Gerard du Toit: Digital Customer Experience



Companies are competing for customers with not only the quality of the product, but also with the quality of the experience. Increasingly, customers want those experiences to be simple and digital. Gerard du Toit, a partner in the Customer Strategy & Marketing practice, shares how the "customer experience factory" can transform legacy organizations by helping them achieve scalable change and win in the digital world.

Related Brief: Simple and Digital

Read the transcript below.

GERARD DU TOIT: Business is increasingly realizing that there's a new world where experience is a new product and time is a new price. And what I mean by that is, companies are competing for customers based on the quality of the experience, not just the quality of the product. And customers increasingly gauge the quality of their experience by how long it takes for them to get what they're trying to do or get to the purpose that they're looking for.

The key to be able to win in this new world is to make the experiences simple and digital. To make them really easy. And, increasingly, by digital, that means delivered on a mobile device, so it can be anywhere, anytime, quick, easy and simple. And the payoff for doing that is a triple-play. Not only do you get more satisfied, loyal customers, higher NPS scores, [customers who] stick around longer, come back for more, recommend [you to] their friends and promote you on social media, you also get more-engaged employees because their job becomes easier. It's less operational processing, less rework, less solving problems. It's more actually helping customers and being oriented around making it easier for them.

If you tackle it in that order, the costs drop as the third part of the triple-play, because there isn't so much rework; there isn't so much human involvement in getting the job done. If the triple-play is compelling, most businesses get that. They know that they need to move to a simple, digital rewiring of their old ways of doing things. It's not so much the what, but it's the how that's difficult.

And it's easier to do it just as a one-off. You can take the new customer onboarding experience, tackle that, and make it better. But doing it across all the different customer experiences, across all your channels and all your markets if you're global, and especially if you're also in a regulated environment, is really hard to do at scale for a legacy organization [that's transitioning] to a simple and digital way of doing things.

What we've found is, the key to this is what we call the customer-experience factory. And it may sound a little old-school to call it a factory when we're talking about digital, but the point is, it's about doing it at scale in a production environment so you can manage the volume of all the different experiences, redesign them, and then continuously improve them.

The key to the factory is really two things. First, breaking it down by the end-to-end experiences or episodes that matter to the customer and organizing, defining, and labeling those clearly. Second, it's about having Agile teams organized [around] those experiences and owning them. For an Agile team, it's not just the software development that's Agile. That's a part of it. But it actually goes to the entire experience.

[Agile team members are] also responsible for the in-store experience. They are responsible for the human interactions, the policy, the process, the operations, and legal compliance. So it truly needs to be a cross-functional team that's tackling this on a persistent basis. It's not just a one-off. It's continuous improvement based on data and feedback from customers as to what's working and what isn't.

When companies are able to organize their customer-experience factory this way, it really breaks through in terms of their ability to make change at scale and at pace in a way that allows them to win in this new world where experience is the new product and time is the new price.