Developing Customer Experience with the Customers

Digitalization is much more than offering services online. It is about customer experience processes, trimming, renewing and measuring – all done from the customer point of view. How to get an understanding of it, the famous and feared customer experience?

At LähiTapiola we wanted to renew our online travel insurance service to fit the digital era. At the same time we wanted to develop our development process to enable faster publications. We were used to defining project specifications carefully, which was time-consuming. Now we changed this. We decided to start quick and test with our customers. Customers have been part of our development work in the testing phase, and now we really wanted to integrate them in the whole development cycle from ideas to testing in the production phase.

“Experimental culture is the key in learning about the customer experience.”

Of course, the real driving force behind the change in our way of work and handling the customer experience was the Big D, digitalization. Here are some of our observations on how to manage it.

Renew piece by piece

Renewing and developing processes should be broken down into smaller entities. In other words, you don’t have to create megaprojects lasting years and months, but instead you can start from one small area of a service or a product and renew that well. It’s like making a major house improvement project one room at a time - you can still live in the house and the renovation is only restricting the use of one room.

Commit to measuring

We have learned that we can find out the answers only by being committed to the idea of testing and experimenting different alternatives. In LähiTapiola we experienced a situation where the customers were not buying insurances online.

In the past we would have only measured and concluded that customers either clicked one button but not the other, not understanding why. Now we test, measure and use, for instance, A/B-testing, which gives us instant feedback on customer behaviour.

During the measuring process we have learned to expand the customer experience from testing systems to testing the entire customer experience path, not only the software. We have also learned that measuring needs to continue even after going live.

Trim off the old to make room for ideas

In order to grow new, the old has to be removed from its way, also internally. Make your team to stop and think how the work is done currently, and which elements do not serve the best possible customer experience in a cost-effective way.

Evaluate the products and processes, and trim the unnecessary branches off. At the same time, be sure to encourage new ideas with a straightforward process from idea to implementation.

In addition, it’s important not to narrow down or restrict the ideas too much in the beginning and have the right people work on the new ideas further.

From processes to channel consistency

One of the biggest dilemmas in digitalization is how to manage the customer experience in different channels. How to make sure all the relevant customer related information passes along with the customer.

Whether in digital or analogical world, processes need to be in place and they need to be effective. But in the digital world, the efficiency of the processes is emphasised, which requires them to be simple and straightforward to understand and execute.

Customer experience should be consistent across all channels, whether that was the call centre, chat or online service.

Customer experience experimentation with the customers

Experimental culture is the key in learning about the customer experience. It’s important to take the customer in the middle of the customer experience development process so that we can listen to them and get a better understanding of their needs. You will get the best outcome when you combine the expertise of your organisation with the learnings from the customer experience testing.

“Digitalization is much more than offering services online.”

At LähiTapiola we have a customer panel of over thousand persons. In addition, we have a group of our own enthusiast employees who test our services in a customer role.

Exact vision is not needed to start testing

It is important to start the testing and experimenting with the customers, and to try new things even if there is no exact vision of the new product. Good way forward in experimenting is to introduce a beta version of your product to your test group, get feedback, and improve the beta. After this you can pilot the service and evaluate the response.

In our experiment with our travel insurance product we learned that when customers are buying a travel insurance at the airport, they are in a hurry and are only interested in the insurance price more than any other information. Now the price information is easily available.

Perhaps the most important learning we have gained from including the customers in the testing and development processes is that now we know in which sections of the processes and what kind of projects their input is most valuable. Experimenting is learning.