Disclaimer: The views expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of the Economic Times – ET Edge Insights, its management, or its members

Delhi,,India:,29,January,2019:,Petrol,Pump,Attender,Putting,Petrol

The average Indian PSU is not known for being digitally-savvy, cloud-enabled or customer-centric. But Bharat Petroleum Corporation Ltd (BPCL) is changing that narrative with the successful implementation of Project Anubhav in partnership with global software major SAP. The sheer scale of the digital transformation achieved via Project Anubhav is poised to make this one of the greatest tech transformation stories in the world of business. Serving over 2.2 million customers a day across its 20,000+ fuel stations and another 85 million LPG customers, BPCL’s digital transformation challenge was unprecedented. Project Anubhav sought to create history by embracing digital technology and the cloud at scale.

Until a few years ago, there was an accepted nature of the interactions between BPCL and its customers. There was no unified view of the company from the customer’s perspective – for example a fuel customer had little idea of the LPG or lubricant business, while the company did not have visibility into the customer’s holistic energy needs. The digital transformation initiative aimed at changing this customer experience based on the three pillars of trust, convenience and personalization.

Raman Dhillon, Head of Digital Transformation at BPCL says, “Today’s customers expect the same kind of a user experience from us as they would from a Netflix or Amazon, where things happen at a single touch without hassles. We need to step up to deliver this across our touchpoints with them.” The belief of the project was to keep the customer experience front and centre, giving a single window view into BPCL’s offerings and enabling transactions in a trusted, secure and personalized environment.

At the leading edge of this initiative was the Hello BPCL app, that presents a unified super-app style of functioning to access fuel services, LPG services, lubricants and more to a customer. For example, to address customer issues of trust at fuel stations, the app allows you to pre-buy a certain value of fuel and pay for it digitally. Once at the fuel station a simple QR Code scan loads the fuel value into the system, leading to a seamless experience with no human intervention. Another area of customer confidence building was with the fluctuations in fuel prices. In a volatile fuel price market, customers are naturally anxious whether they are being charged the correct rate. Nozzle-level technology at BPCL’s fuel stations ensures that if there is any discrepancy detected in the fuel price loaded on the system the nozzle is automatically deactivated. The technology layer required to bring these changes to life reflects the commitment to the customer’s experience and enhance their quality of interactions with the company.

Riding on the comprehensive, yet flexible omnichannel strength of the SAP Commerce Cloud, BPCL reimagined its customer journeys across different persona types to digitally transform the customer experience. It began engagement with business leaders at over 400 workshops where the teams aided by SAP functional experts shaped the technology and processes for better customer-centricity. But in order to deliver this experience, it was important that the supply chains were also totally integrated, with a real-time view. This led to the birth of the command control centre, called IRIS – a single system to monitor and control all BPCL assets, enabling safety, security & compliance and most importantly, flawless customer experience. The teams re-created seamless processes for customer onboarding, ordering, payments, fulfilments, etc. across omni-channels environments like mobile apps, websites, etc.

“In the process of crafting the customer experience transformation journey, the role of SAP has been extremely important. We got all necessary support to ideate and implement the right solutions to achieve this scale. This partnership will be remembered for a long time”, acknowledges Mr. Dhillon. The SAP team found this engagement enriching as well.  “BPCL is spearheading an innovative approach towards easing the lives of Indians and building the nation,” says Sudeep Singh, Vice President and Head of CX Business, SAP Indian Subcontinent. “We are privileged to collaborate with BPCL in its journey to enhance customer experience and also boost the vision of ‘Digital India’ at scale.”

The future holds exciting promise for a digital journey of such epic proportions. Plug-n-play cloud solutions, EV charging stations, regional language enabled chatbots that cover over 600 customer scenarios are all initiatives that are set to push the envelop forward.

For SAP partnerships the integrated Customer Experience (CX) is one of the key levers of digital transformation. It is a fusion of channels, such as retail outlets, customer service desk, self-service kiosks, online chat, chatbots, personalized physical robots or virtual assistants. Companies like BPCL are transitioning from brick-and-mortar to omnichannel businesses, empowering customers with its digital initiatives to ensure a seamless, trust-positive, convenient and personalized shopping experience.

Disclaimer: The views expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of the Economic Times – ET Edge Insights, its management, or its members

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