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21/05/2019

True transparency: Why exposing internal processes to your customers pays off

One common mistake businesses make is creating processes based on internal convenience, without enough consideration for external usability. It’s time to get rid of legacy processes that maintain silos and prevent your company from providing excellent service to your customers.

Time to achieve genuine customer-centricity

‘Customer-centric’ is the buzzword of the century. Every modern business aims for it. However, when creating processes, businesses tend to make decisions based on what is easier in internal terms. This approach creates and maintains silos, which makes it a struggle to create great customer experiences.

Customer-centricity pays off, but only if it is achieved by truly putting the customer’s needs and expectations first — even when you are developing processes that seem internal. Legacy processes that can seem justifiable internally, most probably seem incomprehensible to your customers.

Here is an example: having different systems for sales, marketing and customer service processes may seem practical within the organization — each team only needs access to their own system, right? However, different platforms for finding information (your website), making an order (e-commerce) and getting support (helpdesk) means jumping from one platform or channel to another at the customer’s end. Not even with goodwill can this be considered either customer-centric or excellent customer service.

Needed: a courageous shift in mindset

The path to truly valuable customer experiences is to achieve a mindset where the organization starts thinking from the customer’s perspective. In the past you might have wondered: how would our employees easily execute this process? Next time, try changing your approach to: how would our customers like to experience this?

Companies aim to have great customer experience, but it is easy to get lost on the way. The soil for great customer experience is in transparent and connected internal processes and building the customer experience on top of that foundation on the very same platform.

Some companies might see this as a threat. Could it be bad for the business? Could transparency towards customers harm the company in some way?

Fear not: you will get more than you give

For some companies it might seem like a radical idea, but exposing internal processes to your customers really does pay off. Here is why:

  • It saves time for your employees (and customers, too). It’s more productive to request a customer’s information directly through your online platform than gathering crucial information over the phone.
  • It’s convenient. Customer satisfaction will increase, as solving problems is quicker and easier online. Imagine a complicated situation: on-the-go instructions on a call might not help to solve a problem, but a how-to video would have better results without any contact with customer service.
  • It enables crowdsourcing. Building an online community for your business can turn into an information goldmine when customers start sharing valuable information that can help develop products, businesses, and processes.
  • It’s a controlled environment. Transparency means sharing crucial information, but it doesn’t mean giving full control to customers.
  • It makes measuring success easier. Measuring customer experiences and satisfaction is easy when you have data and it is coherent and usable for this purpose. Compare this to a situation where your customer data comes from different channels or systems.

Every business and product has unique processes that can be turned into digital transparency, which can bring a fresh glow to customer experiences. These points only scratch the surface of the hidden potential in exposing internal processes to your customers. What would your customer or partner experience be if the customer related processes were connected and exposed?

Antti Katajamäki

Practice Lead - Community Cloud

Fluido

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