Low-code in action: Two UK brands using "test and learn" to improve CX and reduce costs



Nigel Warren
11/09/2015

In last month’s Low-code corner article we explored the topic of experimentation. More specifically - when and how should you apply an experimental approach to process improvement? We deduced that lean start-up techniques such as "test and learn", were most relevant to "systems of engagement", the processes and system with which you win, serve and retain customers.
This month’s Low-code corner takes the theory and backs it up with real-life examples. We’ll examine two organisations that are experimenting with Low-code techniques across their systems of engagement to deliver customer experience (CX) improvements faster and cheaper – resulting in happier customers, in a fraction of the time normally taken for IT-powered initiatives.
But before we dive in, it’s worth clarifying what we mean by making customers happier, and how we plan to measure it. Providing a great customer experience is all about eliminating process waste, such as delays, errors, rework and unnecessary manual processing. By getting rid of these, we can serve customers better, faster and right first time round.
Some of the more common process wastes that infuriate customers include:
  • Being kept in the dark
  • Waiting in phone queues
  • Repeating security verifications multiple times
  • Having to explain the same stuff to different people
  • Not being able to resolve issues in a single interaction
It shouldn’t be a surprise that if we eliminate these wastes, we can reduce costs at the same time as improving CX. Yet, many people might assume that improving CX means lavishing more expense on customers, to provide a more deluxe level of service. Whereas in truth, many customers value frictionless service far more than getting a "cherry on top of the cake".
Here are two case studies of companies that are succeeding with a "test and learn" approach – and accelerating process improvement to make a real difference to their customers.

Thomas Cook Empowers Staff to Accelerate Customer Service

One company that’s used Low-code tools to optimise the test and learn approach is travel operator Thomas Cook Group. It wanted to reduce the time taken to resolve customer complaints, since its previous complaint-handling processes were siloed by different systems and processes.
You can imagine the fallout from these system siloes: Lack of communication, long times to resolution and overall customer frustration.
The problem wasn’t just for the customers though. Staff on the ground at Thomas Cook resorts also felt the pain as the existing processes did not empower them to resolve customer issues on the spot.
David Spickett, Thomas Cook’s Head of Lean, led a test and learn project to quickly design a new, web-based complaint-handling app that resort staff could use on mobile devices, to address customer issues swiftly on the day they arose.
To ensure the app met the needs of resort reps and customer services staff, Thomas Cook built a working prototype app quickly, allowing focus groups comprised of real users to trial the system and provide their feedback – fast.
Using the MATS Low-code development platform, Thomas Cook built a low-cost prototype of the proposed app in less than two months, without having to write any code at all. The app incorporated a "system feedback" button to enable users to provide their improvement suggestions directly into the app itself – helping Thomas Cook truly deliver on the promise of test and learn methodologies.
"Probably the fastest process and systems improvement project we’ve seen in the business."
- David Spickett, Head of Lean, Thomas Cook Group
Because MATS is a Low-code tool, any feedback received could be actioned quickly in its drag and drop interface, with no need for any programming.
The real proof of the app’s success has been in the impact on customer relations. Average complaint resolution time has dropped from 28 days to less than 7. So now the majority of issues are fully resolved before a customer travels home, meaning better holidays and happier customers, and far less workload for back-office customer relations staff.
To see how Thomas Cook did it, watch the video below:

Nationwide Building Society keeps Operating Costs Low and Service Levels High

Nationwide is another organisation that has been using the MATS Low-code platform to power its agile systems of engagement, as well as to develop case management systems and workflow apps.
Nationwide’s customers even receive current account alerts and savings rate change alerts thanks to MATS. That’s an important element of Nationwide’s customer-focused brand.
The company has been number one for customer satisfaction on the Financial Research Survey (FRS) for the past three years, and is consistently rated a top financial services provider on the high street by the UK Customer Satisfaction Index.
"We have an absolute passion for the customer; it’s baked into our DNA. But it takes more than attitude. It requires excellent processes and IT as well."
- Ian Thompson, Head of Customer Operations, Nationwide Building Society
Nationwide’s Low-code CX apps accelerate service, while reducing operating costs. Each automated customer communication (whether by Email, SMS or Tweet reply) potentially eliminates an unnecessary phone call, saving customer – and agent time. The result? Superior customer service at lower cost.
To see how Nationwide uses Low-code, watch the video below:

Test and Learn in Action

As these two case studies prove, Low-code techniques don’t just "work" in practice; they actively enable forward-thinking organisations to transform customer service processes, reduce costs and make customers happier.
So what’s stopping you from embracing Low-code? And what elements of your customer service processes would most benefit? I’d love to hear your thoughts below.