You only get one chance to make a first impression – or, so the saying goes. In the modern business world, the saying couldn’t be more apt. A customer’s earliest engagement with a company sets the tone for the future. Many organisations are pouring huge amounts of energy and investment into these customer interactions.
It’s where customer relationships are won or lost, built or broken, says Shaun Dicker, head of Operations at Intervate, a T-Systems company.
Smart Process Applications (SPAs) improves every aspect of customer engagements. And remember, a customer can also be an internal staff member that needs to get a task done within their own company! SPAs encompasses any form of business process interaction – such as opening a new municipal account, enquiring about a service, apply for leave, or submitting an expense claim. The customer captures and verifies the information on the device of their choice, and is then kept informed as a request makes progress through the organisation via automated business processes.
The reality is that these early customer engagements can become complex and time consuming. Having the right SPAs helps to contain costs, and relinquishes staff from tedious administrative tasks – allowing them to focus on delivering excellent customer experiences. This allows organisations to handle greater numbers of customer interactions with the same resources, as well as improving accuracy throughout the process, and providing a better service to the customer.
What customers want
SPAs means organisations can respond to the demands of the modern customer. Today, people expect to be able to engage with companies anytime, anywhere, and from any device. Of course, this can only happen ‘within reason’, but those organisations that open up many doors to their digital businesses – using social and mobile channels in particular – will be rewarded by seeing more incoming traffic through those doors.
Customers expect not only fast response times, but also quality engagements that actually get problems solved with limited hassles and hand-offs in the process. They look for personalised and intuitive experiences. Fortunately SPAs helps to speed up processes and improve these experiences. For example, they automatically detects data inconsistencies or missing information, and sends a request back to the customer. It accepts information in almost any format imaginable – from scanned documents, to photos, videos, online forms, email, fax, or physical paper documents delivered to a branch.
Following the extraction phase, information is transformed into a format that can be codified and plugged into the organisation’s business processes. The right software also enables information to be ‘enhanced’ (metadata added, photographs improved, spelling errors corrected, etc.).
As organisations embrace Smart Process Applications, we generally find that they progress along a four-stage journey. The first phase is essentially digitising paper-based records that improves document retention and fulfils compliance requirements, but there is no flow of this information into any business process.
The second phase sees organisations streamlining and connecting their business processes – meaning that data is handled in a smoother way. In the third phase the organisation looks to increase customer intimacy by opening up new channels of engagement, providing higher-quality interactions, and ensuring that all customer engagements are solved via end-to-end processes that work well.
The final phase – total enterprise agility – sees organisations redefining the way customer engagements are handled. Customer interactions originate from anywhere, and progresses through the organisations business processes; and information gathered during the engagement is used to build customer databases, change the way processes are handled, and provide a more personalised experience to the customer next time.
In this way, the analytics engine of the Smart Process Application links up with the organisation’s broader business intelligence – providing real-time monitoring and optimising of business processes, and providing rich customer data. With strong technology underpinning the organisation’s digital transformation, it is possible to make the customer experience a delightful one that stimulates positive emotions from the word go.