I’ve been out and about lately and seen an increasing number of organizations that are heralding their evolution into modern businesses because they have updated their infrastructure for speed and they have implemented systems to keep them aligned with the business.
In our rush to “optimize” and “standardize” we may have forgotten about “personalize” and “consumerize”. It has almost been a decade since we were talking about “The Long Tail” on a daily basis and at the board level. We did shift our businesses so that we could target our offering more directly at our individual customers. And, today, we are focused on the most personal of platforms by deploying solutions directly to the devices that our customers carry in their pockets and pocketbooks.
But did we miss something? Are we still trying to make our systems be one-size-fits-all even though the products and services those systems deliver are highly customized to individual needs?
I’d like to explore with you the idea that we should be able to personalize the process we we engage in when we do business.
For example: every time I check in at the kiosk at United it asks me if I am carrying an infant (never) and if I want to purchase additional miles (never). When I check out my groceries at Whole Foods it asks me if I want cash back (never). When I call Cigna about my healthcare from my cell phone it asks me my date-of-birth, last four of my social security number, my member number even though I only ever call from my cell phone which it knows is my cell phone.
What I am talking about here is the idea that processes need to be adaptive. They need to learn about the users and their habits and adjust and a adapt accordingly. Why should my experience, as a weekly United flyer, be the same as my mum’s, who flies once a year? Why can’t Cigna detect my phone and connect me straightaway without the phone tree maze? Why doesn’t Whole Foods give me back a few seconds every time I shop and not bother with the question about cash back?
What would a world look like where businesses adapt their processes to meet the way the customer wants to work? Maybe we need to shift our focus again.