Having worked in business transformation roles for over 15 years working across financial services, start-ups and software companies, it is apparent that there are a few simple steps to ensure success, which sometimes go unnoticed.
When it comes to ERP or business transformation, one of the critical elements for success is to ensure you know whom you are changing for and why you are changing. If it isn’t for your customers, you should probably question why you are changing. As for the why, how have you identified this, and do you understand what your customer needs?
There are three simple truths when it comes to business transformation.
You have to understand if you are a want or a need.
I have worked in many companies who are trying to create a want in customers when they are a needs-based product/service/process. As an example, I have worked for a variety of accounting software companies, and all of them talked about creating a desire to buy. I remember, standing up at one annual conference and declaring “the reality is no one wants our product” it was certainly an attention grabber after all I was Head of Sales. What I went on to explain is that we weren’t a want based product unless you are an accountant you don’t go into business with a desire to do your accounts. It is a necessity, not a passion, therefore what you will value is being able to complete the task with the minimum effort or time.
- You don’t decide what’s value add, your customer does.
If they don’t value it, they won’t pay for it. I have seen over the year’s companies talking about the value-add elements of their product or service. Unfortunately, they often identify these new elements by looking at competitors or talking with business partners, who can be clouded in judgement by their proximity to the product/service/process. Customers, however, aren’t so sector-specific, they look at the experiences they have across all elements of their life and compare everything against their best experience. We don’t say oh all banks are the same; we say why can I get a fantastic experience from Amazon and yet my bank can’t do x or y. Customers are human beings, and we are programmed to base our decisions on emotion and then justify them through logic.
- You won’t know what your customers think unless you ask them.
The only real way to understand what’s important to your customer is to ask them. You can do this in a variety of ways: Voice of the Customer surveys, reviewing your quality scores, looking at your complaints and f you have it reviewing your NPS (net promoter score) are all rich sources of data, but nothing beats a customer forum. I held one for a recently for a company I was working with on their acquisition process. We got 12 customers in to review our existing app and our design for the new app to get their insight. It was an invaluable exercise and allowed us to make significant changes that ensured it was extremely successful at launch. The trick was we didn’t just invite our existing customers to the forum it was a mix of actual customers, and potential customers, those who had started the journey in the app but had not progressed to be a customer. By doing this, we had a more comprehensive understanding of what had stopped people becoming customers and enabled us to address that too.
What was the result?
As a result of understanding these truths and having asked our customers (actual and potential), we were able to design a product which appealed to a broader audience. It gave us a blueprint of what was essential to our customers.
When we launched the new process, our customer satisfaction increased, and so did our customer base.
Not only were our customers happy, so were our colleagues as they didn’t have sell the product customers wanted to buy it, and they didn’t have to handle unhappy customers frustrated by our process. A real win-win.