Putting the Customer at the Centre of Technology Design
In this issue of the Abtran Service Exchange, Kabir Vaderaa, Chief Architect at Abtran, offers his insight into designing technology solutions that put the customer at the centre for a great service experience.
At Abtran, putting the customer at the heart of the design process begins with taking the time to listen and to really understand the customer needs.
Enabling a customer to securely engage on their preferred channels, such as Self-service, Mobile, Social, Chat, Voice, Email, Post or even Face-to-face is key. Where possible, there should be consistency across the channels to perform the same actions.
It’s important to note that different customers want different things. For example, I would prefer to self-serve entirely and rate companies on how they deliver that service to me. Others may prefer more traditional models like talking to someone. Therefore, the technology must deliver across all channels seamlessly.
There has been a massive shift over the last few years on companies realising that a good customer experience leads to long-term customer and referral business. Some of this shift was driven by the downturn in the market. The explosion of social media and the impact customers can have on brand, has truly focused companies around the truth that looking after the customer is vital to their organisation and their brand.
In this modern era where most customers expect immediate response, organisations can only deliver such quality of service with technology that enables both their business and customer service centres.
This also means becoming more connected internally as well as externally. Designing technology solutions cannot be done in a vacuum. It requires a customer-led approach from all relevant stakeholders.
At Abtran, we apply practice-based customer management consulting. This means we use our experience to design and then practically deliver solutions that connect people, process and technology.
For instance, when designing technology applications, we bring together our Service Design and User Experience (UX) teams from the outset. We leverage our 20 years’ experience with the customer, making sure we streamline and improve business processes. We also understand that this journey never ends and will constantly evolve.
Making it easy for Employees
When it comes to designing customer-led technology solutions, it’s critical to empower the people closest to your customer – that’s your front line staff.
This is about giving Customer Service Advisors the applications and tools to access the data they need without having to switch forth and back across multiple systems.
Most organisations have invested heavily in systems like billing, on-line self-service, case management and back-office applications. Many of these technologies were developed and implemented over a period of time and it’s not uncommon for them to be held across different parts of the organsiation.
Integrated CX Design – A Pragmatic Approach
Designing a customer led experience can be an opportunity to take a more pragmatic, (and often less expensive), approach by evaluating your existing technology and then designing applications or interfaces that connect customer information in a compliant, consistent and streamlined way.
This will in turn help your employees to interact more efficiently whilst delivering a better, more connected service experience to the customer.
Technology applications that are designed with the customer front of mind are likely to drive internal process improvement, better productivity and a more joined-up and efficient service experience for the customer.
In an ever-changing market where customers continue to engage and connect at different levels, the goal is to be agile, to listen and to connect around the customer. It’s to realise that customer-centric technology design is a journey – not a destination.