Magazine

Service transformation

Focus on customer experience can bring great clarity to what is important – and what is not – for a business. Once we understand customers and their priorities it is much easier to imagine how to improve things for them for business benefit. The challenge is ‘turning the organisational tanker’ to go in this new direction.

Insight into customer experience provides the understanding that enables us to imagine better services. Using this understanding of the ‘as is’ situation we can create a target ‘to be’ vision of the future for customers.  What we need to recongise is that this is just the beginning of the journey. Supporting an organization to align around, and deliver to, this vision is where the hard work starts. Below are five challenges to any vision. Take a deep breath.

Challenge 1 – connecting the silos

The first challenge for a customer experience vision is that it will have different implications for different people and departments in an organization. On top of this each department will be busy with its’ priorities and agenda. The vision must survive the challenges from each side as it is buffeted by the often-conflicting demands of these agenda.

Challenge 2 – facing the system

Certain visions are valid but near impossible. They must reconcile themselves with the restrictions of organisations’ systems. In IT heavy sectors like Telecoms, Banking and Utilities changes to the systems are expensive and take years to turn around. The vision must either be for the long-run or find a smart work around.

Challenge 3 – culture change

Some service visions require a significant change to the culture of an organisation. Elsewhere we tackle directly the importance of staff engagement but it is important to note that, like IT, cultures do not change overnight. Designs for future customer experience often need to consider future staff experience and work with then to explore how they can deliver the vision.

Challenge 4 – business support

Many a vision has initial buy-in but later flounders on the cold reality of business priorities. A watertight business case can fail to excite execs, a validated issue can run against the ego of a director who is just not interested. The more we know about these drivers and motivations the more our visions can prepare for the predictable reactions. But we doubt we will ever escape the impact of unforeseen events.

Challenge 5 – business capability

Perhaps this should have been the first challenge on the list. Some visions are beyond the capability of the organisation. Knowing what can and can’t be done is essential to the validity of the vision. Developing future scenarios based on customer insight but informed by what is an achievable extension of business capabilities is essential.

Starting with the tip of the iceberg

The future ‘to be’ scenarios that we create for a business and its customers are the essential starting point for any service transformation. Knowing the target is essential for alignment of effort. However, this is just the beginning – this vision must guide and respond to the journey that the organisation will take towards delivering on the vision.

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