Over the coming weeks and months, we’ll be focusing here on the topic of experience transformation. How do we transform the experiences we create – for our customers, users, citizens and the people within our organisations? And what role does technology play in helping us to reimagine the transformation opportunity in front of us all?
I'm really excited about the insights that will come together here over the weeks that follow, from our people and from our customers on their experience transformation journeys. We would love you to stay tuned, to join the conversation and, as always, to talk to us about where you are in your experience transformation evolution.
”First we needed to obsess about our customers. At the core of our business must be the curiosity and desire to meet a customer’s unarticulated and unmet needs with great technology. There is no way to do that unless we absorb with deeper insight and empathy what they need.” - Satya Nadella, Hit Refresh
You can read thoughts from our people here, and stay tuned – we have lots more insights from our people yet to come. I’ll open the floor with some of my thoughts on experience transformation…
What customer experience transformation trends and changes are you seeing in the market?
One of the big ones, driven in large part by market demand and customer expectation, is the concept of personalisation: how with the technology that is available today we can bring an experience to an individual that is highly impactful and more contextual than ever.
To truly achieve this, we need a deep understanding of the various personas that would exist in any experience situation and to then build solutions and applications that support the different types of people and the different expectations they have of their interactions with your organisation.
Where do organisations need to be focusing in their (technology-enabled) experience transformation journeys?
They need to be able to step back and approach their transformation opportunity as a blank sheet of paper rather than: This is how we do things today.
In too many instances, organisations start with, I have a process, how can I digitise it? Rather than, I have an opportunity, how can I bring that to life? To me, an organisation’s first focus needs to be on taking the opportunity to rethink and to reimagine the bounds of possibility.
Some of this impetus is forced by market change; things simply can’t be the same as they were 10 to 15 years ago. The whole way in which business gets done, the whole way in which individuals transact with organisations is different, and the experience they want is different.
And it’s important to note here too that we all have the opportunity to make this transformation. No organisation is exempt. Every business type, every industry is changing or will change, and those leaders who seize the opportunity are the ones that will do best. If we don’t reimagine the experience, someone else will.
Tell us about a client transformation journey you've worked on and how it has transformed the customer experience
The first one that comes to mind for me is the work we have done with Toyota New Zealand, and specifically, their campaign to transform the way cars are being purchased. This has involved getting a deep understanding of the personas of the car buyers and busting some of the long-held myths and barriers such as ‘haggling’ that exist within that car buying process in order to make the experience a more powerful, meaningful one for the customers themselves. To me, that is probably one of the ones where we have seen some of the biggest impacts on buying behaviour.
What was the key lesson?
I would say, again going back to the concept of personalisation, it’s being aware and understanding how much impact you can have on people’s perception of the brand that they’re buying from by the experience they receive.
For us, as a transformation ‘guide’ to organisations in this journey, we’ve got to be highly cognisant of just how impactful this focus on an individual’s experience can be. And that it’s our role to work with our customers to create this.
So, the lesson is very much around staying focused on customer need and keeping the customer experience top of mind at all times. If we constantly hold true to the guiding principle that technology is ultimately for and about people, it can really change the mindset in terms of what we’re trying to achieve and lead us to the greatest possible outcomes.
We often use the word reimagine. When true reimagination happens, and digital experience is done well, it can be completely transformational. And we’re seeing lots of examples of that around the world, for example in the taxi, travel and accommodation industries.
With Toyota New Zealand we have been able to play a role in helping them completely reimagine how the car buying process can work. It is pretty amazing to be involved with something like that.
Tip for getting started…
My number one tip would be: In any transformation opportunity always ask: what is the people impact?
It’s not thinking about technology. It’s thinking about people’s lives, what can change and what the barriers are to making that change.
The Toyota New Zealand project provides a classic example here – it focused on the myths associated with car buying and how these can be transformed into a positive experience for people. And none of that was about technology: it was about how people actually feel when they’re going to purchase a car. What are the things that people are concerned about when they are buying a car and how do you take those anxieties and concerns away?
Recommended reading resource/source of inspiration?
As our team talk about experience transformation over the coming weeks they will point to various readings. For me, I suggest you don’t go past Satya Nadella’s own book, Hit Refresh. It is an enlightening and inspiring look at Microsoft’s own process of reimagination, which is inextricably tied to a strong sense of purpose and guiding mission to help people everywhere to achieve more. What comes through most strongly for me in Hit Refresh is Nadella’s – and Microsoft’s – abiding focus on the human element and the transformational outcomes that can be achieved for people at an individual level. In Nadella’s words, “Humans build technology for other humans,” and the “raw ingredients” for the transformations happening all around us today are (or should be): “a set of principles based on the alchemy of purpose, innovation and empathy”.
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