When companies are small, giving your customers excellent service is much simpler. It’s easily to offer the personal touch, put things right when they go wrong and make sure all your staff are giving of their best.
But when your business grows to cater for tens or even hundreds of thousands of customers, you face a whole new set of problems. The service you provide is only as good as the systems you use to deliver it.
Let’s take an example. A couple of weeks ago, I ordered a car part from a supplier. I needed it the next day, which happened to be a Saturday. So he used a courier that would deliver next day, at the weekends.
Saturday came and went. So did Monday. On Tuesday, I chased up the order with the supplier. He checked the tracking number with the delivery firm. My parcel had been taken from Yorkshire and left in a depot in Scotland. Although I live in East Anglia, this was registered on the system as my ‘local’ depot.
The systems used by the courier company had no way of recognising that the parcel had gone to the wrong depot. The people at the depot weren’t alerted to the mistake. So the delivery couldn’t be made. It just sat there. It took many phone calls to get the parcel back on track – and it finally arrived five days late.
You’ll have experienced many similar situations. Poor systems mean bad mistakes. Bad mistakes mean loss of business and reputation damage. So what do you do about it?
Don’t let poor systems ruin customer service
Smart companies realise when their systems are getting in the way of customer satisfaction – and then they do something about it.
One of our clients fell into this category. A well-known ferry company, its business was built on a plethora of unintegrated systems which relied on lots of manual interventions and resulted in needless mistakes. Worst of all, multiple databases meant it was almost impossible to integrate customer information in one place. This led to lost opportunities.
Fast forward a few years and the company’s reputation is riding high and it’s succeeding in the face of tough competition. How? It now has systems that can analyse and compare any variables, with surprising results. Did you know there’s a correlation between wave height and the amount of money passengers will spend in Duty Free? This company now does. It also knows that certain trips correlate with all stocks of Toblerone Bars being sold – so it can order in enough to meet demand.
These are just two insights that help the firm improve and refine its customer offering. But how did it get there? The answer was a systematic programme of digital transformation.
Achieving your goals with digital transformation
We helped this particular company on its journey by undertaking a process of strategic discovery. We identified its core business goals and developed a pragmatic plan for achieving them. It was a huge piece of work, and we divided the digital transformation project into a number of major workstreams, each of which was fundamental to a business objective.
To give you a flavour of the process, the workstreams included:
· E-commerce. Making online bookings simpler and flexible on all devices.
· Operational processes. Consolidating, streamlining and automating processes, creating a much-needed single view of the customer and improving internal activities such as HR and recruitment.
· IT infrastructure. Upgrading the physical IT infrastructure to a cloud-based service, making it faster and more connective on land and at sea.
· Freight management. Introducing online self-service systems for commercial customers.
· Yield management. Allowing the company to accurately forecast demand for each sailing and adjust prices to achieve maximum yield.
· Analysis and reporting. Unifying data and creating multi-dimensional, business-critical reporting. That’s where that unusual correlation between wave height and Duty Free sales came from!
How do I apply digital transformation to my own business?
You are likely to be in a very different business than our ferry operator client. However, if you want to adopt an agile and pragmatic roadmap that leads you to better customer service via digital transformation, the lesson is the same – you need to map the transformation to your business goals, and you need experienced help to make the journey.
That’s where we can help. We’ve helped organisations ranging from local government to global loyalty scheme companies transform the way they do business – and use data and insight to bring whole new dimensions to customer service and satisfaction.
Sound good to you? Why not read our recent case study and find out how we helped on of our customer then drop us a line today to learn how we can help you!