Our world is changing faster than ever before. Every industry, be it banking, insurance, telecommunications, retail or healthcare is undergoing rapid changes in customer expectations and behaviour, competition and product offerings. Such change uncovers new imperatives in the way companies engage their customers, do business and use technology. Companies are adapting to this change through digital transformation journeys, in order to become a digital enterprise. However, in many ways, such change is not just for competitive advantage but also to stay relevant. Digital has become the new normal for employee engagement and therefore customer experience. Digital transformation fundamentally impacts three areas, with employees are at the centre of each one of them.
Most companies today are striving to differentiate on customer experience. The fundamental drivers of customer experience are relevance and immediacy. Relevance is about understanding the customer and their issues with products or service and immediacy is about providing on-demand delivery of product, service or resolution of issues. While new technology can enable these aspects, it is your employees’ engagement and motivation that drives customer experience either through providing services to your customers or building products that bring a smile to their faces.
Digital transformation is driving operational experience primarily through elimination of work. This reduces cycle time, driving agility and improving data driven decision making, to increase operational effectiveness. Once again, it’s the employees who make better decisions and drive operational efficiency. In many organisations, most decisions are collaborative in nature and employees’ ease of collaboration will lead to better operational excellence.
In recent years, many CEOs have made employee engagement one of their top 3 priorities. They know that their organisations will not be able to compete in the new world without fully engaged employees. While a part of employee engagement happens through a sense of purpose and fairness, the operational engagement is driven by their workspace, colleagues and systems. It is for this reason that adoption of smart and fun offices with new age systems is growing at a rapid pace. Research shows that customer experience leaders have 60% more engaged employees . If the employee has become key to being relevant in the marketplace, what can companies do to enable employees? The answer lies in providing them the means and the opportunity to operate in new ways.
The new products and services which are relevant today cannot only be created by one part of the organisation - R&D, for example. Today, any customer interface, be it a shop, office, webpage, mobile app or call centre needs the involvement of business, design, technology, finance, operations to make customers happy. In an omni-channel world customers want the same experience across touchpoints with your organisation. Employees need to collaborate to drive great experience to your customers. Collaboration technologies like Skype, Yammer, Slack, teams have greatly evolved over the last few years and are the first step towards a digital enterprise.
Traditionally, people followed work to the office. Today work follows people to where they are – home, office, café, airport, train. Employees today want to be able to manage their work and personal time better to deliver their best. Successful organisations respect this choice and enable employees to work from anyplace, anytime and via any device. This probably is the highest driver of productivity in today’s digital age. Such access does require investment in technology and cyber security but the benefits far outweigh the costs.
Agile and evergreen
Technology providers are rapidly releasing, and improving, features consumers can use. It is not uncommon to release more than 50 changes to the product in a single day. Since many new age products are now subscription based and available on cloud, these changes become available to consumers immediately. Keeping enterprise technology evergreen (updated on a continuous basis) provides our employees the best tools to compete in the marketplace. How can we expect to win in the marketplace if employees have one hand tied behind their backs because of technology constraints? Having leading edge technology equips employees with the best tools.
Increasing organisation productivity can also be achieved by making small improvements for a large number of employees. For example, reducing computer boot time by two minutes can add an additional work day per employee. An organisation with 100,000 employees could cumulatively save 100,000 man days. Similarly, using hyper-automation can improve employee productivity by 30% while allowing them to focus on customers rather than doing unnecessary tasks. Being able to focus more on your customers and products in today’s hyper-competitive marketplace is clearly a competitive advantage.
Segment of one
Each employee is unique and approaches their work differently. They use technology and resources in their own unique ways. Assuming that thousands of users can be segmented into half a dozen user profiles to service their technology needs, restricts individuals’ output. The ability to analyse the usage and behaviour of individual employees and empower each one of them improves organisational efficiency. There are analytical tools available to monitor usage patterns of individual employees and use that analytics and data to improve overall efficiency. Improving employee satisfaction is an important driver for being relevant in the marketplace today. Luckily the technology and systems now available allow us to do that effectively. The success of any organisation depends not on customers but on what your employees can offer to your customers. It also depends on what an organisation can offer to its employees.