September 7, 2016

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Connecting Better:Reworking Operations to Offer a New-Age Experience

Expectations versus Service Dilemma

At the end of a long but comfortable airline journey, imagine waiting for your luggage at the conveyor belt, only to be the last one standing. At the claims counter, as the staff try ineffectively to trace your goods, your anger and sense of helplessness can only mount. Even if you had been upgraded to first-class during the flight just taken, you would probably rate this as one of your worst airline experiences. And why not?

As digitalized offerings connect the world closer, and the Internet of Things (IoT), Big Data innovations, and advanced analytics capabilities streamline business systems, customer expectations have soared. To keep pace with increasing customer demands, companies must rethink the old business paradigm of designing, building, and then connecting with their audience. Businesses must now operate on a 24/7, connected plane of operations, in sync with the evolving demand curve. Let the customer guide you to rethink your operations and processes today, based on their emerging requirements, and be quick to adapt performance around this axis.

Working Backwards to Identify Bottlenecks

Taking a cue from this, platforms and systems today should not only know their customers inside out, but also be able to anticipate their next move, and intuitively guide them towards it. Studies indicate that 79% of buyers will approach a competitor if they experience ineffective customer service and the resultant losses could reach up to $1.6 trillion. Despite this, however, most companies have tried to address customer service issues with incremental design iterations, as per emerging requirements, instead of enabling wholehearted transformation. This kind of cosmetic change has not taken into account the need to align performance with existing organizational culture, leading to the following challenges:

  • Transformation needs to be customer-focused: It is not difficult to imagine why organizations are often resistant to change. Apart from the cost and time implications involved, research also indicates that 70% of transformation programs fail. However, failures often abound as process and operations modernization are not perceived from a human-centered design perspective. Once companies are sure about how they want to reconnect with customers, they should reassess processes and ascertain their impact on customer experience, so that they can refocus on engaging customers better. The key part that is normally missed is ‘identifying the critical user value chain and the unmet human needs’. Identifying the real business challenges and then reimagine a new future state to address is the key
  • Complexities in multi-channel customer identification and reach: Cross-channel interactions often make it difficult to reconcile customer identity across mediums. Companies find it difficult to distribute their focus across channels, increasing challenges in monitoring customer needs. As customer expectations dynamically evolve, companies must embrace agility to continue to delight customers. In a recent study, 56% respondents said they have adopted agile marketing in some form, while 41% spoke of having introduced it specifically to strengthen customer interactions. By stepping back from their traditional roles into the customer’s shoes, companies can therefore rethink, reimagine, redesign, and re-organize solutions for enhanced customer connect and a delightful experience.
  • Change management needs to be streamlined: According to a Gartner survey, companies that are not able to prepare their workforce for organizational change are likely to miss business objectives by at least 30%. Despite this, companies have often been unable to surmount apprehension and resistance to new technologies, leading to suboptimal business outcomes. The success of Digital Transformation programs depends on an agile and integrated organizational change program so everyone will know how the new organization will function. As an example, IoT devices part of processes are changing how people work.

Looking Ahead

In this airlines instance, if the organization had undergone digital process transformation to connect with customers better, it would have had a mobile enabled system in place to easily communicate where the baggage that had been misplaced, proactively proving the answers the customer on how much time it would take to deliver it and so on. This would have helped restore customer confidence in the organization. Transparency and openness in operations would have gone a long way to reinstate customer trust and brand loyalty.

As we have seen, business transformation via digital enhancements is no longer an option, but a necessity today. Organizations need to implement agile and flexible operations, backed by customer insights integrated from social media and other channels. This can even help convert customer dissatisfaction into a positive business opportunity. HCL Digital Process and Experience Consulting is with you to offer long-term solutions to emerging challenges that arise, not temporary answers.