Nowadays, there is a lot of importance given to incorporating customer experience in processes, which is the right thing to do. However, in this blog I intend to bring up another concept – offering the ‘process experience’ to customers.
A customer does not care whether a business has a well-defined process or not if it delivers the product or service to his or her satisfaction. Only when things go wrong for the customer, the question of why a (good) process is not in place will arise. In processes where things have a tendency of going wrong often, the process experience for customers comes in handy for businesses. Exposing customers to processes help build customer confidence in the business as well as place accountability for employees.
What is process experience?
Let us analyze a couple of scenarios faced by customers that the same process discusses; we will look at a typical pizza delivery process, which some pizza companies have in place. For simplicity, we will consider only the ‘pizza’ part of the order in this process, and ignore all other items associated with an order such as sides, beverages or desserts. The high-level activities in a typical process are as below:
As delivery time is a critical measure of success for this process, let us consider that the longest delivery time of pizza from confirmation of order is 45 minutes.
Scenario 1: Customer does not have visibility of the pizza delivery process
The customer calls up the delivery contact center to place a pizza order. The service executive gives the options available and receives / confirms the order and hangs up the phone. The customer receives a message on his phone confirming the order and estimated delivery of time.
Scenario 2: Pizza Company creates visibility of the pizza delivery process to the customer
Let us imagine that the same customer calls the delivery contact center to place a pizza order. When the store confirms the order, this time it sends a web link along with the confirmation message to the customer’s phone. On opening the web link, it displays a dashboard of the Pizza Delivery Process highlighting where the customer’s specific instance is at a given point in time. Whenever the customer opens the link, say 10 minutes after order confirmation, the browser shows an outline of the pizza delivery process with status, as illustrated below:
In Scenario 1, from the time of order confirmation, the customer does not have a clue whether the store will deliver the pizza in 45 minutes. This is because the customer does not know the stages in pizza making, nor is he aware of how long it will take to complete each stage and what is the status of the pizza at any given point in time. There is a possibility that the store may may not have prepared the pizza at all when the customer calls to find out after 45 minutes. Some jittery customers may think that the store will not deliver the pizza on time, and repeatedly call the contact center to confirm the status. This creates multiple touch-points to a single touch process, and results in a poor pizza delivery experience for both, the customer and the pizza company.
In Scenario 2, the customer can visualize all the stages of pizza delivery, how long it has taken for each stage to complete, and based on current performance what is the longest time the store will take to deliver the pizza. The customer can also analyze the current performance for each stage against a baseline. Every time the customer accesses the dashboard, he or she will hope to see some progress in the delivery timelines. If there is progress, which there will be in most cases, the customer will feel confident of the delivery and will call the contact center for frequent status updates.
What process experience can do:
Process visibility can be given to customers across different industries, services or value chains. The type of process defined will vary on the customer type and product / service delivered. Depending on technology feasibility and data availability, the customer can be exposed to a considerable amount of process related information. This empowers the customer and instills loyalty towards the brand. While being loyal, customers display their expectations or desires in the product and so encourage businesses to continuously improve their processes, products and services to keep customers satisfied.