Several leading consulting companies including Accenture, KPMG, and McKinsey as well as some highly respected academics have argued that customer experience is at the heart of business transformation.
On the other hand, precisely what to do in this respect and how to do it is somewhat less clear. A customer driven approach requires both a shift of management attention from the traditional focus and greater cross functional collaboration than is typically the norm. At the risk of over simplifying what is a very complex challenge, I propose the following six key actions:
#1 - Engage leadership by leveraging the growing body of work by companies such as Forrester, the Temkin Group and Watermark Consulting. These firms have carried out research which conclusively demonstrates that customer experience leaders far outperform laggards in terms of share price, loyalty and other key metrics. Just consider the chart on the ROI from customer experience below;
#2 - Measure the current level of performance for customers by rapidly gathering random samples of data on “perfect order delivery”- as defined by the Supply Chain Council. Also monitor other critical to customer metrics such as first time right responses to customer inquiries and complaints and variance to promise dates. Use this data to estimate the potential payback and return on investment for customer driven business transformation.
#3 - Map the entire customer journey by looking at the full sequence of events from a customer’s point of view – i.e. from the “outside-in” – in clear, crisp terms such as a real customer would use. Don’t just look at discreet touch points – or moments of truth. Facilitate conversations with groups of people on the type of cross functional collaboration that might be needed to radically improve customer experience.
#4 - Identify the key opportunities for improvement based on the customer journey and then examine the relevant value creating business processes. Tackle no more than two to three of the highest priority, complex, cross functional business processes. Resist taking the easy way out of just looking at what individual departments might do to improve customer experience.
#5 - Integrate enabling technology with process redesign to transform the way the company works and radically improve customer experience. Don’t just rely on one tool – take advantage of the full spectrum of process automation approaches. The spectrum of ‘digital labor’- source: KPMG, 2016.
Customer driven business transformation is a journey that takes several iterations.
Engaging leadership throughout is vitally important, as is assuring cross functional collaboration and building in change management from the outset. The input of an external coach or a trusted advisor who has the benefit of impartiality and experience can also be useful in staying on course.
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