Vivek works as a senior executive in ABC Company that sells Product X to individual customers. While there are physical aspects attached to the initial provision of the product, the servicing of the product is largely amenable to almost fully online interactions with the customer. The company has been languishing for many years with arcane business process supported by aging legacy systems. Led by a new visionary CEO, the company has embarked on a bold new journey to rediscover their way of working, to make themselves more customer-centered, reduce customer attrition, and win back market share from newer nimbler competition. The company has embarked on a Digital Transformation, driven directly by the CEO.
Given the criticality of the initiative, Vivek has been entrusted the role of Product Owner to reimagine and redefine the whole customer journey. He and his team have got together over several days of focused discussion to decide on how the target product life cycle should look, through customer journey mapping. Vivek then plans to bring in their customer sponsor to help validate the same.
Vivek and his team have no problems in visualizing a straight-through processing scenario to automate all possible customer touchpoints and only bring in human interventions for exception handling or where the workflow intelligence determines a human intervention will be in the best interest of the customer.
They get stuck when they start discussing the lifecycle end touch point of customer requesting a service termination. The team is divided, with one school of thought being to include this in the straight through processing as well, while the other school of thought being to take only a service request and then get a human intervention to take it through. They discuss the pros and cons of each approach, including someone in the team reminding how some businesses even make it tough for the customer to find the way to terminate the service. So much for being customer-centric! While clear that they will not emulate those other businesses, they are not able to make up their mind on which of the two schools of thought to go for. Vivek then decides to call it a day and meet the next day morning when they want to take a final decision.
If you were advising them, what would be your recommendation and why?
Vivek, an early riser, had spent his early morning thinking through the conundrum and then called up Raj who has been his trusted advisor on all things Digital. At the end of the two-hour phone call with Raj, it became clear to Vivek what the solution should be. He then hurries to office and gets his team together.
He straight away puts forth his view – that if they have to be true to their mission to be more customer-centric, then they have make every process, every touchpoint with the customer be as convenient as possible to the customer, even if it is service termination. Customer experience is paramount. Vivek explains that the best solution is make it as easy for the customer to terminate the service as it was to ask for a change in some service attribute. Straight through is the decision, with just an additional step to request the user the reasons for termination and ask if the customer would like the request to be processed immediately or route the customer to a service representative. Vivek wants to go one step further and in the event the customer still chooses to terminate immediately, to give an unsolicited promise to the customer to be able to get the product/service again at any later point in time, at a 10% discount for the first month and a promise to honor and keep alive all the loyalty reward points indefinitely. Vivek tells the team that customers do return and it is important to delight the customer at all touchpoints. The team sees that they have collectively made a strategically important decision, and proceed to map the target process design with appropriate changes to the CRM and loyalty processes as well.
A few days later, Vivek brings in their customer sponsor and runs through the target customer journey. The customer sponsor meticulously validates the whole journey map, is absolutely delighted with it and congratulates Vivek and his team on a job very well done.