Optimizing Customer Journeys Critical for Digital Transformation Success

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I have been keen on what’s happening in Kenya’s tech scene, in particular digital transformation initiatives centred around making life easier for taxpayers accessing government services. One such announcement caught my eye recently, an article stating that the Central Bank of Kenya launched a mobile app for bond trading. The catch was that that one had to visit a branch or a currency centre to register.

I found this a bit of a hassle, considering the other government led mobile bond solution M-Akiba didn’t require a visit to any physical office for registration. So why did CBK still insist in the physical visit? Well, in reality, they simply digitized the existing bond trading platform and did not bother to address the customer experience aspects for the rest of the process i.e. registration.

As the role of digital is increasing in every company, most services today are enabled by IT. Automation typically refers to the use of technology to perform a step or series of steps correctly and consistently with limited or no human intervention. Removing human involvement results in significant gains in efficiency and effectiveness, which can result in business value in terms of new or improved revenues or reduced costs.

Before automating a process, it is recommended that optimization is carried out. This involves mapping the current (As-Is) process, identifying inefficiencies and wastes that can be eliminated, then drawing the new (To-Be) process for digitization. Without optimization, chances are high that the same issues that plague the process or value stream might be carried over despite moving to a digital platform.

Walking the customer journey is an integral part of optimization when it comes to understanding the As-Is and To-Be states. According to the ITIL 4 publication, a customer journey is defined as the complete end-to-end experience that service consumers have with one or more service providers and/or their products through the touchpoints and service interactions with these service providers.

Identifying these touchpoints and moments of truths requires one to not only consult with the customer but more importantly to become the customer and walk the journey yourself. Therein lies the opportunity to discover wastes such as travel, delays, unnecessary paperwork, handoffs and multiple bureaucratic levels of approval that require elimination before or through digitization.

Changing the business operating model is at the heart of digital transformation. And customer experience is the best measure of whether or not value has been achieved for those who are consuming these digitized services. Developing customer journey maps, identifying personas that represent customer journeys, and drawing scenarios of different contexts are all valuable techniques that can draw insights of how the customer goes through the phases from exploration to onboarding and finally value realization.

Without taking the time and effort to carry out these exercises, chances are high that your digital end product will continue to carry forward the inefficiencies and drawbacks that turn people off from taking up your product or choosing a competitor.

Joseph Nduhiu is Global Best Practice Consultant & Trainer @josephnduhiu

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