When it comes to business process transformation to improve customer satisfaction, most organizations dedicate significant energy and resources to transforming the front-end customer experience (CX). After all, that’s what customers see and experience most.
But can you deliver a truly exceptional experience for customers (or any stakeholder) if back-office operations don’t match the efficiency and experience quality of the front-office?
From back-office bottlenecks that have a knock-on effect upon end-customers to process inefficiencies that impact the motivation and engagement of employees, the need to improve back-office functionality is pressing.
And yet the critical success factor in removing friction and delivering operating efficiency that supports CX may seem paradoxical: The key is to approach back-office transformation with a front-office mindset.
The Back-Office Demands Front-and-Center Priority
Delivering an exceptional customer experience is the holy grail for every business.. Yet no customer will have a good experience if the employees responsible for serving them are struggling with non-optimized internal processes due to a mismatch in CX strategy.
The trick is to think of employees as customers, too. This shift in perspective immediately clarifies that the experience of employees handling back-office functions is every bit as important as the front-office. But turning that shift in perspective into reality is easier said than done. So, where should you start?
To make the most of your back-office transformation and ensure it’s fully aligned with the needs of your customers, you must prioritize four things:
Redesigning for CX from the start.
Embracing end-to-end reinvention of job roles.
Unifying your data and integrating analytics.
Optimizing for adoption.
Let’s look at the first two in more detail.
Download our eBook to discover why designing your back-office with front-office CX sensibility is the key to long-term back-office efficiency.
Priority #1: Redesigning for CX From the Start
Most back-office operations encompass huge amounts of complexity. This is driven by the sheer number of processes, tasks, swim lanes, and steps involved, and exacerbated by technologies that have been layered in piecemeal over time. Despite being out of sight of the customer, these processes can have a huge negative impact on the experience. Not least because – in many cases – the success of the front-office depends on the successful execution of efforts in the back-office.
What this means is that adding a customer experience overlay retrospectively during a transformation project is much more challenging. Instead, CX considerations must be integrated from the very beginning of any transformation effort.
From the earliest planning stages, ensure there is close alignment between the objectives of the front- and back-office. Thinking about the organization as a unified “one office” is helpful. This enables a transformation strategy that accounts for the overall business priorities – from integrating automation that tackles process and policy, to baking in a CX mindset that benefits both customers and employees.
Priority #2: Embracing the End-to-End Reinvention of Job Roles
Introducing greater automation to drive efficiency is key to transforming the back-office.
There’s a misconception that automation will replace much of the human element in a business. Yet the reality is back-office processes cannot be automated away entirely. In fact, research from McKinsey suggests that although 15% of jobs will disappear due to automation, additional labor demand will increase by between 21% and 33% – more than offsetting the number of jobs lost.
In other words, humans are set to be displaced rather than replaced, and this must be accounted for to ensure the success of any transformation effort. The “human in the loop” will play a critical part in ensuring things run smoothly. Planning for displacement – i.e., while undergoing business transformation – is therefore a smart move.
Redesigning roles to account for increased automation will have added benefits too. It tends to minimize opposition to change, allowing transformation to progress more smoothly. By streamlining processes, unburdening employees of mundane tasks, and redesigning roles, organizations can also look to build more engaged workforces.
Gallup’s 2022 State of the Global Workplace report suggests only 21% of employees are engaged at work. Yet companies that invest in delivering a great employee experience (EX) are outperforming the S&P 500 by 122%. Evidently there are many components to a great employee experience. But there are many parallels between EX and CX. A CX-focused “one office” that makes processes easier and job roles more rewarding is a strong starting point for driving employee engagement.
Reaping the Rewards of Redesign
Achieving back-office efficiency is no mean feat. Building systems that are fit for the future and able to fully embrace the benefits of automation can only be delivered by redesigning the back-office from scratch.
This article has addressed why this is important, and the benefits of rethinking back-office design. Download our eBook to learn how you can make this a reality – including the way to unify your data and optimize for adoption – and practical examples of back-office transformation success.