Will Today’s Processes be Sufficient for Tomorrow’s Customer Experience?

Scott Francis
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Peter Schoof over on BPM.com posits: “Will most of today’s processes not be sufficient for providing the high level of customer services that will be considered standard in the future?”

It’s a great discussion that ensues among the BPM cognoscenti. I missed it when it was happening but just ran across it again.

I think there’s a consensus among entrepreneurs and business leaders that there is a tremendous pressure to provide a better customer experience to customers.  The key differentiator for many disruptors is the experience, not the price (or not only the price). 

In a world of pressure to improve customer experiences, most current processes are not sufficient. Because the future expectations of customer service and experience will include a unified view of their experience accessible on phones, the web, wearables, or wherever else they would like to interact with the vendor.

But it is instructive to recall that some industries have relentlessly degraded customer experience in order to cut costs.  The airline business comes to mind.  If the seats can get smaller they will. And airlines that dare to provide a better customer experience generally get crushed by discount competition in the medium-term.

But on this forum, the optimists and pessimists were fairly balanced, regarding our future potential customer service bonanza.

It starts with a pessimistic view, from our own John Reynolds: that the BPM industry’s traditional focus on efficiency will turn into “customer interaction efficiency” which will then drive customer service into the dust bin:

“This renewed focus on Customer Interaction Efficiency is going to send a lot of existing (and very efficient) business processes to the dust bin.”

But I think the blue-ribbon answer for BPM vis-a-vis great customer experience goes to Scott Menter:

[…] I’m a huge fan of the sanctuary formerly known as  San Diego Wild Animal Park, not far from my office. The park has created an environment in which the animals appear to be roaming freely across very large areas of terrain. With a few exceptions, there are no individual enclosures. Touring the periphery of this pseudo savanna, one might be puzzled at the way the keepers manage the animal population without walls, and with little evidence of the red-in-tooth-and-claw reality of wilderness life.

The magic is not that there are no barriers, but rather that park patrons simply do not see them. If BPM can help you erect fences that are invisible to your customers (but important to your business), it will more than pass the test suggested by the question.

The future’s better customer experience is not assured, it will not happen by default. We have to make it happen, and it is our belief that BPM is a key platform for our efforts.