Closing the Gaps in Customer Experience: Every Detail Counts

Delivering a great customer experience is vital for modern businesses. Where should decision-makers start?

by Gregor Kolk

posted on 08-30-2018

What do we mean by customer experience? Broadly speaking, it refers to the customer journey and the interaction of consumers with a business. Every little detail can make a huge difference on this journey. Of course, we know this from our own experience as consumers and businesspeople when purchasing products and making business decisions. The small things matter, such as the accessibility of a customer brochure or the functionality of a banking onboarding form. Get these wrong, and there is potential to push customers toward the competition.

The idea of customer experience has been much discussed. Marketing experts have focused on discussing the concept for more than a decade. Publications such as the Harvard Business Review’s “Understanding Customer Experience” have reinforced the idea that customer experience is a vital differentiator in an increasingly competitive environment.

What is the perfect customer experience?

What “Understanding Customer Experience” has shown is that many businesses approach this with an ineffective “silo mentality.” There can be a tendency to believe that each business department should consider its own interests and create its own experience, without taking into account the views of other departments. Unfortunately, in the modern digital era, this approach simply does not work.

Fortunately, businesses are realizing that a harmonized, holistic approach to customer journeys is far more beneficial. Tools such as Customer Journey Mapping and the Net Promoter Score enable businesses to analyze and optimize their customer experiences more effectively and enthusiastically.

Certainly, significant progress has been achieved in creating and delivering effective customer journeys. However, a recent survey conducted by Capgemini revealed that while 75 percent of organizations believe themselves to be customer-centric, only 30 percent of consumers agree. Clearly, there is some way to go before we can call the business landscape truly customer-centric. Fortunately, digital tools are providing an answer.

Boosting the customer experience through digitalization

Fortunately, there is good news in the form of the digital transformation. The shift toward digital platforms is creating new opportunities for identifying problems in customer journeys and building a more engaging and effective customer experience.

For an example of small changes making a huge difference, just look at the insurance industry. Historically, key processes have been paper-based, despite customers tending to search for information about insurance products online. The industry has only recently started to respond to these behavioral changes, creating a consistent digital experience that digitizes every single step of a commercial process.

Provinzial NordWest, Germany’s second-largest insurance group, opted for this unified approach, with significant success. Our recent blog post explored how embracing modern document technologies has boosted productivity and deepened customer relationships.

Provinzial NordWest has a decentralized structure, which involves regional insurance companies advising customers and preparing contractual documents. In the past, approval processes could take up to seven weeks, as signatures were needed from various business departments.

Thanks for the power of digital signatures, Provinzial NordWest has digitized these processes using Adobe Sign. Now processing takes just a couple of days, enhancing productivity significantly, and drastically improving the customer experience.

Customer experience is a top management priority

What Provinzial NordWest’s experience demonstrates is that businesses need to realize that every single small detail is actually critical to the overall customer experience. Every step of a process and interaction can affect the customer journey, either directly or indirectly.

While many businesses are taking steps to eliminate the most visible customer experience disruptions over the last few years, it’s crucial that customer centricity is taken a step further. Optimizing internal workflow processes can make a huge difference. What’s more, digital solutions can make business processes far more consistent and smooth.

Our recent 2018 Digital Trends report, based on a global survey of respondents and conducted in association with Econsultancy, found that optimizing the customer experience was a top priority for the 12,795 business professionals surveyed. Clearly, there is an appetite from consumers and employees for more sophisticated digital processes. Let’s follow the lead of Provinzial NordWest and get started.

Topics: Digital Transformation, Personalization

Products: Sign, Acrobat, Document Cloud