Here's what you need to know about AusPost's digital transformation. Source: Twitter / AusPost

Here’s what you need to know about AusPost’s digital transformation. Source: Twitter / AusPost

Why AusPost is a great example of ‘thoughtful digital transformation’

ORGANIZATIONS are chasing digital transformation because it’s the smart thing to do. Not only is it a way to appease stakeholders but also reduce costs and boost efficiencies.

According to IDC, businesses will spend US$1.2 trillion on digital transformation this year as they seek an edge in the digital economy.

“Digital transformation is quickly becoming the largest driver of new technology investments and projects among businesses,” said IDC Customer Insights and Analysis Group’s Research Manager Craig Simpson.

Unfortunately, many of those investments often fail to delight customers — and ultimately, fail to earn the returns promised in the first place.

It’s exactly why subject experts suggest that companies focus on thoughtful digital transformation — or customer-centric digital transformation. This not only helps make the right choices when it comes to digital projects but also wows customers, every step of the way.

An example of a company that seems to follow this approach is AusPost.

In an exclusive interview with Tech Wire Asia, AusPost Head of Marketing – Customer Relationship Management Kirsty MacCulloch revealed several projects that really proved why thoughtful digital transformation is a great idea.

“One example we can share focuses on parcel deliveries. Each morning our drivers scan all the parcels they are delivering that day as they put them into the van.

“This triggers a text message to customers to tell them their parcel is on its way to them – but also gives them the flexibility to manage their delivery.”

AusPost’s system allows customers to text back

  • If they are going to be home
  • If they’d like the company to leave the parcel in a safe place, or
  • If they’d like Auspost to take the parcel to their local post office.

“It’s really simple and both customers and our drivers find it really helpful. Over 70 percent of customers respond in the first 30 minutes of receiving the text message.

As a a result of this project, AusPost’s Net Promoter Score (measuring customer satisfaction — and by extension, customer experience) is much higher.

The company is also more likely to deliver the parcel to customers the first time, which is great because it lowers costs and improves efficiency almost immediately.

“Behind the scenes though, it’s a complex integration. The signal from the driver’s hand held scanner goes to our parcel management system which then sends the details to our marketing automation platform to send out the SMS.

“The customer response then needs to go back through the marketing automation system, to the parcel management system and back to the scanner so the driver can collect the instructions. All of this happens in real time and within a short window every morning.”

Of course, the company has a lot of different technology available to them, but right now, AusPost is really focused on doing what delights customers — simple, practical things that make life better.

AusPost’s MacCulloch believes that digitization is one of the ways AusPost makes it easier for its customers to choose, buy, and use its services.

“And with a business that’s over 200 years old – digitizing more of our processes and operations means we can run our business more efficiently and that means better outcomes for customers too.”

MacCulloch’s team understands that there are clear benefits to digital transformation, but also know that since they’re dealing with a large and complex organization with lots of legacy systems, they need to learn to prioritize.

She emphasizes that business leaders need to know what to improve from a health and hygiene perspective, put in the right governance practices in place, how to keep information secure and private.

But most importantly, she emphasized that AusPost (or any business) must know what (digital) projects can give customers a better experience and the business a better outcome — those are the ones that the organization should pursue.

MacCulloch also reveals that the company manages a lot of information from its customers across different systems in operations, retail, its website, contact center, and more.

“By connecting this together and creating meaning from it – we can have more relevant, timely and helpful conversations, across the different channels our customers interact with us.”

AusPost also emphasizes on strong cross-functional collaboration across its segment, digital, and support functions to help prioritize and ensure projects and programs have the right focus and management to achieve the business objectives.

“And we keep projects short – breaking longer-term goals down into shorter sprints so that we get outcomes along the way and maintain business commitment.”

Everything McCulloch and her team does is geared to put a smile on the customer’s face. That’s the key to thoughtful digital transformation.

While think tanks provide plenty of advice to businesses looking to create thoughtful digital transformation (or customer-centric digital transformation), the key piece that everyone tends to focus on is, of course, the customer.

No digital transformation project can be successful if it doesn’t make the life of its customers better.

KPMG Australia’s Customer, Brand & Marketing Advisory Partner Maree Mamo recently pointed out in a blogpost that one of the reasons digital transformations fail is that organizations are tempted to leap straight to ‘solution’.

For example, they seek to solve the problem through implementing a new technology solution (like a new CRM, or marketing platform), building an app, building a data lake to obtain a ‘single customer view’, or implementing Agile software development.

Whilst these initiatives may form part of the solution, the challenge is to first identify and diagnose the customer problem in order to then determine what the future could look like; a future experience informed by customer insight. This allows the organization to work back from that, towards the solutions that could deliver it.

KPMG’s Mamo hits the nail on the head with her advice — because the biggest and best digital transformation projects aren’t going to be those that use multi-million dollar, cutting-edge technology.

They’re going to be ones that win hearts so customers become fans and willingly open their wallets to do business with the brands. That’s the essence of thoughtful digital transformation — and that’s where AusPost is leading by example.