It is oft-repeated that “CUSTOMER is the King.”
But is it so for most businesses? Have you recently upgraded your customer experience game?
The Gradual Shift in Focus: Are Enterprises Doing Enough for Customers?
Digital transformation has been on the cards for some time now for organizations, and the pandemic just accelerated it. The model for doing business changed, and the way we look at customer experience and servicing became more empathetic.
Until late 2019, a major Indian bank promoted its account opening services through a television commercial showcasing a well-known Indian actor. The commercial depicted the actor flying a kite, and a bank agent onboards him at his home for a new CASA account. There is no branch visit for handing over documents and zero hassle for the newly onboarded customer. This gave birth to agency-based banking. A revolutionary way of onboarding customers, not just for the bank but the entire banking industry! This was further extrapolated to a virtual debit card issued within minutes for the customer to start transacting online.
However, the pandemic necessitated banks to rethink agency and branch-based banking models. People could neither visit the branch nor let any agent into the house! And as history is replete with examples, necessity is the mother of all invention.
The need for a change in the business model demanded changes in the regulatory framework. Banking regulators globally relooked at the most critical event for onboarding a customer, the KYC. They put forth an innovative way of onboarding customers from the comfort of their homes. The erst-while mandatory in-person branch visit for KYC was done away with and was overtaken by video and electronic KYC process.
In the e-KYC process, the customer expresses interest in getting a CASA account, loan, or, say, a credit card. A bank executive gets in touch with the customer and asks them to fill out a form and schedule an appointment. A video call happens where the executive verifies the customer’s national ID documents, matches the customer with the photo on the ID card, and validates that it is not an image or animation. Subsequently, the customer gets onboarded. As simple as that!
Akin to the banking industry, digital onboarding also became commonplace for several other sectors. In the telecom industry, customers can buy a new sim online. The entire process has been made so transparent that customers can choose their number as well. Once the sim is issued, the KYC is done virtually and delivered to the customer’s doorstep.
The efficiency, intent, regulations, logistics, and the entire ecosystem are coordinated to make the onboarding happen within minutes.
So, the question arises, if business innovation is at its peak, then what’s the contention here?
The Need for Organizations to Retrain their Focus on Customer Experience
In the entire narration of the progress in customer experience and onboarding, one key detail merits attention.
The term “customer” is also synonymously used for leads and prospects. All the innovations in the onboarding process help make lead and prospect conversion frictionless across devices. If a prospect abandons the journey midway, strategies are in place to entice them back.
On the other hand, how does the journey unfolds once the lead/prospect becomes a customer?
Suppose a bank customer asks for an additional product. The bank’s existing processes do not differentiate between prospects or customers. And that’s where the nightmare begins for the customer! The customer is asked to resubmit all forms and documents for verification, saying loud and clear that the bank doesn’t know its customers! And, of course, the customer would walk away to a competitor who offers personalized services. For customer loyalty, the bank needs to differentiate its services for the customers for effective cross-sell and upsell.
The Current State of Customer Experience
Several research studies have amplified the thought that customer experience, satisfaction, and retention bring huge benefits in acquisition cost and getting market leadership. These studies also highlight how a negative word of mouth can deteriorate market position and affect brand image. According to a recent Deloitte Digital survey, while rational factors play a key role at the beginning and end of relationships, it is the emotional factors that inspire brand loyalty.
While organizations ideally want to work towards customer experience and value creation, they focus on prospects and leads as described above. The pandemic highlighted the gap further. The strategies (driven by panic) showcased that the customer is way down the value chain than prospects and new business. A majority of strategic steps taken by businesses during the pandemic addressed new customer onboarding needs rather than servicing existing customers.
The Case for Customer Experience Across Processes and Industries
The bank could have easily averted the imbroglio with the customer by linking accounts, centralizing documents, and having a differentiated strategy for delivering a better customer experience.
Few scenarios that prove enterprises have been treating prospects as kings while not doing enough for customers:
- Despite e-KYC and banks transitioning to core banking systems from total banking automation systems, customers still need to visit the branch for the slightest of services, including closing an account, making a dormant account active
- In the telecom industry as well, once a customer is onboarded and has procured a new sim, services go for a toss for subsequent requests like sim replacement. Customers need to visit the branch, resubmit ID proofs, and a plethora of other formalities to get the sim replaced!
These are just a few scenarios where customer experience has gone for a toss. While the REGTECH war continues, the customers are the worst hit.
The panacea for poor customer experience lies in extending the same level of servicing across all engagements and touchpoints as onboarding for prospects.
Digital transformation today mostly veers around the onboarding processes. For real and faster digital transformation and improved customer experience, enterprises need to tie the front end with the back end. They must tie the customer experience, operational excellence, and business innovation into a combined force. And these have to be done quickly to adapt to the ever-changing business scenarios.
Betting on Hyperautomation
Digital acceleration is becoming synonymous with hyperautomation. A host of technologies, such as app development, automation, data science, and integration tools, all come together to deliver a holistic customer experience, enhance operational excellence, and enable continuous innovation.
In conclusion, with the COVID settling in as a reality, organizations have started to rethink their customer experience strategy with a digital-first approach. They have realized that they need to think beyond the onboarding process and extend the exceptional experience to servicing customers. This would entail relooking at the regulatory frameworks, adopting technology like hyperautomation tools, and creating a difference in service. And that’s the path to ensuring that the CUSTOMER is still the King and customer experience is top-notch!
Download the eBook to understand how hyperautomation helps you deliver a superior customer experience while continually improving with speed in all areas of your business.