Digital transformation and the customer journey
By Robert Taylor, UK Country Manager, LTi Technology Solutions
“Digital transformation” is a term that has dominated the landscape of asset finance in the past few years. Digital transformation as it relates to your customer, can affect greatly how a customer feels about the company and their products or services. If your technology ecosystem isn’t ready, it becomes clear to a customer that your company may not be ready for their growth.
As we know, many companies work with a hybrid of digital and manual processes. But if you have not considered the process from the customer perspective, you are missing a lot in how a company perceives you. That means you are not fully understanding the customers experience and it is very likely they won’t be one for long.
When thinking in relation to your customer journey and the interactions along the way, it is critical to understand how they got there. Automation can play a large role in customer success and is tied to how satisfied they are with a product or service and can also measure how likely they are to come back again.
In fact, 86% of customers are willing to spend more on products and services for a great customer experience.1 Customers now want immediate and tailored experiences across all touchpoints, accelerating the importance of personalising the customer journey through digital transformation.
Mapping out a customer’s journey presents an invaluable opportunity to visualise their experience from their perspective. Ultimately, understanding your customer’s journey makes intangible experiences visible and facilitates a shared understanding between all participants. With this in mind, it is in every company’s best interest to map out the customer journey to help develop a competitive advantage and increase your revenue.
Optimising your customer’s experience through digital transformation can also highlight why automation is such an important tool in asset finance. Automation provides customers with valuable technologies that increase cost efficiency while delivering a seamless customer experience which means more revenue.
To create digital transformation through automation that directly affects the customer journey, it is important to identify their path to decisions. Customers want personalised and instantaneous solutions, which is where automation can come in to drive the customer journey to the next level.
Modernising the customer experience. As companies evolve, growth is critical, but brings a new set of concerns. By implementing best practices and bringing digital transformation through automation, it allows companies to focus on its primary goal – serving customers well.
Finding a complete and integrated suite of applications to manage your business allows for not only workflow efficiencies and increased automation, it ultimately expands organisational growth. Having a system that can provide robust functionality in automation allows opportunity for companies to innovate rapidly, reduce costs, and increase scalability through software applications.
Asset finance is starting to recognise the need to automate processes and gain new operational efficiencies through centralisation. Furthermore, automating your billing processes can eliminate long wait times for receiving payments. When companies make the payment process easier through automation, this allows customers to get payment to you faster – getting you to your goal of growing your business and increasing profitability.
Table 1: Digital transformation within the customer journey
Automating repeatable operational tasks such as invoice processing, administration, booking, and so on can help companies achieve operational efficiency and improve communication with customers. It also frees up employee resources, streamlines complex operations, and improves visibility throughout the entire organisation. Identifying areas within your organisation where you can reduce operational costs through automation will eventually add up to significant and noticeable cost savings.
Increases organisational efficiency. Automation and new technology are constantly evolving and dramatically changing the nature of the work, as well as creating new opportunities that did not exist before. As seen in the last few years, different innovations in technology are impacting a wide range of occupations and fields, leading to significant digital transformations for employees and companies alike.
In order for companies to keep up with increased demands, using automation to fill such tasks can save an organisation time and money, and improve organisational agility. According to McKinsey Global Institute (MGI), “The automation activities can enable productivity growth and other benefits at both the level of individual processes and businesses, as well as the level of entire economies.”
McKinsey Global Institute estimates automation could raise productivity growth globally by 0.8% to 1.4% annually. McKinsey’s research also confirms that productivity will increase with the rise in automation, which can only benefit workers and companies.2 Automation provides seamless connections across all functions throughout the organisation.
New technologies have spurred the need to modernise processes, improve customer experience, and create more organisational efficiency. Automation will fuel further company growth and expansion, and in turn, increase innovation and create new jobs and opportunities.
Since automation can handle up to 45% of repetitive tasks, this will give workers time for more valuable tasks such as problem-solving, finding solutions, and coming up with new and innovative ideas for the company. Furthermore, adopting automation processes will empower employees and create a workplace that is both engaging and challenging.
Maximises availability. In today’s fast-paced digital world, companies heavily depend on technology to help them grow their business. Operational tasks require a suite of applications to run efficiently from booking deals, processing transactions, reporting, documentation, collections, credit, customer service, and much more. System downtime is one of the biggest problems that no company ever wants to face. Unplanned downtime and outages can result in an average cost of US$1.55m per year.3
To compete at the leading edge of the asset finance industry, companies need a system they can step into to build a strong foundation of growth for the future. A decade ago, it would have been considered acceptable if a system was down for a few hours. However, in today’s digital world, system downtime could result in millions of dollars in revenue for companies. With so much of today’s business taking place online and through cloud-based solutions, companies need a system that can maximise their availability to compete aggressively in the marketplace.
