Recent market trends indicate that the “prototyping” and style-modeling techniques widely used by product and services designers are now becoming more common in other fields such as finance transformation, transcending traditional marketing and R&D labs. Given their growing reputation to connect with customer aspirations, product designers – and their ability to leverage the art of design thinking – are now regarded as strategic influencers.
Designing, followed by modeling and prototyping, means giving yourself room for experimentation and failure. Let me illustrate this approach with a couple of examples.
Invoicing for increased customer satisfaction
The process of releasing an invoice, which by nature has a significant dose of client interaction, needs to be driven by customer experience. The design of this process should not only include the traditional control points and embedded anti-fraud measures, but should first and foremost create a happy client.
For instance, if during the shopping process a client requests an invoice and you ask them to send an email to a generic mailbox with a code given on a screen or via SMS, the experience this process delivers is seen as complex and unsatisfactory for the client.
On the other hand, if the process is driven by technology that provides an instant online invoice, which is ready to be printed or self-emailed to as many mailboxes as the client wishes (for example, the client’s accountant, assistant, or for their own files), this process will create an improved and positive shopping experience for the customer, with a dramatically increased chance of repeat purchase.
Adopting a “client-first” mindset
There is an old saying among accountants: “Suppliers need our cash so they will wait (and suffer), and they will follow whatever the house-rules are.” This traditional truth seems pretty shocking, but it is exactly how organizations operated about 30 years ago.
Times have changed and suppliers are a valuable piece of the complex sourcing web in creating a positive or negative client experience. Think, for example, of missing items in the inventory of an online business, undelivered ingredients needed for an acclaimed dish on the menu of a Michelin-starred restaurant, and many other similar situations where suppliers have a critical role to play.
Here, again, the experience of vendors and suppliers as they go through the various stages of ordering, purchase order, debit note, credit note, and payment processes needs to be looked at. Whatever the types and forms of payments we choose (wire-transfer, PayPal, direct debit, or our die-hard friend, the very costly “check”) they all need to be designed, prototyped, and redesigned to ensure a superior experience from the very start for both clients and suppliers.
By looking at a process with a “client-first” mindset, we start to understand the need to design, prototype, and try/test that process to ensure an exceptional customer experience.
The application of design thinking
“An organizational focus on design offers unique opportunities for humanizing technology and for developing emotionally resonant products and services,” wrote Jon Kolko in an illustrative and well-crafted paper from the Harvard Business Review around design thinking applied to real-life experience. “Adopting this perspective isn’t easy. But doing so helps create a workplace where people want to be, one that responds quickly to changing business dynamics and empowers individual contributors.”
Indeed, Capgemini’s Digital Global Enterprise Model (D-GEM) architecture and ESOAR (Eliminate, Standardize, Optimize, Automate, Robotize) methodology are the perfect supplements to applying a design thinking approach to transforming your business operations.
Guillermo Quiteno is a qualified accountant with over 25 years of experience at global, multinational companies that helps clients in the Financial Services and fast-moving consumer goods (FMCG) sectors with their transformation journeys.