I keep emailing myself articles that I’d like to write about, but then my inbox gets cluttered… and the thought passes. Here’s a post that’s shorter than the one in my head, but hopefully a bit of insight you can chew on.
In Brazil a couple of weeks ago, I hammered the fact that you can’t improve what you don’t measure, and you can’t measure something that you don’t clearly define. About the same time, I came across an article on measuring digital transformation success that listed four pillars to digital transformation (as determined by a survey of executives).
I don’t agree that the first two points are digital transformation, but I’m going to have to leave that without explanation because I want to write about something important.
The second two points are actually in conflict unless you realize some nuance. Here they are:
- Improve operational efficiency (41 per cent). Companies want to better harness data to improve their decision-making.
- Improve the internal or external customer experience (41 per cent). Enterprises want improved customer touch-points from mobile to in-store to call centers.
Operational efficiency is about YOUR process. Customer experience is about YOUR CUSTOMERS’ “process”. Often, these are at odds, because by making yourself more efficient you reduce your customer experience (defined as being able to deliver highly personal service).
Let me share two examples:
- Bank ATMs vs Tellers
- Call center support
Bank ATMs vs Tellers
You can make this about data if you like — as the point above suggests. You can look at the data and realize that some percentage of customers go to the bank to deposit checks and take out some money at the same time. So, you optimize your ATM… and then put those ATMs in between the teller and the customer to get them to be used (as a bank I use has done).
The thing is, when I go to the bank, it’s because I want a bit of human connection. Not just an ATM. I want someone to treat me as if my business matters. And, I’m not alone. Though I have misplaced the link, I have seen a wealth management report about millennials — they want their advisors to dress casually and throw parties where they can meet VIPs. Millenials may not want to go into a branch but they want to be treated well.
If you improve your efficiency by treating every customer the same, you are making your own processes more efficient but quite possibly at the expense of the customer experience. Which leads into the second example… call centers.
Call Center Support
I generally speak to audiences that are more technical than most, so my example here always resonates. And, let’s pick on the internet service providers / cable companies for a minute.
Your internet access stops working (or is slow). What do you do? Do you call? Hell no. They suck, and I can do a lot myself you think. So you do all the things one would expect — you ping the host looking for DNS issues. You try your work’s VPN to make sure it’s your network. You reboot everything (making sure to wait 60 seconds before powering back on…WTF?!). You try your mobile phone on the carrier network instead of your home’s wifi.
Nothing works and you call the call center.
“Ok Mr. Bressler. Do you have a cable to plug your computer directly into the cable modem? Let’s unplug the power…”
You patiently explain that you’ve been through this before… that you’ve spent 20 years as a networking expert. That you’ve trained people like him/her. You ask “can’t we please skip to page 18 of the manual, the part after…”.
“I’m sorry Mr. Bressler, but I have to start on page 1.”
Yeah. That’s efficient for the company, not so much on customer experience though, right?
I don’t mean this to be the best-written post of mine, but I want to make this point.
In the past, consistency of experience was valued. The sales pitch for McDonalds was “go anywhere in the world, and you know you’re in a McDonalds.” That’s not the case anymore.
Who wants the same experience over-and-over-and-over anymore? We crave variety and to be known. We want things our way not your way and that’s not always the most efficient way for you to deliver your process to me… which is why digital transformation is no longer about ‘access to your process’ but about ‘embedding your process in my experience’.