How Ninjas Can Guide Your Digital Customer Engagement Transformation

The solution to making digital a key part of every step in the customer journey is sitting right inside your company.
Customer Experience

I recently joined a new health club that smartlya infuses digital into an awesome group workout program. We wear heart-rate monitors as we sprint on treadmills and cycle through a fast-paced weights regimen. A large monitor lets us compare our pace and progress against others with each step. There's also a mobile app that lets me schedule appointments and shows the calories I've burned during a workout. After sessions, I even receive emails that display my max and average heart rate, and so on. They've found a truly engaging way to make exercising at the club a connected, digital journey. That is, until one crucial step.

When I was ready to make a longer-term commitment to the club, I had to sign up using a stack of forms. I then watched as they manually entered my information into their system. The pleasant relationship I was enjoying was so rudely interrupted by that old nemesis to efficiency: paper.

Ultimately, digital should be a key part of every step in the customer journey. It's not meant to be weaved in and out of your business's processes, but rather should enhance every stage from beginning to end. Yet both small businesses, like the health club, and the largest enterprises in the world are still struggling to fully embrace this journey. What they fail to realize is the answer to their problems may be sitting right inside the company. But more on this later.

Rethinking Processes, Big and Small

I work closely with many of these large, multinational organizations, and keep hearing the same thing: "We're in the midst of a massive digital transformation." When we discuss the challenge, it inevitably cuts across three fundamental areas:

First, how can they make the customer journey more appealing, and increase long-term loyalty?

Second, how can they remove friction from the way they work by automating employee processes and driving overall workforce efficiency?

And third, how can they manage the supply chain and key partners, again through automation and streamlining systems that often seem stuck in the Dark Ages?

Look No Further

So how do companies tackle this awesome task? A great place to start is sitting in their own workforce: the business process ninja.

No, you shouldn't search for folks with the title. But you'll know them when you see them. They relentlessly focus on the top and bottom lines, as well as customers both inside and outside the company. They're often technologists and always leaders in operational excellence. Perhaps most telling is they're the employees who steadfastly challenge the status quo.

And where do your ninjas look first to have the greatest impact in pursuit of digital transformation across customers, partners, and their own internal processes?

It's paper.

Anywhere they find it is an immediate indication of resistance to change, of slowing progress, and of creating a bad customer experience. Again, like the health club.

Even huge corporations can see significant benefits from simply cutting out the pulp. Take Telef??a, for example. They provide phone, TV, and Internet to more than 300 million people throughout Europe and the America. As you might expect, training new employees on the tech takes a lot of time. Mounds of paperwork were slowing down that process even further.

Then some smart ninja at Telef??a made just one simple change: switching from ink signatures to electronic ones for new employee contracts. And in less than four months, that one difference cut the average onboarding time from more than nine days to just over one-and cut the lead time for signed contracts from three weeks to 11 hours.

The Power of One

Think about how much time and money that one tiny change saved Telef??a. That's the scale of impact just one innovation, championed by one individual, can have at the largest of companies. So how much time and overhead might your own company's secret weapons save you on the path to digital transformation?