Every day we read blog after blog and ebook after ebook on how to create the best customer experiences. It’s clear we need to engage and build strong relationships with our customers to ensure they stay with us for the long haul and customer portals and mobile apps enable us to do just that.
But creating the front-end of portals and mobile applications is only part of the story that drives great customer experience. I almost dread bringing up the iceberg comparison because it’s so overused, but in this case, it’s true.
There’s a lot of work that goes into creating great customer experiences. But just like an iceberg, you only see part of the work - the interfaces. Almost all the focus on portal and mobile app design has been on creating modern interfaces that are consistent, visually engaging and easy to use.
And sometimes that’s all that happens.
Like the company that developed a customer loyalty program, with a beautiful mobile app and portal but had nothing underneath of it. No way to analyze, leverage and action the data and no way to communicate with their systems and people. Essentially, a shiny new car with no engine!
To create a genuinely useful customer portal something needs to happen. You need to bring together all the underlying business systems that work to provide the information, business rules and processing necessary to ensure the customer has the right information in the right context at the right time to make a decision. And that information is often spread across departments and business systems.
This is where 90% of the work happens (that portion of the iceberg above that’s hidden under the water) to create a seamless, consistent customer experience. It involves the integration of business systems, the aggregation of data, the processing of business rules and the exposing of the resulting information to the portal.
This underlying work is what digital transformation is all about. Customers demand better experiences. New technologies enable you to create those experiences - like a mobile app or a new customer portal (like the loyalty portal mentioned above). But to truly take advantage of these new customer-focused technologies and give customers what they need, you also have to transformation your business from the inside, including your underlying business processes.
Business process automation solutions can help you move quickly to adopt new processes and improve existing processes so you can take advantage of new disruptive technology.
For example, you may not be able to get rid of a legacy business application, but you can wrap that legacy system to expose the data to processes that are then exposed to a customer portal. Or you can leverage business process automation to create new processes that integrate data from multiple systems and automatically apply business rules and then expose these new processes to innovative experiences that support the needs of the customer.
The point I’m trying to make is this. You can create all the mobile applications and beautiful customer portals you want, but if you don’t transform the underlying the processes and systems that support that portal, then your portal truly is a shiny new car with no engine. And you won’t improve the customer experience; you’ll just create more silo experiences that frustrate your customers and your employees.
Pay attention to that 90%, and you’ll see customer experiences improve a hundred times faster.
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