To consistently respond to consumers’ digital expectations, you have to deliver a great online experience that’s relevant, convenient and faultlessly connected at every touchpoint.
But it’s essential to follow through on the promise that online interaction implies. Service must be seamless end-to-end – from channel to fulfillment. How many people would return to a restaurant serving fantastic dishes if they always arrived cold or late?
So unless organizations also focus on fulfillment excellence, they run the risk of building super highways that lead to dirt tracks. The consequences are as harrowing as the inevitable car crash – disastrous customer experiences and a wrecked reputation.
Fulfillment excellence delights customers but also brings massive cost efficiencies as cumbersome and manual tasks are eradicated. Everyone stands to win.
There are notable examples of “digitally born” organizations that have achieved excellence in fulfillment. Amazon is building its own delivery devices (drones) and vehicle fleet. Apple has the most successful physical retail stores in the world, and they’re fully integrated with their on-line channels.
But examples of more traditional businesses transforming to this desired state are rare, saddled as they are with legacy, complexity and outmoded governance.
Multinational grocers struggle with the online delivery chain. Interacting with your phone company, energy provider or bank is often painfully unfulfilling.
So there’s a big and worthwhile job that needs doing. Fulfillment is true differentiator and competitive advantage in this digital world. However, for many organizations, it’s also an overwhelming challenge.
At Wipro Digital, we’ve worked with a range of businesses facing this challenge including a number of major banks. Typically, there is a clear recognition of the need for radical change but less clarity on where to start and what change levers to pull, in what order.
In our experience, the key is to identify and implement executable interventions that make a real and immediate difference and that are driven by customer need. To do so requires three complementary segments:
1) Simplification, Digitalization and Automation
We drive out executable interventions by applying simplification, digitalization and automation levers.
Simplification entails traditional process disciplines to eliminate waste as well as a clear strategy to achieve channel shift – for example, moving face-to-face interactions to online, self-serve channels. We increasingly find that policy changes are key to reducing complexity – integrating policy and compliance colleagues in the design team and process can bring revelatory breakthroughs.
Digitalization includes converting paper to digital form but also routing and indexing so that “work” is transformed into digital objects. We still see operations or at least front-line units drowning in paper that must be printed, transported, read and rekeyed, stored, searched, found, and finally, destroyed.
Automation can be achieved with many tools but the intent is to have system talking to system doing work with your digital objects. Humans will only get involved to resolve exceptions. System “Bots” can handle by rote tasks, for example indexing scanned loan applications, and can be at it 24 by 7. More sophisticated Cognitive Intelligence solutions can target knowledge based tasks, for example expediting the approval of the applied for loans.
2) Customer & Data Driven Insight
We use insight and data to help identify and prioritize executable interventions. Today most decisions are made on the basis of intuition and experience. There’s always a place for these, but when you use externally and internally gathered data that has been assembled in a fact base, decisions can be justified and their impact is measurable to colleagues, customers, shareholders and regulators.
Data is the life-blood of digital, and data gathering (probes) and exploitation (analytics) should be architected into a company’s infrastructure. Data allows us to direct, measure and manage change.
When you look for it, you’ll see opportunities to gather data within every facet of the business. For example, customer facing employees and customer dialogues are great sources of data and insight. Often, you can gather this information for free. Make sure you listen as well as hear. Let the voices of your customers and colleagues be the key arbiter of where you target investments.
3) Continuous Doing
The third segment involves ongoing and proactive doing. As Mark Zuckerberg says, “Done is better than perfect.” Google has kept apps like gmail in beta for years. Going digital means learning as you go.
At Wipro Digital, our delivery methodology requires that change is applied as soon as it can drive a minimum viable impact. Enhancements, fixes, bells and whistles can all come later. To be blunt, delays cost money. Someone else will be deploying what you are still perfecting and first mover advantage will be lost.
To summarize, any digital strategy that does not address channel to fulfillment is incomplete and will not succeed. Ensure that fulfillment is in scope and if it’s not – shout, scream and make lots of noise.
But it’s not all about strategy. Nor is it all about technology. Whatever your situation, maturity or anything else, being able to deliver on a promise is plain good business.
So get on with improving your delivery chain using whatever levers you can – don’t get paralyzed by analysis. Provided you listen and respond to your customer’s feedback you’re headed in the right direction.