“If an organization is not ready for the change, or sold technology that is an overkill, they run into trouble”
The Grid: We know that new technological innovation can be extremely well-received by consumers or just as equally rejected. As a Mobile App Publisher and Digital solutions provider, how do you educate SME clients, who want to implement technological change so they can remain competitive and ultimately delight their customer base?
NgageU: Firstly, we try to make them aware of the difference between ‘automation’, where business processes are optimised by reducing human intervention versus ‘digitization’, where the same processes are optimised by reducing the amount of paper used.
From there, we talk to them about ‘digital automation’, which is a combination of both. Technological change doesn’t always mean reinventing the wheel and starting from scratch.
Whatever the solution, simplifying business processes to enhance the customer experience is the priority. We keep that at the core of all discussions and make sure the client is not blindsided or bedazzled by the technology.
The Grid: And how do you make sure of that?
NgageU: This requires us staying true to who we are as a company too. While we design & build mobile apps and digital solutions, we do not see ourselves as a purely technology business but more of a ‘consumer convenience’ business, which means:
- We focus on how to make life easier and less cluttered for the consumer and how to deliver new value that will be readily embraced.
- We don’t just build technology just for the sake of it.
- We avoid ‘geekiness’ in discussions with our clients.
We always try to bring clients back to centre by focusing on the business process and the business model that frames it. There is always the question of their own internal readiness for it. The discussion then evolves into if the solution is a fit for their customers and how to prepare those customers to receive the innovation and ‘own’ it so it becomes a seamless way of life for them.
The Grid: We see commercial banks are the forefront of adopting mobile solutions that simplify processes and make the lives of their consumers much easier.
NgageU: Yes exactly. You can now deposit a cheque from the comfort of your home by simply taking a photo of the cheque using the bank’s mobile app. An extremely customer convenient service as well as being very environmentally friendly as you don’t have to physically go to the bank to deposit your cheque anymore. This is an example of digital automation. It’s not just the technology per se. It’s just streamlining what was already there all the while making life that little bit more convenient for the customer and ultimately this fosters customer loyalty.
Mohamed Ali, co-founder, seated far right at Venture Cafe Talks event curated by The Grid at The Cribb, Dubai.
The Grid: How do clients usually initiate conversations with you and how do you help them assess their needs? Not all organisations have a resident CTO who can talk the talk. What does that journey usually look like with a regular SME’s, for instance?
NgageU: They will often come to us asking for an app, to which we respond, ‘look hold your horses and let’s understand what your business is…does your business processes warrant an app and is it ready for one. …maybe your team isn’t ready for it’.
In terms of making an assessment, it’s like this, companies used to follow a process, which had its limitations, but was the norm. We come in and say, ‘you know what, from a technology angle, we can short-circuit a lot steps in the process or come up with a new process that makes a lot more sense’ and that solution may be online or offline.
Working alongside the management teams of clients, we always ask for their existing process framework and together we review their current procedures & processes; where they highlight the red lines and we bring in the customer angle. Through a ‘fresh pair of eyes’ approach, we help them map out potentially enhanced scenarios and invite our clients to challenge these scenarios until we reach the desired result. A very detailed process whereby we embed the company’s ethos into the new digital/mobile framework, from communication to transactions to feedback.
During a recent project of a new startup looking to launch a home services mobile app, we were able to successfully navigate our client to understand that their focus should be homemakers, who represent the market segment who are most willing to pay for the services on offer.
Creating a 3 tap to completion process makes the user very comfortable and less frustrated during a situation when they need to make use of the services being offered. This creation of convenience means customers become evangelists for the app and are ready to help potential customers sign up to the service.
The Grid: In summary, organisations should take a measured and strategic approach to automating or digitizing their business processes otherwise they could end up with a new set of problems to fix.
NgageU: If an organization is not ready for the change, or sold technology that is an overkill, they run into trouble, particularly in this region where change management can be a big cultural shock. Trying to sell your potential client technology is always a bad start to a relationship. Every aspect of how an organization operates has changed in the last 15 years, though some will say not always for the best reasons, the automation of many aspects of our world has seen many of our global co-workers not always prepared to embrace that evolution. Therefore, to plan for success its crucial to draw in the whole team to understand their wants and at the same time affording you the opportunity to demonstrate how the digital world would solve or mitigate their issues. As relationship-builders we should also accept when what we’re trying to sell is not appropriate, your client will thank you for that too.
Even though we’re working in a digital universe now, the human interface of understanding your customer’ wants and delivering their needs is a sure way of success.
This is an extract from an interview with Mohamed Ali and Mahmood Jessa, Co-Founders, NgageU.
NgageU is a story teller & concept builder in the digital and mobile app space with a primary focus on creating customer convenience solutions as well as developing propriety and client commissioned B2B & B2B2C platforms. www.ngageu.com
Interview by May Khizam, Founder & Chief Strategist, The Grid Media Ltd
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