Develop together, test, ask for feedback, repeat – successful customer experience in digital services springs from interaction
Digital services have great significance for successful customer experience. Modern system development incorporates continuous dialogue with the end user, stresses Sampsa Somerma, who steers the development of Oriola’s digital B2B services in Finland.
As the pandemic highlighted, digital services are at the core of the customer experience. Consumers are used to having smooth digital service experiences and the same high expectations apply increasingly to B2B services. Securing excellent customer experience was the spark for developing Oriola’s digital services in Finland a few years back. The goal was to create for our customers – pharmaceutical companies, pharmacies and veterinarians – a single digital channel with targeted view and services combined with superior usability.
In spring 2021 we published the first part of our new digital services for pharmacies. Since then, functionalities have increased in phases and currently all our B2B customer groups are using the service in Finland. This illustrates well the philosophy of modern system development: instead of trying to launch the entire service at once, development is done in smaller sprints. The service is never considered completed but is continuously evolving by smaller launches and updates. Each functionality is tested and validated with end users, and the feedback is taken back to the development team.
Usability tests to secure our customer-oriented approach have had a great role in the development of Oriola’s digital services. In practice, we repeatedly visited customers, gave them the system to use and asked them to do certain things. Then we followed how well the customer did. The whole time the customer was also telling us why they clicked a certain way. The purpose was to make sure the services can be used intuitively or that the system says what to do next if the user makes a mistake.
This kind of development work requires close cooperation with customers. The reclamation tool launched early summer is a good example of this. We started the work by interviewing the users to gather understanding of how the process looks from both our and customers’ points of view, and how to achieve the best possible usability. The development phase included many test rounds with end users to get feedback from the functionalities for further development. As a result, instead of the earlier manual procedure, our customers can now handle reclamations in digital services, where the system guides the user to follow the process.
Digital services have a significant role in creating an excellent customer experience, but they only play one part. Each contact point impacts on customer experience – whether it takes place in customer service, transport or product delivery. As in digital service development at its best, the customer experience is never ready but the work continues and in close dialogue.
The most important learnings from customer-oriented system development:
- Courage – As soon as you have a functional, good enough version that creates value to the customer, you should launch it. If the already launched part of the service improves the customer experience, it does not matter that all the functionalities are not ready or that parallel use of the old and the new system is inconvenient for customers for a while.
- Customer involvement – The service will always be better when it is created in cooperation with daily users of the system.
- Business first – Digital services are part of normal business, and the development must serve business needs.
Sampsa Somerma leads the development of B2B digital services at Oriola. Our new digital services in Finland replace the old OriolaPro, which will retire as of 29 August 2022.