Putting Customers at the Heart of Transformation

Business has always needed customers, but today they are impacting organizations more than ever before. Aligning a business’ transformation efforts with the needs of your customers and their entire journey will ensure the process of transformation is significantly more effective. To find out how and why customers should be put at the heart of process transformation, we spoke to Debashis Sarkar, the current managing partner of boutique consulting firm Proliferator Advisory & Consulting and internationally recognized name in customer-centricity and lean management. Debashis makes us aware of why customers are important in business, why they should be acknowledged in transformation and the issues organizations face when balancing robotic automation with the human touch.

Why customers are becoming more important in the Transformation Process:

Today, customers are seeking an experience, not just a product and that comes with demands and expectations. Customers don’t simply want to be treated as another person, they are beginning to demand that their unique needs are met by the companies they use. Examples of these demands range from, instant gratification to personalization and Debashis explains, ‘they also don’t mind punishing a company who don’t deliver what was promised, naming and shaming them on social media.’ Customers are almost entirely responsible for the reputation of a company, ensuring their needs are met guarantees that your company will remain at the top of its game. Therefore, transforming business processes to align with the needs of your customers ensures that their ever-growing demands and expectations are met.

"Even a single bad experience can negatively impact a customer's perception about a brand through the power of social media. Companies can no longer take customers for granted."
- Debashis Sarkar, Proliferator Advisory & Consulting

With customers holding the responsibility for your business’ reputation, nurturing a positive relationship ensures your reputation remains. A key example of this is when the launch of Uber significantly impacted the traditional taxi operators of Mumbai. The minimal number of taxi firms that survived only did so by maintaining a good relationship with the clients that they had previously served. Customers are vital to the survival and success of your business.

The Balance of Automation with the Human Touch:

Many organizations are facing challenges when balancing their technological needs, specifically automation, while also maintaining the human touch in their customer services. According to Debashis, robotics and automation are very important factors when transforming a business. ‘When processes are done by software robots,’ explains Debashis ‘they not only eliminate pain points but also deliver error free customer experience.’ Robotic process automation and Artificial Intelligence tools work brilliantly to make business processes effective, they minimize human error and can predict customer behavior, offer numerous ways to keep the customer engaged.

"Machines have a lot to offer which may not be obvious to us but we should know how and where to use them."
Debashis Sarkar, Proliferator Advisory & Consulting

However, while robotics can help to transform a business, the emotional needs of the customers are often lost in its processes and Debashis advises organizations to be wary about where they use these tools. Straight through processes may be automated, but processes requiring cognitive effort, managing expectations, building connection and addressing emotionally charged moments requires human to human interaction if you are to maintain a positive relationship with your customers.

This snippet of an interview feature comes from The Annual PEX Network Report 2018 that reports on the global state of process excellence throughout the past year. If you want to learn more about the current state of process excellence and read the entire document, download the full report here.