Businesses throughout the globe, no matter what the industry, know more than ever that their products and services must be as good as they are perceived to be. It's a well-known fact that a happy customer will tell a couple of people, whereas a disgruntled customer will tell more than 3x as many.
With that in mind, the differentiator in the 21st century between competitors has naturally become customer service. As a consumer myself I'll regularly shop where I get treated the best - poor experience will stop me going back again, whereas building up a positive experience will in time buy my loyalty.
This theory works within businesses too on the internal employee experience side - a happy employee who has what they need to do their job well with all the tools they need to hand (even through a pandemic), will be happier than the one who is struggling to get work done, if for example they have access issues to important information outside the office environment.
So, what comes first? It seems to be a regularly debated topic when I speak to everyone around me - a business isn't a business without customers, but employee retention and happiness is also vital.
Interestingly, ServiceNow's UK-based government customer Ben Davies from DEFRA explains that "ServiceNow CSM (Customer Service Management) has been a morale booster" — so improving the customer experience can help employee happiness.
Moving from this theory, what then happens when customer experience AND employee experience are optimised? That's what we are increasingly calling Nirvana, or the experience economy — an all-round great experience for everyone in your ecosystem, whoever they may be.
Customer’s reaching for Nirvana
I'm fortunate enough to talk to customers regularly and learn from them the experience benefits to either customers or employees, and in the more digitally advanced companies, the nirvana that can be created with having both great experiences and the happiness factor that can blossom between the two.
This ‘nirvana experience' is underpinning some of the world's most critical operations. Take a look at how NHS Scotland built its COVID-19 contact tracing service in just four weeks using the ServiceNow platform, where the government there recognized the need for a human-centred approach to the system — not just for those managing contacts, but for those being contacted. It is now using the platform for rolling out its COVID-19 vaccines too.
Those who are bold and disruptive will thrive; those who allow themselves to be disrupted will trail behind. This in turn means becoming agile and proactive.
Unlocking this agility and proactivity requires a less strict interpretation of what your business and industry is, and what it does. Businesses need to shift their mindset from being, say, a bank, telecom provider, or manufacturer to being a service provider that is backed with the digital smarts to provide what employees and customers actually want, not what you think they want.
After all, the future of work won't roll out along the arbitrary lines and silos we've created in the past. The fewer restrictions you can place on your business, the more avenues and opportunities you have for growth.
We can only secure this agility, flexibility, and laser-precise customer focus if we turn to comprehensive digital transformation.
Simply dabbling in digital or turning to piecemeal adoption of new technologies and new systems here and there is not enough.
During the ServiceNow Knowledge 21 event this year we have many customers globally talking about how — with the use of technology their organisations are achieving these goals.
One theme that resonates with all our customer speakers is the use of a Workflow to achieve their businesses Nirvana goals, whatever they may be. It means simply making work, flow.
Workflow has rapidly risen to become the hero of the modern enterprise.
Join ServiceNow's CEO Bill McDermott and colleagues at the ServiceNow Knowledge 2021 event keynote on 11th May, as they lead us on a journey full of inspiring examples to explore the endless possibilities of workflow, and why it is the critical doorway to success.
For more diginomica stories from Knowledge 2021 visit our Knowledge 2021 event hub. Knowledge 2021 opened on May 11th and sessions are available to view on-demand until October 2021. This is the event registration link.