What does it take to achieve execution excellence in a digital world?

With most organisations working towards uplifting their digital maturity and investing in new technology to support this - leaders are now faced with several execution challenges, as they navigate the pivots from mono to multi, then multi to omni-channel.

A few months ago, we were delighted to host a panel discussion on our Execution Excellence webinar – sharing experiences from Financial Services, Health Science and Energy – on the frontline behaviour and execution principles that are critical in a digital-first world.

Blog_Various_Banners_Speakers_.jpg

Here’s what they had to say...

There are two core pivots when making the shift to omni-channel; the first is going from mono to multi-channel, followed by multi to omni-channel. On this spectrum, where would you place your organisation, and why?

Lee: The Utilities industry has experienced significant changes over the last decade. We’ve gone from state-based ownership into a competitive market, where customers can choose their provider, but there is still a high sense of regulation. It’s an interesting product because electricity and gas is the same no matter who you buy it from - so, the industry has really had to define their value proposition.

For Origin, we’re focusing on the service we bring, and customer experience on the back of that. We have spent the last few years refining our brand perception and core product to make sure we are incorporating the customer voice. Our sales and service people interact with customers every day, but we’ve also brought that into the back-office environment to ensure that our team behind the scenes really understand how their role impacts the customer.

Whilst we’re very much in the multi-channel stage of the journey, we believe we can build on the expertise we already have to fast-track our capabilities, and that’s something I would encourage for everybody. Don’t think you have to start from scratch! Look internally to see what capabilities you’ve already got, whether that be technology or your people - and then it's about making sure that you have a roadmap in place to start that evolution.

“Whilst we’re very much in the multi-channel stage of the journey, we believe we can build on the expertise we already have to fast-track our capabilities, and that’s something I would encourage for everybody.”

Lee Stone, National Manager Customer Experience & Strategy, Origin

Tsumi: AbbVie is very much part of a product-led industry. One of the biggest challenges in this shift has been trying to get that empathy with our HCPs and patients about what they truly want and need. I saw a report recently which stated that 60% of Health Care Professionals didn’t believe that Pharma companies understood their fears and needs during COVID-19. This was certainly apparent in some of the discussions we were having with our customers.

From an AbbVie perspective, the pandemic has helped accelerate our maturity, and we were very lucky to have already laid some of the foundations. I’d say we’re currently in the multi-channel engagement space. We have experienced challenges with global impeding the speed at which we move, and also our own internal agility to be able to get up and go in-line with what our HCPs require. We didn’t have a mechanism in place for getting the voice of the customer in – so that’s a key focus for us now.
 
What are some of your reflections when it comes to setting your teams up for success through the shifts from mono to multi-channel?

Lee: You need to bring your team along the journey! I know it’s cliché, but customer experience is closely linked with employee experience. Your people need to understand the drivers for change, and it’s critical to tell the story around why it’s happening. Omni-channel and multi-channel is not about removing existing channels; it’s about leveraging them and adding in additional capability. At Origin, we have different touchpoints for our customers, and just because we are transitioning to a more digital-led platform, doesn’t mean that these relationships don’t exist anymore.

There’s no need for big bang approaches either! We only moved to agile delivery 2-3 years ago, and it’s still very structured. The benefit is that you don’t have to invest heavily up front – you can start by working through customer feedback, tweaking it or adding the next level of capability required. What helped speed up change quite significantly was training our staff in agile. Not only did we train those who were physically doing the project work, but also our internal team members, so that they understood how their day-to-day role would evolve. A final tip is to not be afraid of bringing your customers along the journey. We will quite often invite groups of “partner customers” to trial out new channels or functionalities and provide feedback on what worked for them, along with what they would like to see. We’d then roll it out to our broader customer base, with the confidence of knowing that we’ve recognised the customer voice and trialled it out in a real-world situation.

Daniel: That reminds me of a story from about 10 years ago, when I was brought into an organisation to help out with some products that were heading in the wrong direction, along with products which hadn’t made it to market yet. I remember sitting down with the chairman of the business, and he said “Daniel, we are so excited to have you here – and can’t wait to see what outcomes we’re going to achieve together… just make sure you don’t change anything”. And I left that meeting thinking that letting go is often the hardest part of change, especially when it’s something that’s worked for the business for such a long time. I love Lee’s comment about bringing your customers, stakeholders and leadership along the journey – just be aware that it’s not a one-time sell. As soon as they start to see what the change means for them, you have to be ready to support and help them understand that the benefits of disruption are worth the cost of change.

“As soon as they (employees) start to see what the change means for them, you have to be ready to support and help them understand that the benefits of disruption are worth the cost of change.”

Daniel Bacon, Head of Commercial Excellence, Amgen

And when it comes to moving from multi, to omni-channel what are some of the key lessons you’ve learnt so far?

Tsumi: Discipline around data is critical. Pharma is traditionally not the best at tagging, visualising, or integrating data in all the right places – so  it’s difficult to demonstrate real value back to our internal stakeholders. When bringing up a big topic like customer experience, everyone bands around the term without really understanding what it looks like. This becomes a challenge particularly when trying to get investment or new resources in. It’s difficult working with your leadership team, unless you can visibly demonstrate quick wins or a tangible outcome. Really, what we’re trying to focus on is bringing that to life with data, so it’s very clearly labelled beyond just access, but also around engagement – including what it means when you’re translating it back into dollars.

There’s also the agile movement, where instead of just planning for a year (which we still often fall into when Global sets us on a branding cycle), we’re trying to get into six-week sprints. However, that means discipline from our marketers and our medical teams. But what if you don’t hit point A? What if you don’t get 100% of your A customers through? What does plan B look like? Because you would have to get it approved, planned and in motion already. It’s not just getting our platforms and the data ready, it's a big piece around the skill set and a lot of hand holding.

“There’s also the agile movement, where instead of just planning for a year (which we still often fall into when Global sets us on a branding cycle), we’re trying to get into six-week sprints. However, that means discipline from our marketers and our medical teams.”

Tsumi Smith, Head of Multichannel, AbbVie

Grant: Following on from Tsumi’s point on data – we hold a tremendous amount of data at CBA. However, we're still incredibly reliant on manual updates, and one of the big challenges we've had is understanding the value of updating primary email addresses, un-ticking the ‘do not market’ flag and talking bankers through the value of these processes. It sounds really simple, but data has been a critical challenge for us. What I learnt when visiting Silicon Valley a few years ago, was all about “eating your own dog food”. This means really getting our bankers to experience the technology that our business customers are using, whether it's in branch, intelligent deposit machines, or online banking insights data tools. We've had to work extremely hard to get our bankers to use the technology as our customers experience it, so that they can talk about it and really showcase the benefits to our clients.

For deeper insights on achieving execution excellence, register for our upcoming webinar on Thursday 27th May at 12pm GMT / 1pm CET.