Reducing the amount of time a customer has to spend is one of the best ways to improve the customer experience.

The essence of digital is speed. Customers are obsessed with saving time. Those organizations who save customers' time are like digital magnets. These days, customers are also obsessed with saving money. They go to the Web to research, to compare, to find the best deal.

The more time an organization takes from its customers, the greater the digital threat is. Wasted time is the goldmine of the digital competitor. Your complexity and bureaucracy is your competitors’ opportunity.

According to a customer experience report published by McKinsey in March 2017, an insurance start-up called Lemonade, 

"allows distressed customers who have lost property to submit a claim via a video message on their mobile phone. The company reviews the message using anti-fraud algorithms, cross-references it against the customer’s policy, and then transfers the appropriate funds to the customer’s bank account. While these are still early days for the start-up, it is declaring speeds for processing claims in matters of seconds.”

The McKinsey report also stated that:

  • A telecom provider used digital to cut its sign up time for new customers by two-thirds
  • A major North American bank reduced the time to sign up for a deposit account from two weeks to less than 10 minutes
  • Another bank found if it took more than 20 minutes to apply for an account, the net promoter score (NPS) declined; if activating the new account took more than a day, or receiving the debit card and PIN took more than five days, the NPS fell sharply

Digital pioneers, such as Jeff Bezos and Larry Page, have long been obsessed with saving customer time. Speed is at the core of the Google culture. Page doesn’t talk in seconds, he talks in milliseconds. Bezos seeks to drive down customer time in every part of the business. 

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Fast and convenient — with the customer at the controls — this is the mantra of digital.

If organizations want to truly thrive in the digital landscape they must measure from the outside in. They must truly focus on the customers. They must attack the "costs" a customer has when interacting with the organization. 

This is what true customer experience excellence is about. This is what real digital transformation is about. A customer-centric mindset, rather than an organization-centric one, will be the true driver of value in the digital age. And it begins with time: an obsession with saving the customer time.

This will be a challenge for traditional organizations. Up until now, most of them have used digital to reduce organizational costs. An automated phone system wastes customer time so as to save money for the organization. A great many websites are poorly designed, poorly managed and short-staffed because organizations want to deliver self-service in the cheapest possible way.

Waste customer time and you will lose customers.

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