Goldman Sachs, PepsiCo, and Northern Trust were among the presenters at Forrester’s CX NYC 2018—an event that reflected the growing momentum around placing customers at the center of business strategy. While C-suite executives increasingly recognize that customer experience (CX) is an engine for growth, success is often elusive. For instance, only 23 percent of respondents in a recent analyst survey claimed tangible benefits from CX investments1. A lack of a holistic approach, organizational silos, and outdated technologies are among the core challenges. There is also a propensity to focus exclusively on the front-end experience—rather than on the middle and back office where many deeper CX problems originate—limiting the impact of initiatives.
Many Fortune 1000 leaders are adopting a journey-driven transformation approach to reimagine, design, and engineer experiences that drive desired business outcomes. Multi-disciplinary teams, agile methodologies fused with design thinking, and intelligent technologies are the foundation of the approach. When executed successfully, journey-driven transformation enables organizations to deliver exceptional experiences to customers and employees across every touchpoint, channel, and device. This post will look at the first element of the approach—Customer-Centered digital strategy. We’ll cover the other two—experience design and experience engineering—next.
Creating a foundation with digital strategy
The right digital strategy, conceived through a customer-centric lens, is the foundation of successful journey-driven transformation. A comprehensive strategy, which blends human and digital capabilities, includes four key principles:
1. Start with research:
CX initiatives will fail, regardless of investment, if they omit objective research and genuine customer insights. Too often, business and technology teams develop products behind closed doors, focusing on new technologies versus what customers really want. Customer-centered digital strategy uses both qualitative and quantitative data—blending contextual in-the-moment observations with data-driven insights. Research also uncovers gaps across the front, middle, and back office.
A top three wealth advisor faced challenges when customers began switching providers at retirement age. Meanwhile, millennials, another important group, were ushering in new demands around digital. The advisor needed to apply a new business strategy to drive customer retention, develop performance and asset metrics and KPIs, and improve the experience via digital. Customer-centered digital strategy helped the advisor segment, interview, and analyze workflow and information consumption of its constituents. Teams were able to link value metrics to personas and customer and advisor journeys. Ultimately, the advisor was able to understand the complex customer ecosystem and deliver new value in areas like communities of interest. The advisor could prioritize investment decisions, use repeatable models to scale against the roadmap, and deliver a more interactive client experience supported by new applications.
2. Deploy intelligent software:
Intelligent software enables the creation of data-driven journeys and personas—guiding efforts from strategy through execution. A healthcare company leveraged software in context of the approach to create a patient journey to capture each phase from diagnosis to treatment. Various touchpoints for patients and providers marked each phase, e.g., appointment scheduling, office visits, and lab work. The journeys captured information flow between people, devices, and systems at each touchpoint. Visualizing the journey across the ecosystem helped identify gaps in data flow, drug compliance, information around intervention points, and medication synchronization.
The right software provides a single source of truth about customers via a centralized platform. Built-in functionality, found in software like Cora Journey360, enables data-driven dashboards that illustrate the health of journeys over time. Teams can monitor the experience across multiple dimensions, adjust course in near real-time, and maximize ROI. Seamless integration with other platforms enables initiatives to scale while accelerating broader digital transformation across the enterprise. For instance, Cora Journey360 integrates with Genpact’s Cora platform, allowing teams to continuously strengthen the experience across the front, middle, and back offices. Organizations can integrate additional digital building blocks in areas like AI, Robotic Process Automation, and IoT based on needs, budget, and timing.
3. Fuse design thinking and agile:
Customer-centered digital strategy fuses design thinking with agile processes to drive quality, innovation, speed, and productivity. Design thinking leverages a human-centered approach to create new products and services, while agile processes enable rapid testing, iteration, and continuous improvement. Embed design thinking from the start, as a precursor to the build phase. Teams gain clarity around problems and solutions, establish a design vision, and create an agile framework. Identifying a design vision to sprint toward is critical—as without one, the design will quickly fall apart.
4. Leverage multiple perspectives:
Multi-disciplinary teams should include strategists, designers, technologists, agile experts, and business and operational executives—as well as risk, compliance, and legal professionals. Without the right mix of professionals, initiatives skew toward only one objective. For instance, a banking institution might end up with a portal that is best-in-class—but the C-suite views it as a failure due to soaring development costs. The team included developers and designers—without the voice of operations and finance. Conversely, the portal may be on time and on budget—but lack innovations that address key pain points at different phases of the journey. If agile professionals aren’t present, teams may promise a timeline that is simply not feasible—creating false expectations. Multi-disciplinary teams enable best-in-class solutions while saving time and money. Taking this approach up-front, as part of an agile program foundation, results include less risk, greater velocity, and a better result.
Customer-centered digital strategy creates the framework for overall journey-driven transformation. When executed successfully, results are significant. For instance, a major bank used these principles to increase market share by 50 percent within one year of launching a new portal. Contact us to see how we can help with your customer-centered digital strategy or to see a demo of Cora Journey360.
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1 HfS Research