I spoke with my credit card company today, because the card I had ordered had not arrived. This was the second time I’d called them about the non-arrival of a credit card I applied for 2 months ago – the third customer touch for this financial institution. The first time I called (the second customer touch), my address was confirmed, my identity and so on as the customer representative went through the customer verification process, and that call took about 15 minutes. My original card was cancelled, a new card was being sent out and I should have it in 10 to 15 days.

Except, I didn’t have it!

Hence my second call today – “Where is my credit card please?”

Go through the customer verification process again, confirm the mailing address again, get put on hold for about 15 minutes, draw in deep breath and maintain calm.

I was patient, but getting somewhat frazzled, and if today had not been a good day and the customer rep so very good, I’d probably just have cancelled the card application and chalked it all up to experience.

Too Many Systems Leads to Trouble

Fortunately for my new credit card company, the customer representative was very helpful and radiated support and empathy. She did an excellent job, but it was only 25 minutes into the call and interminable being put on hold every now and again, that she realized the problem: because my mailing address was a PO box, the card would not be sent out, nor anything else, such as a statement requesting I pay the initial card fee … oops!

The conversation with the representative was repeatedly punctuated by her switching between different systems as she juggled a potentially irate customer (me) with the need to go through multiple hoops to change my address on file, customer verification, dispute resolution, talk to her supervisor and goodness knows what else.

The Importance of Flexible Processes

This customer inquiry mirrored my earlier one: a representative frenetically juggling multiple business applications to handle me, or any other customer: so, no wonder something as simple and obvious as I couldn’t use a PO box for a mailing address for their credit card, which I applied for 2 months ago, had simply slipped through the cracks of their customer onboarding processes.

Over the last 2 months, I had certainly not been at the center of this credit card company’s onboarding processes. While customer reps had been very professional, it took multiple customer touches to resolve issuance of the credit card and for something that should have been picked up at the initial application stage.

As good as the representatives were, their focus could not possibly be on me, the customer, because they had so many sub-systems to work in the background while they processed my inquiry.

Focus on the Customer

So, what would I advise this credit card company do with its customer-facing processes?

Customer-facing staff should not be juggling applications and systems around: one platform/interface should be implemented, which automatically pulls in all the data required to handle customer inquiries and also acts as single point of entry of the record of the customer touch and resolution. This dramatically speeds up first touch resolution and also exponentially shortens the total time for inquiry or dispute resolution (from over a month to less than 10 minutes is frequently demonstrated in real life).

With digitization being put at the top of practically every company’s agenda, self-service is also becoming critical for driving customer experience – I had to interact with customer representatives for something that should not have been allowed to happen in the first instance. Why could I not simply have this whole escapade automated from the get-go, and forego the human interaction which probably led to the initial error and certainly didn’t pick it up until 2 months in?

The Need for Digital Transformation

Digitizing processes, end-to-end, delivers a faster, safer, standardized and consistent customer experience (CX), allowing for rapid change as CX expectations increase exponentially. Implementing standardized processes also provides for the delivery of a consistent CX, time after time, customer after customer and this can also be measured effectively.

Implementing one workflow platform means the customer representatives at my credit card company (who I thought were excellent to begin with) can now focus much more on me as the customer – customer-centric BPM delivers faster, first touch resolution of inquiries. My issue was resolved on the 3rd customer touch after 2 months – this should, and could, have been resolved at 1st touch at the initial application stage.

As CX expectations change, the BPM work platform can collect the changing requirements directly by the business people using it, making them visible immediately. More than this, a Lean BPM solution such as HighGear, also provides process owners the ability to execute on identified requirements if not instantly, then certainly in very short time spans.

This cannot be real-time execution of requirements (modifications or the creation of new processes), because control over changing business processes must be exerted, and consideration of what pushing requirements live is actually going to do needs to be considered first. That said, making changes to customer-facing business processes is exponentially faster, and this provides the opportunity to keep abreast of CX developments, if not get ahead of the change curve.

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