This article was originally posted at Eglobalis!
Today, customers and employees are searching beyond the buzz word of “Customer Experience”, and “Employee Experience”; they are checking your governance complexities, procurement policies, purpose experience, what your company and you as a leader stand for. They watch your culture and leadership, your ability to change, adapt and evolve — from the largest structural change down to the smallest detail.
But given the massive number of factors here, what is the largest weight on the scale? Personal interactions with your organization. Your value is measured by engagement, the ability to develop meaningful relationships that helps you grow in value for all user groups — from customers and employees to partners and shareholders. If you can do that “small” thing then Annual Recurring Revenue (ARR), growth and new customers will come as a positive reward for a job well done.
It is unfortunately not easy. Products and services are becoming increasingly similar, increasingly difficult to distinguish based on overall value, technology, onboarding programs, trainings. Even innovative design has a shorter shelf-life as more companies gain adaptive capabilities — some with their own business model (personality) but others that are copycats, decidedly turned into followers rather than leaders.
As we move forward into an increasingly competitive technology market, how can we continue to differentiate?
The Big Idea: Remove complexities to develop meaningful relationships with customers
In a recent article, McKinsey wrote about what I have evangelized for many years, simplification and simplicity of customer, employee and partner’s experience as a competitive differentiator. (Read my article on simplification and simplicity here.) Their rightful opinion is based on a very clear trend over the last ten or twenty years, as companies like Amazon, Google, Spotify, Ikea, Microsoft, Aldi and Lidl have outperformed competitors — by an average of 679% across major indexes such as S&P (+207%), Dow (+184%) , Dax (+149%) and FTSE (+66%) (Siegel & Gale).
What makes companies and individuals want to acquire and adopt these solutions over competitors’? Simple and simplified experiences! Simplified experiences create engagement while clarifying value. This is true internally as much as externally. Thus:
Customer Experience is directly connected with an organization’s ability to simplify good complexities and eliminate unnecessary complexities to generate the perception of simplicity from the user’s standpoint, whether they be customer, shareholder, employee or partner.
Below are some practical, atypical suggestions to help your company stand out. These are not pipedreams but rather tactics that eGlobalis has used to optimize experience while decreasing internal costs of operations, R&D, design and marketing, often achieving much higher adoption and growth. You can prepare, plan and execute them quickly, after this Pandemic or perhaps even much before it ends.
6 ways to Create Smarter Technologies by Removing Complexity Safely
Before we eliminate complexities, we need to understand them — not just from one standpoint but all 360 degrees standpoints. Today many enterprise solutions base their customer understanding on data and metrics, but to truly understand our customers, employees and partners we need to delve deeper.
Here’s the problem.
What we assume we know is not necessarily experienced by everyone. I can perceive this concept I am explaining as complex or simple, as “intuitively true” or “totally natural”, or maybe (hopefully not) “crowded” or “needlessly complex”. No matter how I feel, this is YOUR experience, YOUR perception. We all perceive things in different ways. What overwhelms me might be simple for you, but when we try to pull in our customers to the conversation, they will probably react differently! Thus:
We need personalized experiences, not only to know their needs but also to adapt our own minds and perception to the perspectives of users and adopters.
We might be delivering personalized experience, but we are still far away from true personalization.
Perspective is incredibly important to keep in mind as we address the so called “negative force” of any one person’s experience: “complexity”.
1. Smart complexity vs bad complexity: Good complexity can save lives
Remember that complexity is not always negative and will not always result in unwanted frictions. Just reflect on our present situation to see why.
Going to the supermarket is not easy right now in many countries that have imposed rules, processes and procedures to control this pandemic, places like South Korea, Israel, and Finland to a certain extent. These governments have deployed more complexities for us!
Though complexity sounds negative, and it might be perceived as negative, it is sometimes helpful or necessary. But though popularity is different for each individual, these “bothering” complexities can be appreciated for their simple intention to protect us all, simultaneously delivering real advantages of lower hospitalization rates, lives saved, and more.
On the other hand, there are certainly unnecessary complexities in most organizations, such as reporting menial details or a requirement of 5 approvals to buy paper, or the wild goose chase of having to research what that accidental click just did to your BI, CRM, or ERP system. We need to understand what we are doing, and solutions that complicate and are unclear reduce that lucidity and slow us down.