Maximising availability is clearly a high priority for IT as it directly impacts revenues for companies. Moreover, having system downtime or outages can result in a lost reputation for your company’s brand, which can be difficult to correct. Customers expect agility and efficiency more than ever, and as stated above, customers are willing to spend more money on products and services for a great customer experience.
Automation plays a vital role as increased availability of the system helps your business significantly. Automating core business processes will help companies save and recover systems, ensuring protection from potential data loss or any significant damages resulting from human error.
Greater reliability. Another example of how digital transformation can enhance the customer journey is the increased reliability it provides. Automating workflow provides greater reliability and control over your entire operations and processes and tasks. An updated technology ecosystem can offer great precision and reliability.
Workflow automation removes the oftentimes unpredictable human variable to make companies’ IT operations more efficient and reliable. Organisations depend on systems that can provide reliability of their data. They are constantly seeking out new and innovative ways to eliminate human error. These “simple” human errors can cost organisations valuable time and resources to find and then fix the mistake.
Mistakes are different depending on the industry. Even if companies have processes and protocols in place, human error will still happen. While processes and protocols are effective in reducing human-prone errors, it cannot eliminate the threat of errors the way that automation can. Instead of solely relying on workers to run core business processes manually, automation dramatically improves reliability while allowing companies to focus on growing its business.
Automation also has a positive effect on employee satisfaction. Automation frees up time performing repetitive, manual tasks. This also empowers employees to focus on more meaningful, business-critical work. Having core business functions in one centralised location provides easy access to information, leading to further innovation and growth in the marketplace.
Optimises performance. Another big challenge company’s face is the increasing demand to perform tasks and workflows faster, with a much higher workload. This challenges IT operations to keep up with demands without becoming overburdened with work. Automation helps maximise performance without adding headcount.
As mentioned earlier, every company at one point will face the pressures of increasing profitability. Automating core business processes helps to align employees, resources and the organisation as a whole, to meet strategic business goals. In addition, technology is constantly advancing and becoming more cost-effective for companies to utilise every year.
However, achieving business outcomes eventually go beyond human capabilities. Automation can not only outperform a range of tasks better and less expensively than humans, but improve the quality and speed of achieving those outcomes. Updating your technology ecosystem is not just about keeping up. It is also a way to continually create a better experience for your customers.
Because of this intrinsic desire to improve the customer experience, it is important for companies to identify the restraints and challenges in their technology ecosystem and find ways to optimise performance. Through automation, companies can benefit from having a true robust lifecycle management system.
Automation tools seamlessly bring sales and operations together from invoicing, documentation, funding, to closing deals. By performing such tasks with more efficiency, companies are able to provide more consistent and higher quality services, which will help long term to attract new customers and retain existing customers. Once companies optimise the performance of their technology ecosystem, this provides the missing link in allowing businesses to run with full operational agility.
Table 2: The true cost of downtime
Enabling digital transformation through automation. The key to unlocking business growth is to transcend your business through a digital transformation. Asset finance companies need to embrace a digital agility mindset. According to global market intelligence firm IDC, 85% of enterprise decision makers say they have plans to embark on a digital transformation within the next two years, with more than a third (37%) saying they have already started executing one and nearly half (45%) saying they are in the early stages of adopting one.4
Forward-thinking companies recognise that in order to stay at the competitive edge of the marketplace, they must continuously improve their technology, culture, and processes. Fundamentally changing how your business operates allows you to provide the highest value to your customers. If companies want to evolve with the rapid pace of today’s digital world, it is imperative they work to increase efficiency with technology whenever possible.
Research by the World Economic Forum, in collaboration with McKinsey, shows that companies often achieve significant and simultaneous improvements across multiple measures when they integrated advanced digital technologies across the value chain.5 Companies need to act now on digitising their operations or else they risk falling behind in their industries. Companies that have a clear roadmap can expect greater growth, profitability, and customer retention.
UK Country Manager
LTi Technology Solutions
Norden Farm Centre for the Arts
Berkshire SL6 4FP
Tel: +44 (0)7366 625712