Customer experience, Featured

Shhh. Transformation… don’t kid ourselves

I’d really like a pound for every transformation project I hear about. It seems that just about everybody is on the bandwagon, there’s obviously a lot of transformation to be done. At the heart of these programmes is the fundamental need to change – and to change quickly.

Not a day goes by without multiple chest-beating case studies citing another piece of AI, Bot, drone, future soon to revolutionise the world tech. From the outside it can appear that everyone is playing catch up. These brands have gone through this transformation and can now focus on this other worldly services. It’s a great story if you believe the hype at the conferences.

But in reality, many businesses are not transformed, they have a new website or app and nothing changes in the internal culture or experience of being a customer. If you dare to pull out the transformation rhetoric, be prepared for some big eye-rolling from businesses. Rightly so.

I’m a big fan of planning customer experience. Yes I mean customer, not prospects. It’s an area still considered by many to be a cost or plain old boring. The glossy side is still rooted in the murky world of marketing – everything to get the customer to part with their money then being dropped off a cliff. But this is the prime area for transformation, one where by providing better experiences for customers they’ll continue to buy more things.

Not so joined-up

In February this year I decide to update my car, a new one just seemed out of reach with a possible house move on the horizon. After the usual short listing process I (actually my wife, we know who is in charge here) decided on a Mini Countryman, that was 6 months old. The deal was done. Straight away I downloaded the multiple apps – I still can’t figure out why Mini have multiple ‘Connected’ apps, they seem similar yet different. 

The first job was to register myself as the new owner – using my email address. Just four weeks later I received a marketing email with ‘great offers’ in their pre-Easter sale for pretty much the same car I had purchased. Err did they not realise I had a Mini parked outside my home? No. Because this was from a retailer group and it’s clear they did not have access to the Mini HQ customer database. That’s quite frustrating at best.

Oh so digital isn’t your thing

Now fast forward to October, we received a letter, yes actual paper for an ‘Important vehicle safety recall’. The first thing is to acknowledge the negative emotion – is this thing safe? It says it may result in a risk of fire. Apparently if the work has been carried out I can ignore it. Now I’m not giving BMW a hard time over this, I’m sure all other manufacturers are in the same camp, but if they have done a decent job of their transformation (yes for an actual customer) then maybe I would feel better about it rather than now stressing about driving a potential fireball.

Looking at the experience, there’s a number of areas where digital could have made this better:

  1. Email – send me a note or alert in the app – any one of the three I have
  2. Action – show me the status that it’s awaiting, so I don’t have to find out
  3. Work – show me a video explaining what will be done and reassure me it won’t explode!
  4. Location – you know my address, so please use it for my nearest retailers, don’t make me go find one
  5. Slots – show the next available slots so I can simply book it and get on with a range of choices eg pick-up and drop-off

It’s time for businesses to do the basics well, use digital to make things easier and stop trying to constantly impress us with marketing fanciness. I don’t know whether I would call this type of service Transformation, but for now the phone doesn’t seem to be going away.

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