Before we kill complexities, however, we need to analyze their full extent and impact, understanding the root cause from all potential angles (also known as 360-degree analyses). Then, only after thorough analysis concludes that a complexity is truly unnecessary, then and only then can we stop it or change it. Thus it is better to eliminate complexities with an expert, who can avoid killing a smart complexity that is actually necessary.
2. Applying minimalism to technology — (Known but not often done!)
The more options you provide (customers, users, buyers), the more difficulty you create in the process of adoption. For this reason, one feature that solves your company’s, customer’s, or user’s problem is much more effective than 10. Ten years ago, this idea was debatable because competition centered more on functionality, but today we compete on customer intuitions and adoption.
Consider the impact options have on user behavior. Won’t they become frustrated and potentially overwhelmed when it takes longer to learn the features? And then longer to decide which feature, module or tool to utilize? Or would it be better to have one option that clearly solves the problem?
Even when developing extremely complex enterprise technology, such as BI, AI, ERP or Payment or Billing Systems, design for adoption by simplifying!
n Customer Experience Basics –>To listen without solving the issue is not to listen.’
3. Intuitive design — Easy to know, not implement
When you must design something complex, if your R&D cannot avoid it, design it so that users can adopt it based on natural human behaviour. I recently interviewed Dr. Vollmer, Chief Innovation Officer at Celonis, and we touched on his tenure at SAP, where he worked for 14 years as Chief Digital Officer. We discussed SAP Ariba, the largest procurement cloud-based network in the world, specifically from the perspective of adoption and human experience, highlighting the importance of developing solutions “Google-fast and Apple-easy” — intuitively to enable easy adoption. That is the way to run your technology as you design it. This helps you to generate adoption and prevent costly ongoing trainings, services and lengthy on-boarding processes. In the other hand why some complex technologies must to invest deeply, in a top and better on boarding program for employees and customers? Due to the complexity and lack of clarity for their customers. Services is a great way to complete a great customer experience program, but making simple you still can solve the problems and decrease operations costs, with cloud or for other technologies.
4. With great design and customer experience you can decrease complexities, costs and enhance quality and satisfaction
I also want to be clear because complexity is abstract, impacting internal and external users. So, when we talk about efficiencies of simplified experiences and how we decrease costs, we aren’t describing anything like Total Cost of Ownership (TCO), as in the decreased TCO of cloud versus on-premise. We are describing operational costs that complexity incurs, such as increased trainings and poor usage, which detract from tool efficacy while causing friction in relationships and many other organizational inefficiencies.
5. How to generate adoption when your technology is unavoidably complex
For necessary complexities, you can pursue solutions that clarify and explain technology. SAP Ariba was highly successful with this strategy, using services like Userlane, which helps humans to understand software and demystify potential complexities by helping to create intuitive descriptions. Userlane also has several competitors, and you can choose the one that will best serve your company needs. In addition, enhance your on-boarding programs and continue trainings by utilizing compelling solutions, such as videos, to help your customers understand your tools in the easiest way possible. The more self-explanatory your technology becomes, the higher adoption, satisfaction, loyalty, and retention.
6. Instigating adoption with user insights and understanding
To help users adopt solutions, you need to understand them. Not the news — your users. Deploy your customer success team to analyze the modules or solutions that are less adopted and utilized and ask your customers the right questions. Why do they use module A and not module H or C?
Whatever they say, make sure to remove the barriers to their use. They might suggest:
1) lack of decent intuitive design;
3) lack of understanding;
4) lack of efficacy in solving the problem that they acquired your solution to solve. Whatever the answer, listen with attention, go back to your organization, and solve it.
‘’ In Customer Experience BasicsTo listen without solving the issue is not to listen.’’
Solve all issues, and remember that the cost of acquiring a new customer is almost always much higher than the cost to retain an existing customer. This will instigate retention and adoption from your organization. When customers understand that you take their concerns seriously and solve all their issues, they will stay with you. If we listen and execute, we build reliability, trust and respect into the relationship.
Thank you for reading!
Do not hesitate to contact me if you need any clarification or would like to offer feedback. I would appreciate the effort! Stay safe!
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