Digital transformation is no longer optional for companies that want to deliver a CX that customers expect today. But the success of transformation projects depends on the adoption by those who are at the forefront of your customer service: your associates. Here are Alexandre’s tips for getting everybody on board:
- Explain planned changes
- Define clear objectives
- Organize training to accompany changes
- Be prepared to face obstacles
- Stay in touch with operations
“The successful implementation of innovation projects is no easy task, especially in the field of customer services. This is because of the strong human component that has to fit into an IT logic,” explains Alexandre. “But digitization is the only way to obtain scalable service capacities while offering customers individualized and relevant answers. Expectations are high, but the disruption that comes with digitization can have a negative impact on well-oiled mechanisms and turn the dream of simplicity into a nightmare of complexity.”
Here are Alexandre’s recommendations for a successful digital transformation of your customer service operations.
1. Explain the project
“The worst mistake when talking about innovation is to present it to your team as a tool that just adds more features. Innovation is much more. It’s about doing things differently, communicating on other channels because it’s simpler, interacting with augmented reality tools or sharing information more easily,” explains Alexandre. This can be achieved through automation to help accelerate handling and ensure higher accuracy or gamification, which simplifies sharing best practices and makes training more accessible. “It’s important to clearly explain what the project is about and the changes it implies. The tools are just a means to achieve these objectives,” concludes Alexandre.
2. Set clear objectives
It’s essential to associate clear objectives to each project and to communicate on them: economic or operational improvements, higher customer satisfaction, reduced handle time, less attrition or turnover, or increased sales. It’s imperative that teams know what’s expected of them, and how the projected change will get them there. Alexandre adds: “Clear objectives are also the best way to avoid getting caught up in nonsensical projects, and to stay grounded in the reality of operations.”
3. Train your teams
Training often is the stumbling block of innovation projects. Project leaders that have worked on their transformation project for months don’t realize anymore how complex it is and tend to overestimate the capacity of operational teams to understand all the implications. “It takes more than small pieces of information to change processes and practices that have been established over years. Meaning and objectives of the project need to be explained, preferably through concrete applications and practical examples,” explains Alexandre. “This can only be achieved with in-depth training. The sessions must outline the advantages of the transformation project and provide all the elements that help associates understand the project and adhere to it. You need to convince your teams and offer useful support to turn them into ambassadors of the transformation project.”
4. No pain no gain
Transformation processes are long and difficult, there are no shortcuts or miracle solutions. You have to convince all internal stakeholders, change the habits of your customers and solve a multitude of unforeseen technical and functional problems. And that’s normal. “If you don’t see these problems coming up, you probably forgot to factor them into your project or the transformation didn’t go far enough. Unexpected issues must be quantified in terms of time and integrated into the project management. In no case should it put more pressure on the operations than the transformation already represents.”
5. Listen to operations
Obviously you need to include the associates in the project. But it’s not always done in the right way. “Involving your teams doesn’t mean you bring in experts who will ask intelligent questions and then come up with magical ideas based on the answers. You need to create an ongoing conversation to identify pain points and opportunities for improvement. It’s a two-way control that allows project teams to stay close to the reality of operational work while being able to go further, identify new possibilities and stay put even if there are obstacles,” Alexandre recommends. “The key to success is the right balance between expert input and operational solutions.”
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