Last week, I received a notification from one of my Utility Companies mentioning that my consumer reference number had been changed from a 6 digit number to a totally new 14 digit number.
“Oh No!” I said as I had to update my records (internet banking direct debit and other places accordingly) and use this for future reference.
All this because the company has a new IT system to handle their internal process efficiently.
I thought for a while, “Why do I as a customer have to change my records for something that the vendor has upgraded/changed?”
Some time back, we too - as part of the requirements from our client - had to move their existing customer database to a new system from the currently hosted legacy application. However the main challenge was that their end-customers shouldn’t feel the change. In other words, we had to make the migration seamless.
We planned and implemented the migration keeping following principles in mind.
- • The changes in the company’s IT applications shouldn’t cause any inconvenience to the end-customer.
- • Migration experience needs to be seamless.
- • Operations impact should be minimal. Operations staff needs to be briefed/ trained before-hand to avoid any confusion and to ensure seamless customer experience.
- • Customer complaints, if any, need to be handled wisely as the customer shouldn’t face any break in service or any downtime due to the internal change.
- • Historical data needs to be available, even when the end-customer records are moved across to the new system.
- • Further, in-life process should be able to be handled in the new system for the transitioned assets.
To achieve the above, what is important is:
- • Keep the presentation layer intact.
- • Ensure that there is a translator of the presentation aspects of the old system to those in the new system.
- • Have relevant audit trails (notes, markers) introduced on the transitioned assets for easy reference to your operational/customer contact staff.
- • Train your customer handling staff – to mange this change and ensure that the customer experience is as before or better.
Having gone through both the ‘migration’ experiences - as a customer and as a designer - I am still musing over the following
- • Which approach is better – intimate customer to change or change yourself to give him a seamless experience?
- • Is changing individual (customer) records that difficult/displeasing?
- • Does the vendor need to spend additionally to make migration seamless customer experience?
- • Wouldn’t the customer appreciate the technological upgrade of the vendor and accept the change?
- • Would loyalty switch with the change in the account references?