Article

Pursuing digital transformation to enhance the customer experience

May 2019

By Domenica Maciocia, Senior Vice President, Client Services and Sales Operations

In her role at Bell Business Markets, Domenica Maciocia is at the forefront of our B2B digital transformation program. With a focus on enhancing processes and pursuing innovation, she is one of Canada’s greatest customer advocates and has unique insight into digital transformation at Bell.

Pursuing digital transformation to enhance the customer experience

In today’s increasingly competitive environment, end users want on-demand self serve experiences that adapt to their needs. Our goal at Bell, and a passion of mine, is to deliver an exceptional service experience. How do we do this? While there are many elements, one critical element is digital transformation.

Digital transformation has dramatically enhanced the interfaces and portals we use to interact with our customers. Digital components including artificial intelligence (AI), micro services, machine learning, robotics process automation (RPA), and application and network virtualization, have enabled organizations to deliver products more rapidly, and to offer digital experiences on demand.

You know you want to enhance your customer engagement and buyer experience – you’re just not sure where to begin. From our experience, there are three things you can do to help make this transformation manageable and successful: integrate micro projects, use data insights to re-engineer processes and nurture cultural change. While these seem simple, in each case Bell has developed precise tools and technologies to optimize the likelihood of success.

Focus on micro projects

It may seem daunting to envision an organization-wide plan of change. But in reality, once the strategic vision is set, the best digital transformation programs are made up of small projects of defined scope. Micro projects have simpler project plans, are less expensive and get you out of the gate faster. Concurrent micro projects, completed using iterative and agile methodologies, build momentum towards your end goals – identifying areas where you can quickly achieve productivity gains and deliver quick wins. We’ve taken this micro project approach ourselves with the transformation of our order entry process. We found that combining powerful end user data and a rules engine system enabled us to rapidly optimize the process workflow and make decision-making more dynamic. We’ve built on the learnings of that project and have identified other high-volume, repetitive and routine tasks – initiating new micro projects to move us towards our target digital state.

Leverage your data strategy

As we digitize processes we gain access to extensive data and insights. A strong data strategy must have well-defined and connected data sets and leverage RPA and machine learning in order to manage and analyze this high volume of data.

The challenge is to create a data strategy that not only reveals trends and identifies connections, but truly serves our customers. With access to end-to-end customer data, team members can better understand their interactions and more effectively respond to their needs.

We’ve enhanced our own data strategy by using operational research analytics to identify trends and insights on how end users are responding to our process changes. We maintain a view into how customers are interacting with our workflows, then we turn those insights into strategies to improve the efficiency of our service.

We find that when our agents have data on user challenges, preferences and needs, they feel empowered to make informed decisions – serving each specific customer more effectively.

Champion a culture that embraces change

Culture is at the heart of every successful digital transformation initiative. To truly transform you need to foster a learning environment where people are creative, empowered and working on meaningful projects. That means taking risks, experimenting with pilots, failing fast and incorporating what you’ve learned into your next micro project.

We’ve worked hard at enforcing this mentality with our business intelligence (BI) and process automation teams. For too long we had been risk averse – encouraging teams to play it safe. To jumpstart this change, we updated our performance measures – rewarding ideas and initiatives that expand our collective knowledge base. You can literally feel the energy radiating from our organization as teams master the execution of micro projects at blazing speeds.

Another way to cultivate cultural change is to take a cross-functional approach to projects. Historically, large projects tended to have multiple gates and follow the “waterfall approach”. We found that this environment was not sustainable for the speed at which we are expected to deliver change – our customers went from accepting biannual upgrades to demanding several new releases a quarter.

We are encouraging people to think and develop in “boundary-less” ways across organizational silos. By bringing in perspectives from a variety of teams and supporting decision-making at the base of our organization, we’ve tapped into diverse perspectives - motivating individuals to be authentic ambassadors of change.

How Bell helps businesses transform

Having more customers nationally than any other communications company in Canada, we are uniquely positioned to see how digital transformation is affecting Canadians. With the power of our network, along with the more than four billion invested annually, and leading work and practices in domains such as business intelligence, machine learning and workflow management, we have what it takes to collaborate on transformative solutions.

Our goal is to support each customer through the entire transformation process. We work hand-in-hand to define a digital roadmap personalized to their business. These collaborative sessions give us a more intimate understanding of critical objectives and help us to build a digital ecosystem that maps to these needs. We encourage micro projects and proof of concepts to learn and grow together.

We understand what it takes to digitally transform because we are on this journey too. Multiple micro projects are underway at Bell, and they are reshaping our digital ecosystem and how we serve Canadians. I’m especially excited about the digital experiences and virtual network capabilities we’re bringing to market, which will allow our customers to provision and manage services on demand. This will accelerate service delivery timelines – from months down to minutes.

We realize digital transformation isn’t easy – we have a long way to go ourselves – but it’s leading to significant improvements in employee and customer experience. I truly believe that by engaging in micro projects, defining a robust data strategy and inspiring cultural change, we can all demonstrate the ROI of digital transformation programs and encourage additional advocates and investments.

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