Connected Customers and Operational Enablers

My interest and skills in supporting businesses enhance their business models, using creative strategies to leapfrog competitors and operational improvement opportunities are well known. So when I saw this month’s HBR (May/June 2019 “The Age of Continous Connection” N.Siggelkow and C.Terwiesch, I was intrigued.

The article looks at the way technology advances are supporting businesses to have another level of interaction with their customers, which enhances their value proposition providing revenue opportunities.

Existing approaches with customers in a buy what we have model is the old way!

These are the four new connected sales and operations strategies : –

1. Fast with minimum friction response to desire. – Operations need processes that are fast with minimum customer friction throughout the process. Make it easy! Convenience beats loyalty in retail and reality. Amazon’s one-click strategy has proven this.

2. Curated offering – Developing the offering for a customer, providing options and advice based on the customer’s needs. For operations, the task is to understand the customers desired outcome and presenting the best option. The customer’s nutritional objective supports a meal choice which defines the ingredients and the shopping cart. The process is tailored from start to finish.

3. Coach behaviour –Supporting andprompting the customer to make the right buy decision at the right time. After all, customers have been known to forget to order on time. Maintenance and replacement of goods and services are prime examples. Track and support the customer in their buying cycle.

4. Automatic Execution -Using customer data allows a business to predicts and supply-demand to a customer without individual requests. This requires a high level of trust and transparency with the customer and continuous data exchange. It can be packaged with operational performance and availability guarantees.

My takeaways are :

1.    We need to continuously look at and improve the ease with which our customers can do business with us.

The first step in this process is getting data on customer behaviour and look for existing pain points they have doing business with us, plus patterns and systems to improve their experience and value proposition.

2.    Ensuring that our digital marketing, user interfaces, order to pay processes and SIOP process are performing and are aligned.

3. Attack lead-time reduction at every opportunity that benefits the customer.

4. Implement cost-effective enabling technology for collecting customer data and improving operational processes that provide a competitive edge are available today.

How is your business addressing and looking at these? 

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