Managing Digital Transformation with an Agile, Holistic Approach
Jody Arebalo, Vice President of Transformation and Consulting,
As organizations look to become more customer-centric in
response to evolving consumer expectations, executives are increasingly seeking
to improve and innovate customer service processes. With the rise of
technologies like chatbots and artificial intelligence (AI) to support customer
service operations, companies are under pressure to drive and manage digital
transformation. However, many companies approach transformation blindly without
strategically thinking about why it is important and how it will impact the
organization and the customer experience after quick cost savings are realized.
Technological transformation requires a cultural change,
which means extensive communication, consultation and training. Successful
implementations of technologies like automation are a gradual progression,
involving tweaks and augmentations to existing systems. To enact change, it is
crucial for businesses to embrace a holistic approach towards transformation,
which requires agile operations.
Agile companies prioritize collaboration and interactions
over documentation and rigged planning to introduce new initiatives. Agility
and digital technology go hand in hand, encouraging practices such as the
self-organization of teams, conveying information through face-to-face conversations
and regularly reviewing, and as appropriate, adjusting the behavior of the
team. The idea is to gradually change the course of the entire company by
piloting projects to transition practices.
A holistic approach to transformation is not the absence of
planning. Rather it means remaining flexible to changes. Introducing agility
into an organization creates a dynamic environment for new strategy to develop.
Many methods and frameworks exist to implement agile processes, including:
Design Thinking helps organizations implement new
technology, processes or ideas in a way that has customers at the core. This
method encourages people to work collectively to develop a resolution rather
than trying to bring change with one single view or opinion, with the goal of developing
solutions that users find valuable and appealing. Design Thinking includes five
- Empathize: Speak to customers and employees to cultivate a deeper understanding of the problem or issue.
- Define: Clearly outline the problem, indicating what you are trying to achieve.
- Ideate: Utilize knowledge from across the company or industry to share ideas and views from different disciplines.
- Prototype: Develop a solution for a real-life target audience.
- Test: Gather feedback from the intended customer base by actively testing the product or service.
Customer Journey Mapping
A customer-oriented approach to marketing and sales requires a deep understanding of the entire customer journey. Customer journey mapping helps to identify potential for improvement and innovation within the customer experience and supports the development of new solutions. Four steps to developing a customer journey map include:
With technology poised to automate many customer interactions, it is imperative that digital transformation is a strategic and flexible process with leadership buy-in and ongoing support. Companies that implement agile methods will be better positioned to successfully adapt and innovate processes, benefitting customers.
- Define customer personas: This involves leveraging relevant data to precisely describe a typical customer who represents a customer segment based on attributes like demographics, professional situation, customer problems, values, etc. A unique customer journey map is then developed for each persona.
- Describe the individual touchpoints: This also requires outlining the communication channels in each scenario. Considerations include: how are customers aware of the product? Where and how are customers looking for more information? Where and how are consumers purchasing the product?
- Identify customer interactions: Whether it is a customer support representative at a service center, sales materials or a product video on a website, it is important to understand the things and people that customers encounter during their journey.
- Describe the feelings of customers at the touchpoints: Are customers excited by an online product description because it seems to address their exact needs? Are customers feeling frustrated with how their issue is being processed when they call a service center?