Future-proofing front offices

An organisation’s growth and transformation journey revolves around its abilities to acquire, manage and retain customers, and provide them with an experience that encourages them to proactively refer services/products to others.

The pandemic has compelled organisations to focus on reaching customers directly and providing them with experiences that will make them loyal to their brands and accelerate their growth. Rapid advancement of digital technologies can help organisations achieve this customer-centric growth to some extent.

While businesses typically see linear growth, digital solutions and the expectations of customers are growing exponentially. As per PwC’s 24th Annual Global CEO Survey, 63% of the top-performing companies foresee challenges in customer experience management due to technological changes and believe that this disruption may affect organisational growth. The survey also shows that a majority of premium customers are willing to pay extra for a better experience, whereas less than 15% of CEOs feel that their products and services provide a superior customer experience. 1

The value of a product/service can no longer be only defined by its ability to cater to people’s needs. It’s also about understanding and anticipating customer requirements and thus creating stronger connections. Our portfolio of front office transformation solutions helps our clients rethink the way existing and potential customers interact, transact and engage with brands and organisations, both physically and digitally. Our solutions offer advanced service platforms that deliver a connected and customer-centric experience through seamless engagement. Our pre-built technology and innovative assets help clients increase customer acquisition, management and loyalty as well as drive growth, boost productivity and inspire the sales workforce.

We believe that there are five action levers for organisations to use for customer-led growth ‒ marketing, sales, service, product innovation and channel. Utilising the right combination for an organisation will not only unlock growth today but also enable it to remain relevant for customers tomorrow.

Building the right experience at every touchpoint ensures sustainable growth for an organisation. For example, when an established ethnic-wear brand approached us to build an optimal customer-acquisition process framework for its digital channel, we used a three-pronged approach over eight months. Our method helped improve the brand’s digital spend efficiency by 15% and lead conversion by 60%.

We started by understanding the brand’s customers and their journey to ensure that the brand was adequately ‘found’ across digital channels. We then worked on how to convert their digital traffic to qualified leads by designing the most appropriate digital experience. Finally, we used design thinking and the insight-led lead conversion process to create a working model for sustained outcomes. The fundamental approach that we adopted focused on providing the best experience to digital visitors, converting them into prospective customers and creating engaging content for them.

Adopting an integrated approach across different stages is often the best method for driving customer-led growth. One of India’s largest automobile manufacturers approached us to develop a front office transformation platform that would change how they engage with their customers, sales and service workforce and dealerships at multiple digital touchpoints across their discovery, purchase and ownership journeys. We identified it as an ideal opportunity to demonstrate our integrated approach of Business, Experience and Technology (BXT). We helped the company define multiple customer personas and journeys, and the optimal experience for each persona type. We used the information obtained as a foundation to build a digital technology platform, created engaging digital content and ran multiple analytics-led campaigns to truly enable the customer journey – from showroom to purchase.

Customer experience is equally important for both services and product companies. The pandemic posed a significant challenge to banking and insurance companies by restricting physical visits that were necessary to meet regulatory compliances while onboarding customers. When an insurance client approached us with this issue, we created a digital collaboration solution that enables the sales/service workforce of the company to digitally connect with its customers and eliminates the need for physical interaction. The Zero Contact Solution (ZCS) for the service industry is technologically enabled to fulfil all know-your-customer (KYC) compliance requirements. It helped in faster resolution of customer issues and provided a better customer experience.

We understand that 70% of failed digital transformations are due to the lack of user adoption and behavioural change.[1] To address this concern, we developed the ‘Adoption by Design’ programme that enabled a global FMCG giant to use data and analytics for better and faster decision making. We understood the needs of the end users in terms of the questions they would be required to answer, the insights they would gain, the data that required to generate those insights and the action they would take. We co-created a future-friendly way of working along with end users that led to better design and implementation. The successful adoption of the programme enhanced productivity by allowing employees to spend less time on non-value adding tasks and also brought in huge savings.

Consumers were compelled to adopt new consumption and purchasing habits during the pandemic. At the outset, business leaders wondered whether these changes, which accelerated trends that were already in motion, would be fleeting or permanent. PwC’s Global Consumer Insights Pulse Survey (June 2021) indicates that the changes are here to stay ‒ signifying a historic and dramatic shift in consumer behaviour.

As digitisation transforms the way of working for organisations in the new normal, businesses are looking at what they can do to future proof their front offices and to ensure that their front offices can deliver responsible growth and sustained outcomes.

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Amit Khanna

Amit Khanna

Leader, Front-office Transformation, PwC India