Telling one from another

The digital context has been properly solved in the realm of transactions, being “transaction” an exchange between two parties. Currently, in European and North American banks, well above 60% of the transactions are done on-line, and as far as 14% of the customers of European banks such as Norwegian SpareBank1 use only mobile.

Now, when the transaction involves several steps, it becomes a customer journey, i.e. a compound of things that need to happen and that will take longer than a transaction.Customer journeys are very different to operational processes, in a number of crucial features:

  • First and more importantly, they are exposed to the customer so that his –unplanned- interactions need to be effectively managed: they might become a significant source of costs and churn. As a consequence, the self-service approach can effectively enhance the engagement experiences.
  • Because of their exposure to customers, these processes usually have a real risk of failure and mind change. Changes in the planned process will lead to exception management which, in traditional BPM, will involve human intervention.
  • If there is documents chasing involved, over 30% of customers will never come back. From the ones coming, over 20% will have defects, and that makes over 50% of the case. It will be crucial for the business areas to be able to actively manage the non-compliant cases, being such a significant part of the acquisition funnel.

A customer journey is in fact a conversation that is mostly context-driven: it needs regular information exchanges and a pertinent reaction to the actual behaviour. No customer will behave like another. The exceptions will be made by a myriad of small exception pools that nevertheless may add to a huge majority. The trade-off approach towards exceptions in complex cases, where the design tries to cater for 80% of the cases, is simply not good enough for a conversation.

These behavioural differences make customer journeys radically different: they need a radically different technology too.