A people-centric approach for a successful front-office transformation

Alexander Schultz-Wirth Partner FS Technology Consulting, PwC Switzerland 27 Aug 2019

Clients’ priorities are shaped by their own customers’ needs

The new market reality brought about by the digital transformation is forcing companies to change their business models. The digital era has given birth to a new mindset among end-users, customers and consumers. We all expect service and content that is relevant to what we are doing – anytime, anywhere, and in the format and on the device of our choice. It is this journey that dictates a company’s strategy and the need for change.

The goal for companies now is to provide a seamless experience for customers in a digital-first and technology-first world. There is growing recognition that the digital transformation is revolutionising the front-office function too – after all, this is where the main interactions between customers and companies happen. However, adopting the right technological solutions and integrating them across functions can be a challenge. Our analysis shows that 75% of front-office transformations fail to achieve ROI. In 70% of these cases, this is due to a lack of focus on the people affected by the change.

There is, however, an aspect to any technological transformation initiative that people tend to overlook. For a company to achieve a successful transformation involving advanced technology, we need to go beyond the traditional understanding and definition of a customer. Our experience shows that success comes when the focus is placed squarely on people, and when companies’ employees are treated as customers. This extends the familiar customer-centric approach into a broader people-centric one, reflecting that:

  • People are driven by purpose.
  • People are different.
  • People need technology to be easy to use.
  • People expect interactive experiences.
Enhancing sales functions – narrowing the gap between potential customer needs and the product/service offering

There is no doubt that the sales department plays a central role in the success of any business. It bridges the gap between potential customers’ needs and the products/services that a company offers. In working with our clients, we have found that sales representatives can face a host of challenges that make achieving this a rather cumbersome experience. While the end-goal is usually the same for all our clients – to roll out new customer relationship tools or enhance existing ones – the approaches we take have to be customised to the needs of each client’s employees because people are different.

In some situations, we have achieved better sales efficiency by channelling relevant customer information into one place and providing a 360° view of all client relationships. In others, our focus needed to be on improving the customer experience and establishing new relationships via a centralised platform to drive B2B sales. At a Swiss private bank with operations around the world, we encountered different system organisations at two of their global locations. That meant the client was contending with completely different processes and customisations of the two platforms. This made their main processes inefficient, because operations required too much manual intervention. We sought to make navigation more user-friendly and reduced the number of clicks by 60%, while also raising sales effectiveness by 35% by optimising every process and defining more automated steps to save time.

Marketing shapes the company’s image and contributes to lasting relationships with customers

The relationships companies have with their customers are not solely driven by the sales department. Marketing plays an important role in shaping the company’s image and the associations people make with their products or services. Since sales and marketing often go hand in hand, we have regularly worked with clients to introduce a marketing tool where no marketing system was in place, where firms lacked marketing processes and as such a proper marketing function within their organisation. One such client was a private bank located in Switzerland. It had been using Outlook for marketing purposes, with no overview of click rates or bounces, until our marketing cloud solution provided it with management dashboards incorporating KPI tracking and significantly improved its marketing efforts.

When working with the marketing divisions of our clients we have also learned that both employees and the customers expect technology that is easy to use. By analyzing the purpose that drives their people, both employees and customers of an organization, and setting up respective processes, it is important to also focus on aspects, such as usability design that enhance the customer experience from a marketing perspective. We designed and implemented an integrated solution for marketers, retail sales and consumer care teams across the portfolio of a client in the food industry, achieving a 10% increase in CSAT scores, a 20% decrease in average handling times and a 15% increase in worker productivity. Our client was in the midst of a significant M&A integration that included onboarding 50 new brands, and our solution integrated with its total productivity management (TPM) and revenue growth management (RGM) platforms to unlock growth across the portfolio while also improving the customer experience.

Keeping your customers happy with smooth, efficient customer service processes

Interaction is key to every customer’s journey. The type of business that a company provides and the expectations that customers have are paramount when defining or optimising its customer service department. One of our biggest front-office transformation success stories involved enabling global implementation of a customer service while also leveraging the global organisation. We supported our client towards offering an interactive customer experience throughout the whole organisation, spread across 29 locations.

While global alignment was the main focus with this client, a more innovative vision was brought to life with another client. We helped a hotel business to revolutionise the timeshare industry by bringing a paperless experience to the customer and empowering leadership with a 360˚ view of owner and guest data. PwC and the client collaborated to digitalise the tour booking experience, so as to eliminate outdated manual processes, reduce marketing spend, enable its teams to collaborate on customer needs to drive productivity and create a better customer experience. As a result, 85,000 leads were generated within six months of going live, a five-minute decrease in the time taken to book a tour was recorded and 18,000 tours were booked in the month following launch.

Your front-office transformation with PwC:
  • We give high importance to customised and individual solutions – every client is different.
  • We analyse the purpose that drives people and focus on technology that is easy to use to arrive at the right solution.
  • We always remember that people expect interactive experiences and feed this into the implementation of seamless front-office processes.
PwC partners with the market leader, Salesforce, to support our clients on their way to achieving a better customer experience journey.


Contact us

Alexander Schultz-Wirth

Alexander Schultz-Wirth

Partner FS Technology Consulting and Customer Centric Transformation, PwC Switzerland

Tel: +41 58 792 47 97