research has shown customers prefer to buy through online stores, and partly it is because they like to try new products and services that are being offered by a recognized and trust brand, like SGS.

Customer Journey

Customers have a relationship with the companies they buy from. Whether that relationship is long or short, the whole experience is their customer journey. It includes every interaction throughout the customer life cycle, across all channels, devices and touchpoints. A positive customer journey will build brand awareness and loyalty.

As an organization, SGS communicates with its customers through a variety of channels. Before digitalization, it was impossible to accurately map each of these interactions. The customer experience therefore became disconnected, with sales and marketing strategies often isolated and operating independently.

Digitization allows us to the link every customer interaction with SGS. By building up a map of their journey, we can gain a fuller understanding of the complete customer experience.

Customer Journey Main Steps

Connecting Data with Customers

Digitization connects data with people. It allows us to better understand the customer journey, gaining new insights that will drive innovation and improvement. Our three pillars:

  1. Automate – improving operational efficiencies and effectiveness
  2. Digitize – updating existing products and services
  3. Create – develop new solutions and business models that benefit the customer

Turning Data into Actionable Insights

Collecting data isn’t enough; it’s what we do with it that matters. In a digital age, products and services must compete on more than just features and pricing. Customers now also want a good user experience throughout their journey.

At SGS, we are utilizing the latest data analytics and modeling methods, machine based learning and natural language processing technologies to filter our data, turning it into actionable insights. These will allow us to connect more directly with our customers in new and beneficial ways.

At the heart of this is service design. We need to create an emotional connection with the user during every step of their journey. To achieve this, we are enhancing our offering through effective use of typography and color, and the application of memorable copy and sympathetic animations. These will act as a user reward once a task is completed. In this way, the customer builds a stronger and more positive association with SGS.

Managing the Customer Experience

We are also pioneering better ways to manage the customer experience. Our service designers are driving improvements through the creation of touchpoints along the customer journey, which help to define the progress of their experience.

Through the use of innovative design tools and enhanced methodologies, we are gaining high-level insights into the customer experience, allowing us to understand their behaviors, likes and needs. This information then enables the development and implementation of new, more customer-focused solutions.

Service Design Synergies

Digital Life Cycle

Service design covers four phases – Prepare, Understand, Create and Develop – which can be customized in response to the requirements of the project.

Digital Life Cycle

Innovation At SGS

Digital transformation can be complex. SGS Digital & Innovation is continuously developing new solutions to drive forward this transformation.

New solutions include:

  • Innovation Factory – our quick validation machine, doing Problem Fit, Solution Fit and Market Fit
  • Innovation Lab – helps create innovative theses and ideate around it
  • Incubation – venture building mechanism based on Lean Startup methodology
  • SGS Innovation Fund – investment vehicle for startups
  • Partnerships – vehicle for partnerships and open innovation

Current offerings include:

  • Online Store – our e-commerce store uses online channels for new sales and transactions
  • Tech Centers – IoT Center & Cybersecurity Center
  • Viima Ideation Platform – an idea challenge mechanism that allows employees to submit ideas and get funding
  • SGS Academy – enabling clients to select and book training courses online


We aim to have mapped 30% of all customer journeys by 2023. This will not only give us a better understanding of current services and products, it will also allow us to improve our current offering and the customer experience.

Want to Continue Your Digitalization Journey?

SGS’s Digital & Innovation team are ready to help you analyze and improve your customer journey.

An Invitation to You

Every day brings new challenges, so always treat today as if it’s your first day in the office and do something that has a positive business impact. We are ready to listen to your ideas.

Siddi Wouters

Senior Vice President

Siddi Wouters

Digital and Innovation

About SGS

We are SGS – the world’s leading testing, inspection and certification company. We are recognized as the global benchmark for quality and integrity. Our 96,000 employees operate a network of 2,600 offices and laboratories, working together to enable a better, safer and more interconnected world.

News & Insights

  • SGS Headquarters

1 Place des Alpes,

P.O. Box 2152 1211,

Geneva Switzerland