Roxanne has been working at their financial services company for almost a decade, but for her, this year was the highlight of her career. She kicked off their company’s digital transformation project, which aims to make their firm customer-centric –– and this was the topic of interest during their company’s annual conference.
“Congratulations, to our very outstanding CMO!” said Jon, their CTO.
“Thanks, Jon! It was a team effort. Actually, I should be thanking you for the great insights you shared with me,” said Roxanne.
“No problem. But it wasn’t easy, was it?” asked Jon.
Jon was right. Roxanne could clearly recall everything that they went through to jumpstart their digital transformation.
The turning point
It all started with an angry customer.
They normally received various customer complaints such as bounced checks, loan concerns, and account issues. But they confidently handled them using their conventional approaches –– until an angry customer posted online about her disappointment in how their firm handled an issue.
The client went on an extended rant about how she’s planning to leave the bank because she felt neglected. What’s worse was that the customer service representatives she had reached out to could not address her complaint –– she had to discuss the matter over and over again with every agent. She wrote emails but she only received machine-generated responses.
Because their company didn’t have official social media accounts back then, it took them days before they found out about the angry customer’s posts. They learned about it from an employee who happened to stumble on the post using his personal social media account.
At first they thought that it was just a common, manageable customer issue. But the post became viral and several other customers also voiced out their sentiments regarding the bad experiences they had with the company.
It was a critical matter that needed to be addressed both immediately and from a long-term perspective.
Roxanne arranged a meeting to discuss how they can best address the issue and mitigate future risks.
“What are you suggesting, Roxanne?” asked Bob, their CEO.
“It’s about time that we enable a full omnichannel experience for our customers,” said Roxanne.
“We need to provide them with a seamless experience – and we can only do that if we retire our traditional customer relationship strategies. I’m looking at ways to ensure that we can respond to their queries in near real-time, reach out to them via different platforms, give them a consistent experience, and engage them across their journey from start to finish to ensure their loyalty and satisfaction.”
“I agree with what Roxanne is proposing,” said Jon. “Having a contact center and a company website is not enough. We need to become fully digital. For one, we should roll out a mobile app that our customers can use to access and manage their accounts. Let’s offer them the digital experience they want –– engage them whenever, wherever they need us.”
“Usually, customers churn not because of the issues with their accounts itself but because of their bad experiences with our customer service,” said Roxanne.
“But why should we turn to digital transformation when we can simply hire better sales and customer service representatives?” asked Travis, their COO.
“Correct,” agreed Jim, their CFO. “Are you suggesting we use robots to navigate all our business processes?”
“Jim, the digital transformation project we have in mind is not as full-blown as that. Well, maybe someday we might need a total revamp like that but for now, let’s just focus on how we can improve our customer service by reinventing our model,” replied Jon.
“That’s right, Jon,” said Roxanne. “We just need to arm our employees with technologies that can allow them to seamlessly access customer data. We need to break the information silos that hinder them from providing our customers excellent service. We have to empower them to obtain a 360-degree view of our customers.
“Digital transformation can allow us to become a customer-centric organization and cater to the needs of our tech-savvy, always-connected customers. I’d like to share with you reports and industry surveys about how customer centricity through digital transformation helps early adopters successfully deliver more value to their customers, improve their revenues, and minimize costs.”
In the end, Roxanne successfully convinced them to move forward with digital transformation. But this was just the beginning of a complex digital transformation journey.
The missing link
They started building and buying technologies for their digital transformation project. They launched e-services and e-portals to more effectively engage customers, particularly the ahead-of-the-curve clients. But these initiatives failed to completely give customers a full omnichannel experience.
“It’s hard to keep up, Jon. Customers are turning to non-traditional financial services like Apple Pay and Google Wallet. And I can’t believe that despite our efforts, our customers still find something to complain about our customer service,” said Roxanne.
“Actually, I’ve been evaluating our digital transformation efforts and I realized that we are doing it wrong,” said Jon.
“What do you mean? I believe our focus is right –– our customers.”
“There’s nothing wrong with our focus,” replied Jon. “But we are concentrating too much on digitizing just our customer relationship management –– and that won’t make us fully digital. If we really want to become a fully digital, customer-centric organization, then we should do it holistically.”
“And how are we going to do that?” asked Roxanne.
“We should integrate all our business elements, processes, and workflows vertically and horizontally into a synergistic system,” said Jon. “We need to make sense of and put our data to work not only for improving our marketing and customer relationship management but for our end-to-end business processes. Our digital transformation initiative resulted in an overwhelming amount of data being generated every single day –– and we don’t even know how to fully harness it.”
“Aren’t our newly implemented data analytics capabilities enough?” asked Roxanne.
“Poor data collection and ingestion can result in poor insights generation and decision making,” replied Jon.
“So what exactly are you proposing, Jon?” asked Roxanne.
“In the next phase of our digital transformation project, let’s focus our systems integration on how to enable truly seamless data access and exchange across the entire value web to help our team understand our customers better and provide them with customized interactions and experiences,” said Jon.
“That makes sense,” replied Roxanne. “I remember, our sales team reported that they’re having difficulties recommending appropriate financial products to prospects and retaining existing customers. They expected our digital transformation efforts to also modernize their approach. Aside from that, I noticed that we are now being flooded with unstructured data and our ESB middleware cannot handle new data formats.”
“You’re right,” said Jon. “One of our options is to add bolt-on solutions to our legacy systems. But according to reviews, that approach can be counterproductive and go against our digital transformation goals. But the good news is, our consultant introduced iPaaS to me. He said iPaaS offers a modern approach to integration in that it supports cloud integrations and offers a self-service model.”
“Sounds good. Let’s bring that up in our next meeting,” said Roxanne.
The blind spot
The Board agreed to implement iPaaS. Months later, they saw a significant improvement in their data management and customer engagement, which made them believe that they got the right middleware solution for their digital transformation project. But little did they know that they were about to face another serious problem.
A week after the conference, Roxanne received a meeting invitation from their CISO.
“A data breach incident!?” exclaimed Roxanne when she saw the invitation.
(To be continued.)
Digital transformation should be approached holistically. At Liaison, we help our clients become fully digital and customer-centric by providing a cloud-based data integration platform that provides a blanket solution to data management. Contact a data expert to learn more.