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A Customer Service Revolution Driven by Digital Transformation

We’ve all experienced it – the frustration, as a customer, in dealing with an organization. Sometimes it is just a fleeting moment and other times it can really get under our skin. There’s good news.

There is a revolution happening in customer service. For too many years organizations have been striving to improve their customer service, with many aiming to provide the best service in their industry. But there was a critical flaw in many of their approaches. The organization claimed to put the customer at the heart of everything it did but it still required the customer to fit around its processes! Many of us heard the comment from employees, “I am sorry I cannot do that as I’m not allowed or the system does not allow me.” So what’s changing?

  

Customer Obsession at the Heart of Digital Transformation

A core component of digital transformation is becoming customer obsessed. This is not just a change in language from customer service to becoming customer obsessed; it is more than that. What is significantly different is that we now have new tools and technologies to support this new level of customer obsession. Digitally driven organizations leverage hackathons to create digital solutions for customers, adopt customer mapping to identify and eliminate customer pain points, use data analytics to predict and solve customer issues (before the customer even knows that they had a problem) and use design thinking to rethink and design new ways to deliver better experiences for the customer.

Successful digitalization requires an organization to re-architect its technology, change its culture and drive its transformation from the customer’s perspective. With more digital transformations failing, achieving success isn’t easy. Research suggests that when transformation leads don’t focus on building new systems, processes and platforms around their customers, they are setting themselves up for failure.

In the past, internal teams met to discuss what they felt needed to be improved for the customers and made assumptions about what the customer needed and wanted. In a digital transformation, there is a radically different approach. Those same internal teams meet with customers!

  

DBS – Making Banking Joyful for Customers

One industry that is notorious for forcing customers to do things their way, rather than the way customers want, is banking. But there is one bank in Singapore that saw this as an opportunity – DBS Bank. As early as 2014, the leaders identified that customers saw banking as painful. The bank adopted a new strategy, which internally was called “Making Banking Joyful”. The strategy focused on leveraging the new technologies to make banking invisible to the customer and therefore creating an enjoyable experience. The successful implementation of the strategy resulted in the bank being recognized for the last three years as the world’s best bank.

One core component of the transformation was the bank becoming embedded in their customer journeys. This involved them continually striving to improve customer journeys by, for example, eliminating customer pain points. It does this by combining intuition with data. The bank adopted design thinking and 50% of its design thinking approach is spent meeting with customers and discovering their feelings, emotions and expectations. The rest of the time in their design thinking approach is spent defining (refining opportunities and concepts), developing (testing the riskiest assumptions, then aligning and planning the implementation) and delivering the solution (implementing the concept).

One core component of the transformation was the bank becoming embedded in their customer journeys. This involved them continually striving to improve customer journeys by, for example, eliminating customer pain points. It does this by combining intuition with data.

  

Tracking Customer Journeys

Digital transformation required the bank to also become data driven. It adopted customer science to create instruments and methods of observation that help it track customer journeys. Specifically, it combines customer behavior data with systems data to build real-time analytical models.

Implementing design thinking in DBS (referred to as 4Ds in the bank) effectively means each employee becomes more engaged with other departments and stakeholders in the customers’ journeys – breaking down traditional silos and enabling them to become customer obsessed rather than internally obsessed. It also means employees are focusing on building prototype solutions for customers and not slide decks for managers. But more importantly it has caused a revolution in its customer service approach by making banking joyful.

This article is partly extracted from the author’s new book World’s Best Bank – A Strategic Guide to Digital Transformation.

 

Robin Speculand
Global Strategy & Digital Implementation Specialist

Robin Speculand is a recognized pioneer and expert in strategy and digital implementation. He is driven to transform strategy implementation globally by inspiring leaders to adopt a different mindset and approach. The founder of three organizations and three business associations, Robin is CEO of Bridges Business Consultancy Int and co-founder of the Strategy Implementation Institute and the Ticking Clock Guys. Robin is also a TEDx presenter and facilitator for IMD, Duke CE and Singapore Management University, and a prolific bestselling author. He recently authored World’s Best Bank – A Strategic Guide to Digital Transformation.

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