enterprise, ERP, Kaizen, Software Development, Usability

Serving customer experience

Last few days I went through two separate incidents reminding me of poor business applications resulting into bad customer experience that can easily be avoided – should customer view point is considered while automating any business process. 

1. My elder daughter who is now 17+ was in the process of buying a car. I decided to have her apply for an auto loan where she can be a secondary co-applicant with me – hoping it will start to establish her credit history. We spent multiple hours at one of the major national bank filling out the paper work, etc. only to be reminded after few days that loan can’t be granted with her as a co-applicant given she is a minor. How hard it is to have a simple work flow in the loan application process to error out on the age of a minor while filing the application when certain conditions are not valid? Think about the countless hours wasted of the banker; someone from their lending department and leaving customer with a bad taste who unnecessarily have to go through this long process. 

2. A national university suggests we pay bill on-line to get student registered to their college. We all conduct commerce on-line and now assume certain level of service. However, this university only accepts MasterCard as an acceptable form of payment. It does not accept Visa cards or other popular on-line payment forms. Visa and MasterCard are the big gorilla in the credit industry. In fact, hands down Visa is #1 in the industry with 60% of the market share. MasterCard comes second with close to 30% market share. We happen to be fortunate and had few days left before the deadline for us to apply snail mail way posting cheque in mailbox. Why tout on-line when you can only serve a percent of the customers? 

Anyway, it brings me to the point – automating business processes are to provide improved customer experience. Making business applications usable and customer connected is important.

We experience similar trend in the enterprise software industry – particularly products that have been around for decades and has accumulated lot of features over time. But if those features are hard to use and don’t provide basic reminders or simple error checks – what is the point as they anyway end up in lost productivity and unsatisfied customers. Just ponder – how few features get used when the product is difficult to navigate and hard to use. Feature rich is good – but product build without customer experience in mind is simply not a recipe for success. Applications has to be usable and not just functional to serve desirable customer experience.

Usability matters and it is much more than just cosmetics.

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