Fortunately, the endeavors of digital transformation dwell at the epicenter of customer experience (CX). All you got to do is to listen, ask, and listen again.
Does your application help them? Is it too confusing for them to use? Is it too slow? Are they lost in steps while trying to complete critical interactions? What do they want?
These are a few questions that even the savviest of executives are asking more frequently than ever. Technology has handed customers unprecedented power and amplified their expectations of instant gratification and information. More and more customers expect the level of satisfaction they receive from the industry leaders to quickly respond to their complaints and take in their suggestions affirmatively. They expect this even from the sleepiest corners of markets across industries. If you fail to deliver the experience, they’ll hop on to your competitors.
Tracking what’s important
Focusing on the speed of delivery is critical. However, it cannot be the only focus for the customer-first approach. The key is to track success and uncover areas of improvement with Key Performance Indicators, such as response time and frequency of key transaction, visits per user/per week, user growth rates, conversion rates, and amount of time spent on an application amongst many.
Refactoring of software happens on the go, failure is not penalized – outcome is the king!
When you’re determined to meet the demands of digital transformation, adopting the ‘solution’ first approach is a good strategy. Tools will help you get the work done only once you know what you want to achieve. We should constantly be asking ourselves: why do we need this? And why are we doing this?
One such strategy of designing workable solutions is to work in small batches. Working in small batches confers you the ability to test your hypotheses rapidly and correct or revisit the solutions. Small change sets should be THE core principle of any digital transformation journey. This gives the ability to smoothly flow through, and even if it fails, recovery can be faster. At Amazon, the development and deployment processes are mature enough to handle new software deployment every second.
Today, we all recognize the benefits of Agile Software Development, and its popularity is beyond the software industry. It is implemented right from wedding planning to reducing lead and cycle time in mega manufacturing plants. Despite its popularity, according to the 13th Annual State of Agile report, a clear majority of respondents (83%) said that their organizations were below the high level of competency with agile practices. Our analysis shows a similar observation of many agile projects hitting the glass ceiling when it comes to improving efficiency, speed to market, and quality. While the projects offer benefits of agile like faster feedback, continuous improvements, and motivated teams, when it comes to measuring engineering parameters, the reports are often subjective.
Bringing people, processes, tools and technologies together
Customer experience is driving the Software delivery. The customer relationship is dynamic with constantly shifting expectations, and it requires continuous monitoring. So, while Agile and DevOps enable faster software delivery, that is not an end in of itself. Ultimately, the goal is to deliver value directly to the customer via digital capabilities. This calls for a Continuous X approach in your development, test, deployment, monitoring, learning & experimentation, feedback, and so on. In customer experience first approach, success of digital transformation efforts is dependent on four pillars:
Customer Driven – Customer led approach – listen to customers constantly and anticipate their needs to continuously enhance and personalize
Customer and not Competitor Centric – Focuses on what Customer is expecting and not what a Competitor has.
Insight Driven – Figuring out what a customer wants and use that insight to drive product improvement.
Continuous and Connected – Instead of trying to be perfect, try to go fast with batch and incremented releases; get results from the customers and analyse if the results are effective.
Software delivery processes need to introduce systems or tools right at the beginning. This helps in the Continuous X approach of delivery, which can be Multivariate testing (A/B testing) wherein customer feedback can be analysed using different KPIs and decisions can be made, or Continuous Monitoring wherein the system detects the problem, error alerts and takes actions to heal. The reason why a customer uses a particular product is because it delivers some unique values. It is necessary to use data to obtain the unique value to figure out what they want from their experience, which drives product development and its analysis again. This is called Continous X.
“By 2022, 70% of enterprises will embed intelligent automation into technology and process development, using AI based software to discover operational and experiential insights to guide innovation.” – states IDC predictions report IDC FutureScape: Worldwide Customer Experience 2020 Predictions by Alan Webber (Program VP – CX), dated 25 November 2019.
The moral of the story is that finding ways to act based on what you listen is an effort that should involve the entire ecosystem of people, processes, tools and technologies working towards customer success.