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DX2019: Less digital. More experience.

If we took anything away from DX2019 in March it’s that we need to stop focusing on technology, and put experience at the heart of everything. This may sound like digital experience 101, but it’s surprising how easy it can be get bogged down on the tech, the project, the implementation. So it was really encouraging to hear some of the stories and transformations people have undertaken over the past year. And with that, here a selection of the top takeaways from the conference.
Michael Howard

Your tools aren’t to be blamed

Imagine landing your dream job in the company you’ve always wanted to work for - the one that everyone thought that would be the cream of the cream. Only for you to walk in find a stone age-equivalent technology environment. This is what happened to Tom Cochran. Did it put him off? Not one bit.

With no WiFi, mobile phones, 82% of their tech being nearly a decade old, emails only working 75% of the time, yet somehow still having a tech budget of $25,000 USD per employee, Tom proved that you can deliver a great experience for your customers no matter what tech stack you have. With the right people and partners engaged, you can get results with CRT monitors, and in mobileless environments - like with the petition website We the People. Through this project you can see what’s possible under such limitations, by starting small, and putting the customer first.

Key to pulling this off was derisking each project. Risk is a rather toxic word in business, so doing whatever you can to minimise this in the eyes of others will do you well too. Tom started small, proved his projects’ worth and grew them plus his team’s capabilities from there. He also shared external success stories that were relevant to each project, which gave confidence to those responsible for signing off the projects.

 

Establish two pizza teams

While this point is a push towards agile methodology, it also has wider use cases. To refresh your memory, this is establishing teams that can be fed by just two pizzas. It resonated not so much because of our love for ham and pineapple, cheese and mozzarella, but because of the environment that the particular initiative was introduced. It goes to show that The White House isn’t all that different to your everyday enterprise.

Two pizza teams require solid leadership, as there needs to be clear expectations set around participation. People love meetings and they love being part of something bigger. But many people don’t actually contribute to such meetings, they’re attending more to be seen. It’s an ego play ‘I mean something because I’m in the room’. Everyone needs to contribute or they’re out. Yes this will cause some FOMO, but this is where leaders need to show those who aren’t involved that their time and skills are better utilised elsewhere during that time.

 

Focus on outcomes rather than outputs

Outcomes are essentially the difference made by outputs - think customer service response times of less than five minutes (output) leading to higher customer satisfaction (outcome). The driver of focusing on outcomes has been experience-led thinking. Putting the customer or employee first has transformationally reframed how businesses operate.

Luke Longney highlighted the importance of Vodafone’s leadership shifting from a finger-pointing mentality (why aren’t you on track to delivering on your KPIs?!) to focusing on how they can remove ‘impediments’ that have stopped the team achieving their outcomes (what can be done to help you get back on track).

 

Digital transformations are like cheese

Little did Mainland Cheese realise but they hit the nail on the head when it comes to digital transformations - good things take time. Roxanne Salton of Mercury reminded us that even in companies that you think have landed their digital transformation, it takes concerted time and effort to get everyone on board.

Roxanne shares an insight of how this was the third digital transformation Mercury had undertaken. Third! This might scare you off embarking on a similar project but it shouldn’t. Instead, it’s a warning that you need to put in the hard yards at the beginning of the process, and work with experienced partners who can help you with perspective and navigating through all the tricky decisions you need to collectively make.

It’s important to note that technology should always be the last thing addressed when it comes to undergoing such a transformation. If we’re to keep the cheese analogy going, people, process, and experience are the core ingredients, and the technology is simply the cracker that ‘delivers’ the result.

 

The lost art of active listening

Customers are constantly talking to you, giving feedback on your products and services, your brand, marketing efforts, and customer service. If you’re lucky, they’ll use words. So are you listening?

Perhaps one of the biggest hurdles that must be overcome with such a ‘listening’ mentality, comes down to matters of the mind, which shows itself in three ways. What people do is different to what they say they do. What people feel is different to what they say they feel. And what people think is different to what they say they think. The human mind is incredibly complex and a great UX facilitator can help you truly listen to your customer, in all facets of the word.

 

AI applied: the rubber is hitting the road

A number of people commented throughout the event how far the industry has come since last year. After working in the chatbot space for many years now, Jade’s Director of Technology, Eduard Liebenberger insists we change the way we think of next-gen chatbots (or should we say AI as a whole) to be digital employees. From his live demonstration of Ace, it was obvious to see what’s possible, but more importantly, the stark difference between typical chatbots and true digital employees. If you missed the live demo, check out a similar talk he gave at AI-Day 2019.

Vodafone, who aren’t a client of ours, have seen considerable success from TOBi, their chatbot. Through automating approximately 4,000 hours of repetitive work in 2018, and with an estimated 15-20,000 hours in 2019, you can really start to see scalability that digital employees offer. Imagine what’s possible if they incorporate the same depth of thinking as Ace! Hopefully it will come, particularly if they continue to invest in TOBi and equip it with the smarts to become a true digital employee.

 

There’s no AI in team but there should be

As a cohesive, inclusive working culture often sees greater collaboration between teams and colleagues, it makes sense to enable your entire business with the benefits of artificial intelligence.

When your team sees the menial tasks they won’t have to do any more, they will thank you for it. Best of all, your digital employees won’t sleep either and they will never stop working - there’s no ‘employee rights’ to get in their way.

 

The last word: customers come first

How many times have you heard the customer is always right? We subscribe to this line of thought - sort of. As you read above, what the customer says, thinks, and does are often at loggerheads with each other, so you need a level of expertise that can help you see through the fog and get to the bottom of what ‘right’ actually means.

If you want to explore how we can help you provide world-class digital customer experience, contact us through the form below.





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