The state of the relationship between a company and its customers has changed. The power has shifted. The customer is in charge. But far too many organizations have failed to realize this and have, therefore, also failed to re-envision how they develop and deliver applications to meet modern customer’s expectations.

“Don’t they have an app to let me schedule this when it’s convenient for me?” I asked, exasperated.

“No. They’re a bit behind the times,” the life insurance agent replied apologetically.

I was trying to buy a new life insurance policy and was utterly dumbfounded at how difficult they had made the process.

It had started well. I was able to apply online using a slick and intuitive website.

The company, however, had only digitized the initial part of the application process — the sales part.  Everything else from the medical history review, to scheduling my health exam had to be done via a phone call — something that, given my schedule, is no easy task.

And, it has left me wondering whether this large insurance company is going to be able to deliver for me if, God forbid, I ever need the product I’m trying to purchase.

This slow, cumbersome, and non-digitized process has sent me back to the drawing board, looking for a better option. I realized that I have a massive amount of choices — and I’m going to exercise my power to choose one that works for me on my terms.

This is today’s state of the relationship between a company and its customers. The power has shifted. The customer is in charge. But far too many organizations have failed to realize this and have, therefore, also failed to re-envision how they develop and deliver applications to meet modern customer’s expectations.

At The Speed of the Experience

My unfortunate experience with this large insurance company exposes two flaws that many enterprises fall victim to as they embark on digital transformation efforts.

The first is that they equate the customer experience with just the point-of-sale — rather than the totality of interactions with the company and its partners.

Second, enterprises still mistakenly believe that they should prioritize these so-called customer-facing applications and that customers don’t care about the rest. These poor assumptions, however, are inhibiting digital transformation efforts.

The person conducting my medical history review was using an application to capture my information. Likewise, the person scheduling my health check was also using one.

So, why couldn’t I use those apps myself to handle this on my terms and at my convenience?

The first reason is that the organization undoubtedly developed those applications for internal use and they, therefore, most likely lack the interface and intuitiveness that a modern application requires. At the same time, those applications are almost certainly based on legacy architectures that are difficult to change and update.

These factors make exposing those applications externally — let alone re-envisioning the entire process and experience — a costly and time-consuming effort.

These factors then collide with outdated perceptions of customer expectations. Somewhere, an enterprise leader explained that customers preferred the human touch of a phone call and live interactions.

This assumption may be accurate for some people, but what customers really expect today is choice. They want to interact with a company on their terms and in ways that are convenient for them.

And if you can’t move fast enough or adapt quickly enough to keep up with their expectations, they’ll move on.

The Speed and Intelligence Equation

Meeting changing customer expectations, however, is about more than just creating new applications or updating old ones. It’s not that I had this desire to use another app — what I wanted was the ability to get what I needed as quickly and as conveniently as possible.

Without question, speed was part of that. I wanted this insurance company to focus on my needs and help me get this done as quickly as possible, rather than force me to work through its bureaucracy. But it’s also about more than speed — it’s about having insight into my desires and preferences and using those insights to deliver a better experience, whatever that means to me.

For instance, how different might my experience have been if rather than play phone tag for a week when it came time for my health check, they had used machine learning algorithms to create a profile which told them I worked from home and preferred to interact via email or chat.

Had they done so, I might have received an email that said:

“Hi, as you know, a health check is required to complete your life insurance application. We’re happy to come to you to complete it at your convenience. Would 10 am next Tuesday work for you? If so, click here to confirm. If not, you can use the following buttons to select a different time that works for you, select a time at a health center near your home, or to have one of our representatives contact you immediately via chat or phone to get your appointment scheduled.”

It all comes down to this: customers now expect you to make them the center of any interaction and to ensure that each such interaction is efficient and intuitive. When you interact with them, they expect speed and intelligence.

The Intellyx Take

There are many ways that organizations can tackle this problem, including adopting DevOps and deploying complex cognitive platforms.

One of the simplest and fastest ways, however, is by adopting no-code development platforms, such as BP Logix’s Process Director, which enables enterprises to rapidly develop, change, and modernize applications using intuitive, graphical interfaces — without coding.

Moreover, modern development platforms, such as Process Director, enable non-technical users to leverage artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning models in the same intuitive, no-code manner.

While making the technology more accessible is great, that’s not the real innovation. Adopting these types of platforms free enterprises from the captive grasp of their current application stack’s technical limitations — and allows them to look at every business process and customer interaction from a fresh perspective: the customer’s.

When enterprise leaders get this right, they will stop worrying about what they can and can’t do with their technology and will no longer make assumptions about customer expectations. Instead, they will simply ask themselves, “How can I make this process easier, faster, and more intuitive for my customer.”

That’s the winning question.

Copyright © Intellyx LLC. BP Logix is an Intellyx client. Intellyx retains full editorial control over the content of this paper.

This article was originally published on the BP Logix Blog.


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