Project Management Institute

Change the Channel

EPMOs Can Help Ensure New Digital Tools Connect with Customers

By Abid Mustafa

More companies are launching digital channels to capture value in their market. Mobile apps, chatbots and online portals are just a few types of channels their teams create to entice customers to do things like shop, view and pay bills, and use support services.

A huge proportion of new digital channels fail to engage customers, however. Sometimes low customer adoption is due to a poor user experience. But in my experience, the problem is more often a result of organizations failing to educate customers about the value of digital channels so they can leave old habits behind. This has happened at my company, the telecom Etisilat.

Traditionally, sales and marketing drive the delivery of digital channels. These departments don't tend to pay enough attention to getting customers to change habits. But enterprise project management offices (EPMOs) can add enormous value and overcome customer indifference if they're involved from start to finish with projects and programs delivering digital channels. The EPMO's proximity to the C-suite, neutrality and ability to break down departmental boundaries all help drive the terms of channel adoption through teams to customers.

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WHAT ARE THE PAIN POINTS?

The first step is for EPMOs to get involved early in assisting project teams to align adoption strategies to the customer base. When those strategies are set, EPMO leaders should present their key points to executives.

After that, the onus is on the EPMO to closely monitor adoption progress. This means getting involved with things like vetting customer surveys, preparing onboarding messages and creating adoption incentive policies. To aid project teams, EPMO leaders can devise a set of metrics that reveal why customers might not use a new digital channel. The metrics should answer questions like: How many customers received notification about a new digital channel? How many understood where to find the channel? How many had a hard time finding the credentials necessary to use it?

For those customers failing to go digital, the EPMO must lead a war room to uncover root causes. These findings, along with better courses of action to drive adoption, should then be presented to the C-suite. By giving executives visibility into customers' adoption pain points, an EPMO can help prevent very expensive channel failures. PM

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Abid Mustafa has worked with project management offices for 11 years. His book In the Age of Turbulence: How to Make Executive PMOs Successful is available in paperback and on Kindle.

This material has been reproduced with the permission of the copyright owner. Unauthorized reproduction of this material is strictly prohibited. For permission to reproduce this material, please contact PMI.

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