PUTTING THE CUSTOMER FIRST THROUGH TECHNOLOGY
PUTTING THE CUSTOMER FIRST THROUGH TECHNOLOGY
After a little more than a decade, the connected society has changed our work/life balance beyond recognition. Thanks in part to the ubiquitous computer in our pockets and the constant connection that people take for granted, companies are more aware that a digital transformation is no longer a matter of if, but when. And postal organizations that don’t embrace the available technology are in danger of losing both business opportunities and customers.
The key to a successful digital transformation lies in defining what that process actually means. The consensus is that companies need to first understand how digital processes can increase productivity, while simultaneously building a platform for a modern—and digitally driven—enterprise. In addition, the increased expectations of a tech-savvy customer base require companies to develop business models and processes that provide people with an effective and efficient digital experience.
In recent years, for instance, the move from digital first to digital only has required organizations to redefine a so-called North Star. This business-growth concept—first coined by companies in Silicon Valley as a means of defining the single metric that best captures the core value that a product delivers to its customers and workforce—helps decision makers to move beyond fleeting or surface-level success to long-term sustainability.
It should come as no surprise that technology has been the key driver behind this process. Mobile was arguably the first stage, but companies now have a plethora of customer-centric hardware and software to play with. Technology has encouraged companies to engage with its customers and workforce in ways that would have seemed futuristic as recently as 20 years ago, with digital experiences now the norm.
As a result, people have become more aware of not only the options available but also the ways to limit potential pain-points. For the unprepared postal organization, this presents something of a conundrum. On the one hand, there is a defined need to provide the digital experiences that the connected society has come to expect. On the other, an effective response to rising expectations requires a state of almost continuous improvement within an organization itself.
In other words, companies can find themselves stuck between the proverbial rock and hard place.
A recent report by Gartner said that emerging digital trends have raised the bar in terms of customer service. According to a survey of 533 customer service leaders – of which Posts are obviously a part—evolving technology such as customer-facing AI and back-office automation are already priorities for more than 70 percent of organizations. In addition, the report said, customers now expect always-on service from every company or organization that they engage with, irrespective of the product, service or industry.
“Customer service organizations are rapidly adopting digital channels and capabilities,” said Pete Slease, vice president at Gartner, in a press release. “While this can be an effective means of fulfilling customer needs and expectations, a common mistake is expanding digital offerings without fully considering what aspects of the digital experience are most valuable to customers and service staff.”
Let’s consider the aforementioned computer in our pockets.
Smartphones are the poster children of digital experience and a perfect example of the potential for modernization in an enterprise environment. Irrespective of whether you prefer Apple’s iOS to Google’s Android, the fact is that the majority of people have a mobile device of some kind. And those people are both likely to have their phone within reach at all times and be comfortable with leveraging apps to complete a task.
In fact, the smartphone has become the de-facto symbol of the connected society, but its underlying technology is rarely static. Smartphone manufacturers are constantly updating the core product, wooing device owners with new technologies and applications. Voice-user interfaces, embedded payment options, biometric scans, augmented reality, machine learning and AI … all of this evolving tech is likely to be available to the average smartphone user, if not now, then in the very near future. And the experience itself is at the heart of this evolution.
According to Escher’s recent Future of Posts 2019 report, customer experience remains a competitive advantage in the supply and distribution sector, especially when you factor in the growth of eCommerce and the increased use of data analytics. Around 92 percent of Posts believe that digital solutions are a crucial part of customer engagement and overall productivity, with the aim being to make the customer journey as efficient (and painless) as possible.
The modern branch location, for instance, is likely to have touch-screen kiosks as standard, while Mobile Point of Service (mPOS) can encourage Posts to interact with customers in real-time. As a result, customers are less likely to experience delays in their postal transactions and, importantly, be able to access the services in a variety of locations. As an added bonus, the increased availability of distribution-focused mobile apps means that customers can engage with Posts on their own time, rather than making a trip to an individual location.
With that in mind, Posts need to appreciate that the move towards digital transformation is not a voluntary option. Rather, the pace of technology will negate a wait-and-see approach in favor of what needs to happen now. The customer has always been king but giving them access to technology that makes their lives easier must be a minimum requirement.
To find out how the Escher Group can help your Post achieve its digital transformation and enhance the customer journey, please contact us here. Alternatively, please download our Future of Posts 2019 report to learn what are the steps you should be taking.