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The Executive Series: Start Your Company’s Digital Transformation with Three Key Strategy Principles

By Bernard Leong, Head of Digital Services, Singapore Post


2011 was a pivotal year for Singapore Post. In light of a fast changing consumer landscape and declining mail revenues, we realized early on that transformation was key to the sustainability of the postal industry. This prompted nothing less than the accelerated digitization of our core business units. It also meant that our company’s transformation would only be successful with a clear path to making Singapore Post a future-ready organization. And we felt that becoming the leading eCommerce logistics and trusted communications provider in Asia Pacific would be the way. The APAC region presents tremendous opportunity for the eCommerce sector. It is now considered the largest eCommerce region in the world, surpassing both Europe and North America with an eCommerce turnover of $567.3bn in 2013 according to eCommerce Europe. For a logistics provider like Singapore Post, these figures have only validated plans to accelerate digitization. But transformation for the sake of change is futile without a sound strategy to guide the company’s direction. In the case of Singapore Post, our digital transformation has been founded on three core principles: customers, connectivity, and consistency. Each of these core principles have helped shape the digitalization of Singapore Post, but it has also helped in galvanizing the company towards becoming the leading end-to-end eCommerce logistics solutions provider in the region.

Customer at the Core

Innovation, infrastructure and processes are key to any company-wide transformation. But at the core of any business, regardless of its size, is its customers. SingPost’s focus on customer centricity puts our clients at the center of all our processes, products and services. Business units all across SingPost collaborate with one another to ensure that any and all actions are geared towards improving the customer experience. From our call centres, our mobile applications, our marketing materials to our newly designed post offices and POP stations, every step of the consumer journey is being revamped to meet the rapidly changing needs of today’s tech-savvy, on-the-go customer. But to achieve this transformation, we needed to look inwards and foster a corporate culture that involves putting customers at the front and center of the company. One might ask how such a large organization brings about such change. We start with top management being committed to this transformation, cascade this change in perspective to middle management and finally, empower our front liners to make the change happen where it matters most – with our customers. In fact, all middle and top management staff at SingPost are required to spend time on the front line, so that executives and managers can experience first-hand the needs and concerns of customers, as well as the challenges of their front-line staff. This allows the company to address concerns and develop new services by asking fundamental questions such as:

  • How does this service serve our customers better?
  • How can this service be communicated clearly to our customers?
  • How can we ensure that customers get value out of this service?

Digital transformation has far reaching implications, particularly to businesses as large as Singapore Post. But having a customer centric culture allows a company to ground transformation towards a singular goal – providing the best customer experience possible.

Stay Connected

In the highly competitive logistics and eCommerce landscape, providing a wide range of solutions and services is of the utmost importance. And along with greater options, customers are also expecting a more seamless experience that allows them to connect with brands both online and offline, often switching between the two quite frequently. This is why SingPost has also focused its efforts into creating a synergy across our product and service offerings so that customers have access to our products anytime, anywhere, regardless of what device they are on. An example is Singapore Post’s SAM Kiosk, a physical terminal found in 300 locations all across Singapore, that are designed to provide customers with a variety of post and transaction-related services. SAM Kiosks allow users to access their mail 24/7, pay bills, buy stamps, make ticket bookings, as well as top-up on a variety of pre-paid services. Going beyond these physical kiosks, SingPost expanded the SAM suite of services by launching SAM Web and SAM Mobile, giving customers the ability to access SAM services online. This unprecedented level of connectivity in the postal space provides a unique opportunity for customers to engage with Singapore Post across multiple touch points.

Consistency is Key

A key challenge for organizations undergoing a rapid digital transformation is staying consistent. While this sounds almost contradictory to the notion of transforming, consistency is indeed key to ensuring your customers recognise your brand and view it as reliable, regardless of how they connect with it. Singapore Post is constantly looking at how we can continue to provide our customers with more integrated experiences, while still maintaining a consistent messaging. In our newly designed post offices, for example, all logos and symbols are designed to represent key customers actions such as delivering or receiving parcels. This visual lexicon is applied to everything from our physical terminals to our mobile applications, ensuring a consistent experience for our customers. This also means that are systems and processes both online and offline run with a fluid efficiency that is tested and re-tested long before they hit the market. Regardless of the platform being used or the service being accessed, it is important that customers receive the same positive experience through any touch point, across any venue at any given time.

Transformation with a Purpose

Transformation cannot be made for the sake of change, in the same way that products and services cannot be provided for the sake of innovation. They all must serve a purpose, and further the overall strategy of the company. With regards to Singapore Post, that means growing the company into a organization that values customers, connectivity and consistency, with a transformation that begins from within.

Dr Bernard Leong

Dr Bernard Leong

Head of Digital Services at Singapore Post Ltd

Dr Bernard Leong is the Head of Digital Services for Singapore Post Pte Ltd, overseeing the Group’s digital, mobile & social media strategy, along products and innovation across the organization. When not donning his corporate hat, Dr Leong plays a key role in the Southeast Asia’s entrepreneurial ecosystem, serving as Entrepreneur-in-Residence at INSEAD Business School and mentor for JFDI.Asia, the region’s leading startup incubator.

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