Business Process Re-engineering: Internet Related Strategies

Business reengineering is an operation that redesigns business processes with the aim of increasing productivity and providing a competitive advantage. The demand for business reengineering has increased in recent times, this is because as technology improves, a lot of the business processes that were established before the information age have become less effective. As businesses grow, more people are employed, customers expect more, and procedures must be improved to meet immediate needs and eliminate wasted steps. The basic original logic does not hold up in a competitive environment where every business must be digitalised in order to survive. The internet can be used to help businesses achieve this.

Businesses that incorporate the internet with their operations can realise new opportunities and strengths. There are many ways to use the internet to re-engineer business processes, companies must make a decision on which methods would be best-suited, taking into account the strategy of the business. The internet can be employed to automate manual procedures, expand data flows to reach more functions and create new business processes that generate new models for the business. Regardless of the size of an organisation, the internet has both tangible and intangible benefits that can increase revenue and produce the results that meet customer expectations.

Customer engagement is a business process that encourages participation in and connection with a business’s offerings and/or organizational activities, this can be initiated by either the customer or the business. Traditional customer engagement methods include cold calling, posting letters, and speaking with customers in person among many others. There are limitations on this approach to customer engagement which has called for the discovery of new ways to revamp the process. Online customer engagement offers more for the business, the section below explores some of its benefits.

Advantages of Using the Internet for Customer Engagement

Convenience for Customers
A survey conducted by DataReportal discovered that there were nearly 4.48 billion people using the internet as of October 2019, this encompasses 58 percent of the world’s population. People checking their emails is now the most popular activity on the internet in Great Britain. An article written by Daniella Léger explains how businesses can use different communication strategies to reach their target audience, one of the methods described in this article highlights the use of social media to reach people. “Creating change begins with meeting people where they are”. This is an important aspect of re-engineering the customer engagement process, businesses must meet customers where they are, making sure the barriers of communication are minimal, allowing customers to interact with ease. The use of internet-related strategies such as email, blogs, social media, etc. are convenient for customers, a 2019 survey I conducted asking people which medium of communication they would most likely to respond to if contacted by a business, showed that email is the most favoured option. Businesses must pay attention and capitalize on this shift, the use of internet resources connect businesses with customers easier than manual procedures are capable of.

Efficient Data Governance
As of 2018, an estimated 2.65 billion people were using social media across the globe, this is predicted to increase to nearly 3.1 billion by 2021. As the popularity of social media continues to grow, the availability and amount of customer data simultaneously increase. Social media sites provide users with a platform to express themselves and connect with other people that share mutual interests. There is now a vast amount of customer data available due to the rise in the use of social media. Companies can benefit from this as it offers the opportunity to collate customer data from social media and eventually use it to inform business decisions, assist other departments and ultimately improving customer relationship management. Customer data can be used by companies to create a tailor-made experience with the aim of precisely appealing to their target audience. Although there may be customer information that seems insignificant, learning about what type of content potential customers are interested in or what topics are trending can help businesses develop knowledge to determine the best way to reach out to and maintain relationships with customers. The use of the internet in customer engagement allows brands to learn more about customers than is even possible with traditional methods. In an anonymous questionnaire I conducted, I asked people how much information about them is available on the internet, the results showed that most people have their names, gender, and ages available online. This is not surprising, as the provision of these details is almost a pre-requisite to performing activities on the internet, it is information that is readily available and would not need as much effort in sourcing as traditional methods would require. The understanding of what demographic your target audience is can be used as intelligence for companies allowing them to ensure customer engagement is profitable.

The internet also allows businesses to update their customer data in real-time, changes to customer profiles can be amended with efficiency. This cannot be achieved as efficiently using traditional business processes. Companies are now able to keep their customer data dynamic; this is important for the customer outreach process. Businesses can stay connected with customers even when their contact details change, ultimately making the customer engagement process more successful.

Increase in Visibility
The internet is available across the world, there are millions of users in every continent it’s a platform for businesses to expand their local visibility to a wider audience. Businesses are no longer restricted by location allowing customers from different countries to interact with the business. It provides the opportunity for businesses to convert interactions online into revenue, driving potential customers to their online and physical shops. In an interview conducted with dkB Markets CEO, Dr. Aderemi Banjoko, I asked what the advantages are of having an online presence in relation to how customers engage with his business. He expressed that the ability to “reach a wider and global audience with very low costs” and customers being able to connect easily have allowed his business to launch successful campaigns online on a regular basis.

Businesses are able to develop their brand reputation, using the internet to influence how they wish to be perceived by customers. Social media gives customers further insight into what a business represents, this helps in building a connection with customers and increases the probability of getting responses from customer outreach, customers are able to feel a sense of familiarity and loyalty with brands. A study carried out by the Harvard Business Review identified the “decision simplicity index,” as a tool for measuring customer engagement. The tool gauges how easy it is for consumers to: learn about a business, trust information available about a business, and weigh their options. The easier a business makes the purchase-decision journey, the higher its decision-simplicity score will be. Brands that have high decision-simplicity scores are more likely to be patronised by customers than businesses with low scores

Efficient Communication
The speed of communication between a business and its customers is a lot faster with the internet. Online communication is available at all hours of the day and is accessible worldwide. Private messages on social media, comments on vlogs and blogs, replies to social media content, etc. all facilitate this online communication. Businesses can get instant replies and through this, quickly build a relationship with customers providing a personal touch to the customer engagement process. There is also the possibility to improve customer service by archiving conversations between customers, keeping a record of previous customer engagement can speed up the process of solving customer issues and ultimately improve customer satisfaction. Businesses that engage with customers online are able to avoid the costs and increase efficiency by streamlining all communication channels through the internet, while traditional communication methods create unnecessary expenses in the form of phone bills, postage, etc.