Many of us spend what feels like years of our lives waiting to get prescriptions filled.

This can include navigating voice menus that provide more information than necessary; standing in long lines inside the pharmacy with a sheet of paper from a doctor; or watching the people in the cars in front of us ask a million questions of the employee staffing the drive-through window.  

For me, personally, I’ve reduced the “years” to seconds thanks to a great app offered by the pharmacy at Publix, a large chain of supermarkets in the southeastern U.S. whose motto is, “Where shopping is a pleasure.”

I wouldn’t describe refilling medication I really don’t want to take in the first place—or grocery shopping in general—as “pleasurable,” but the Publix Pharmacy app sure does come close. Using the app, I can quickly and easily complete a variety of tasks:

  • See all my prescriptions in one place
  • Order a refill by checking a box or scanning a label on the medication bottle
  • Pay for the prescription in advance
  • Arrange for my medication to be delivered to my home
  • Set dosage reminders for specific times across the day
  • Schedule a vaccine
  • And even transfer a prescription to a different pharmacy

In a nutshell, Publix has made its customer touch points “digital-first.”

Digital-First 101

Digital-first isn’t just about apps or other forms of technology; it’s a fundamental mind shift, ensuring that a company’s products and services are accessible anytime and anywhere, with contextualization for current and potential customers. It’s a seamless way of meeting customers “where they’re at.”

Consider this: We orient our lives, jobs, and interests around digital platforms embedded in these powerful, miniature computers we carry around. And, if you’re like me, we’re loyal to brands that provide us with a fast, simple, end-to-end digital customer experience.

When brands (two of the most obvious examples are Amazon and Netflix) do this with excellence, they are able to:

  1. Reduce a customer’s “effort”
  2. Apply more targeted and personalized marketing, especially through the power of artificial intelligence (AI)
  3. Offer a rapid response to customers’ needs, with flexibility and the ability to pivot in real time

Elevate your digital-first skills

From an organizational standpoint, business leaders can embrace digital-first operations through some key beginning steps:

  1. Revisit the organization’s vision and mission, expanding them to reflect a digital mindset
  2. Identify which organizational processes are working well and which ones to improve through a more digital approach
  3. Map the business’s intended customer experience “journey,” leveraging technology to make those touch points easy, fast, and seamless
  4. Leverage social media platforms for brand networking and staying on top of industry trends

For individual professionals, you can elevate your own digital-first skills as you:

  1. Use collaboration tools like Slack, Microsoft Teams, and Zoom that enhance real time communication and foster a digital work environment
  2. Explore automation tools and workflows to eliminate repetitive tasks
  3. Take courses and webinars, read articles, or watch videos from experts in this space

Human and AI collaboration

Human professionals can optimize digital-first success by identifying opportunities to enhance their skills in collaboration with AI skills. Here’s just a sampling of what that collaboration can look like in a digital-first context:

  1. Cybersecurity: Combine AI-driven cybersecurity measures with human oversight to create a robust defense against cyber threats. AI identifies patterns and potential risks, and humans contribute strategic decision-making and adaptability.
  2. Problem Solving: Form teams that include human and AI “members” to tackle complex problems. This collaborative approach capitalizes on the strengths of humans and machines, fostering innovation and efficiency.
  3. Continuous Learning and Feedback: Establish a continuous feedback loop between humans and AI systems. Humans can provide insights and corrections to improve algorithms, ensuring the AI functions evolve alongside business needs.

Let’s connect

I’m an ICF-certified and experienced professional, coaching authentic human leaders in the age of AI, with a focus on organizations whose Director+ population is facing complex, nuanced problems. Use this link to schedule a call with me to discuss potential coaching services. You can also email me or message me on LinkedIn.