How can an enterprise business transform the digital experience it provides to B2B customers and its own employees? The answer is to learn from the power of the latest consumer-grade experiences we are all familiar with outside of the workplace.
It’s a lesson that Elsewhen applies in all our enterprise digital experience engagements – and which had particular relevance in a recent project for a global communications provider.
Remember, business people are consumers too
Companies providing business-to-business (B2B) products and services may believe that ‘consumerisation’ does not apply to them. The same could be thought about the tools that organisations use to support their own people.
But the key thing to recall is that in both these situations, you are delivering experiences to humans –all of whom are also consumers, with the same demanding expectations as any other person.
That’s why consumerisation is vitally relevant for today’s enterprise. In this context, consumerisation is the reorientation of product and service designs to focus on the end-user as an individual consumer. This is in contrast with traditional organisation-oriented offerings – where the personal user experience was not given much attention.
In the case of our recent project, we found that B2B customers valued and depended on the company’s advanced products and services – but they were less satisfied with the legacy manual customer service processes. They encountered a disconnected, disjointed experience across the customer journey, requiring a complex mix of online channels, email and call centre support.
Today, business people like these will rightly expect all their providers to offer the same quality of digital experience as they would enjoy in their personal life as a consumer.
From their life outside work, every business person knows how easy and convenient it is to use Facebook, Amazon or Netflix. These consumer-grade experiences are intuitive, customer-centric, fast and flexible. It’s no longer a valid excuse for an organisation to protest: “But that’s not how we do things” – because if you won’t, your competitors certainly will.
Aspects of a consumer-grade digital experience
So what raises an enterprise digital experience up to the consumer-grade level? Among the key qualities are:
It must be simple to use and intuitive. Today’s consumer platforms such as Facebook and Amazon do not require a user manual. The user interface (UI) of successful consumer applications is clear, natural and obvious to explore and operate, with contextual help and support offered automatically as needed.
A modern digital experience must enable the user not only to access it via a PC at the office. It must be equally accessible on the move with the user’s mobile device, whether via a native app or mobile-optimised website. The pandemic era of working from home has additionally demonstrated why it must be accessible via the cloud from wherever the user may be currently – using a software-as-a-service (SaaS) model.
While business technology has traditionally been meant to be robust and resilient, in reality there has been acceptance that enterprise systems will sometimes go offline for maintenance or upgrades, especially outside conventional business hours – or that they may just ‘go down’ occasionally under severe loads.
This kind of performance would be unacceptable in a consumer platform. Business users will now be intolerant if they cannot get work done at evenings or weekends – or if there are unexpected outages.
Business people want to get tasks done quickly, and have no patience for laggy performance, long load times or disjointed user journeys. They are accustomed to consumer-grade experiences – where such issues have been smoothed out through extensive user testing, iterative refinements and intelligent process design.
People want an experience that is tailored to their needs, behaviour, likes, dislikes, and individual requirements and use cases. The system should learn and remember the way the user likes to work – not the other way around.
Users of consumer-grade experiences expect that any issues will be fixed quickly. They want frequent seamless improvements based on their feedback that occur automatically in the background – not a jarring annual version upgrade.
Making it a reality for the enterprise and B2B customer
Legacy systems are often deeply entrenched in how an enterprise business serves customers or employees. While the company may see the advantages that a consumerised experience could bring, the journey to make this a reality can seem extremely daunting. This is why collaborating with a digital transformation partner like Elsewhen can make the difference – enabling consumerisation of digital experience in a range of key areas:
An external consultancy can provide expertise at pushing the user voice and customer perspective to the core of the change. Your organisation benefits from an approach that combines user interviews, research and testing with an extensive understanding of best practice in digital products.
Agile ways forward
The required transformation may initially appear a major challenge – but by applying agile ways of working and proven methodologies, you can enable rapid and pragmatic transformation, with incremental benefits at each stage.
By working with expert designers, you can create a clear and consistent design system for your UI, allowing you to implement an experience that advances your enterprise brand.
With an expert team, familiar with the latest technologies for digital products, you can ensure a highly responsive experience that works seamlessly across all your channels, cloud and mobile.
Explore our case studies to learn more
Elsewhen is a digital product consultancy based in London, UK. As an agency partner to leading global brands, our services include digital transformation, digital strategy and digital product design consulting.