Have we taken our eyes off the road when it comes to customer experience?

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American industrialist Henry Ford is well known for being a pioneer in the assembly line technique that allowed the Ford Motor Company to make the first affordable automobile. However, what Ford is less known for was his ingenuity in identifying the need to provide a repair service for the cars they sold, making him one of the forefathers of delivering ‘a Moment of Service’ – redefining what to expect in the customer experience on a grand scale.

Fast-forward to today, and the customer experience has become one of the most important touchpoints for businesses, irrespective of industry. Today’s service-driven economy has only amplified the emphasis for customer expectations to not just be met, but to be exceeded. An expectation made harder to achieve with struggling supply chains as companies and borders close due to the global pandemic.

In recent months, supply chains have been temporarily halted following COVID-19 outbreaks, most notably at the Ningbo Port in China which shut down for two weeks, and locally through the overwhelmed postal service in Victoria during the state’s current lockdown, resulting in a five day pause to regular service.

Each year, businesses across Australia and New Zealand invest hundreds of thousands of dollars to evaluate customer experience through NPS scores, reviews and customer satisfaction surveys, going to great lengths to identify insights that define a positive experience over a negative one.

Despite this significant investment, it is clear that businesses are taking a reactive approach to their customer service operations. A recent global IFS survey found that 82 per cent of businesses were unable to recall a single positive example of a recent frictionless customer experience, which begs the question – are businesses merely papering over the cracks?

The IFS survey also revealed that 29 per cent of managers report problems with inflections in the value chain but don’t act. While worryingly, 26 per cent of customers revealed they would be unlikely to engage with a brand after just one negative experience.

What triggers these problems is often a complicated, siloed approach to doing business that causes procedural issues that will ultimately and repeatedly impede businesses from delivering frictionless customer experiences, leaving potential revenue and market share on the table. Businesses are missing a significant opportunity to fix internal processes and address the root causes of customer experience issues.

The opportunity here is for companies to emerge from the fog and realise the efficiency benefits of fixing internal processes. This addresses the root causes of customer experience issues through gaining greater visibility into operations and value-chains and gain real-time access to business-critical information. These combine to generate the flow-on effect to ultimately deliver a Moment of Service befitting to customer needs.

At IFS, we take pride in providing visibility for businesses in assessing their supply chain inefficiencies and issues through our advanced enterprise software. However, what lies at the heart of what we do, is what we call our ‘Moment of Service’ – allowing our customers to deliver their best to their customers through our embedded digital innovation.

We know through our work with Australian manufacturer, Atherton that enhanced service levels and business success can be achieved when there is complete visibility into supply chain operations and product lifecycles. Simplifying the parts of business operations that make companies “tick”, has seen Atherton buck the manufacturing trend to enjoy year-on-year growth, an increase in customer base and is now even considering entering new markets overseas![1]

Unlike Ford and his industrialist contemporaries, today’s businesses have been blessed with technology that allows for unprecedented visibility to mitigate the ever-increasing complexity of supply chains. But it is also clear that what businesses do with this information, and how they frame their operational procedure relating to customer experience will define their business performance moving forward.

About IFS

IFS develops and delivers enterprise software for customers around the world who manufacture and distribute goods, build and maintain assets, and manage service-focused operations. The industry expertise of our people and solutions, together with a commitment to delivering value to every one of our customers, has made IFS a recognised leader and the most recommended supplier in our sector. Our team of 4,000 employees and growing ecosystem of partners support more than 10,000 customers around the world challenge the status quo and realise their competitive advantage. Learn more about how our enterprise software solutions can help your business today.

About Author

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Warren Zietsman is a global specialist with more than 24 years of experience in the financial and business services sectors. Before joining IFS in 2018, Warren built and led front office and operational teams across Southern Africa, Eastern Europe, Australasia and the United Kingdom. This involved delivering on aggressive expansion and turnaround programs for businesses including Standard Bank, Investec Bank and the Empresaria Group Ltd. As the Managing Director for IFS Australia and New Zealand, Warren is responsible for the delivery of modern enterprise systems that create value for IFS’s customers, developing a local business strategy, building its customer base, and expanding the company’s network of quality resellers.

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