Customer experience is a top priority, its one of the main things that creates a successful organisation. - I disagree with this statement.
Is it not true that customer experience is merely a priority? Customer experience is far more than that, it defines an organisation; it is what happens in your organisation after a customer has started their interaction. It is as fundamental a thing as you can define.
If you get it wrong and do not align yourself well with the customer from the start, then you are always simply trying to catch up with the customer - any spending time and resources doing it. Get it right, and things get alot easier. If you delegate customer experience to simply a priority, then think again. Tell-tale signs your organisation is making this mistake would be customer feedback reports landing on your desk. Those reports should be focusing on learning about customer workflows feedback.
So, if you want to sort your organisation operations out, and have a good efficient and effective customer workflow, start with the initial customer demand, and align your organisation from that point on - cutting out the barriers to a good flow.
The evidence is proven when working with organisations with a contact centre. It takes a day or so to gauge how effective the customer facing staff are at aligning your customer to do business with you. Then, the next day, the impact of the whole organisation workflow on the customer can be measured. In may contact centres the measurement of wasted work is 20 - 40%.
This is then a very good time to have a conversation, with evidence, about where to start improving your workflow. And technology is not the saviour, you leadership decisions from this point forward are.
From a methodology perspective its not about smiley faces, and questionnaires. this is about seeing an organisation as a system, and then responding to this knowledge with systems thinking leadership - which is surprisingly easy.
One of the organisations I am working with, a local council, has just done a small trial to test out different ways of taking calls. Originally they have calls, coming from a call centre, going into various departments - depending on the nature of the call.
So, the trial was getting wardens - that normally go on the streets and fix problems, to answer the calls. They also tried this with admin staff from the office.
Over two weeks, they found out one really important thing; that the wardens were able to understand the actual problem the caller was calling in for. In this system Over 50% of calls that come in a not exactly what the caller originally presents. So, a call for reporting a problem with noise, may actually be a neighbour dispute problem. So the wardens were able to have a good conversation to get to the heart of the matter.
When they tried to get cheaper admin staff to take the calls, they were not able to understand the calls in the same way. Almost all of them had to be passed on to others to resolve.
When the more expensive wardens take the calls, what does a manager think who has to cut further costs in the system? It is too easy to replace the wardens with admin staff.
The reality is that the wardens were able to resolve 25% of the incoming calls on the phone, without the need for passing on to anyone else to schedule a visit. For calls that they did not resolve there and then, the information was recorded and passed onto a warden, who then had a good understanding of the issue, to resolve the problem. Armed with this information, what decision would the manager now make?
Usually, using a functional model, the manager would hire cheaper staff to staff the phones. Making decisions based on functions, cutting across the workflow work, sub-optimises the flow, and the wrong decision is usually made. This result demonstrates that by understanding the work flow as a system, end to end, results in good information to make better decisions.
Get cheaper people in to staff the phones - it will reduce our costs
Maximise the value work when taking a call, and monitor the result
This is an example of systems thinking.
Just when the news of the Scottish police centralisation of call handlng has shown that there are significant problems with this approach, Mike Penning, a home office minister has stated that the combining of three emergency services will bring significant benefits. This will bring in economies of scale with the sharing of back office services. Efficiency jsut drops out as the answer, doesn't it?
This is not the place to resort to egoistically stating one view over another. No, its time to realise that we, as a nation, relish in stating the obvious. At least, we all think we are stating the obvious, and each of us comes up with the solution that makes sense. Maybe its about time that we stood back a little, and recognise that we keep returning to this style of behaviour like flies around a light bulb.
Its obvious that covering a pan that is boiling over, to stop it from spilling its hot contents is a solution to a problem. But the better solution is to switch off the gas.
Transformation is about doing different things, not doing the same things differently. It is about looking at what we have been doing, and choosing to approach problems from different perspectives. I would suggest to Mike Penning that his good idea, based on common sense, just before he commits millions, to just do a few simple things:
1. Get someone to help you learn how the current system works. Understand its underlying assumptions. Discover the root cause of the issues.
2. Start with a better set of assumptions, and apply a different logic to the problem you have to solve.
3. Start to redesign the system, so that the problem's root causes are eliminated.
4. You end up with a system that works differently than before, will cost less, and performs better.
You need someone to show you how to do it, because it is very difficult to see the system we are in differently, without someone to help us.
Its actually not difficult, and will only take a few weeks to do 1 and 2, but it will save milllions.
Remember this from 2010? The principles were exactly the same...
“FiRecontrol was a project established under the previous Labour Government, and is now being scrapped because it does not work.
“This project has wasted millions of pounds of public money as well as thousands of firefighter hours in trying to bring it to completion.
This is a plea for trying something different, so my tax money will not be wasted again.
I just want to add this about Ian Duncan Smith and Universal Credits. Its the same principle as sharing control centres, related to a process:
"This is the man who is the chief architect of the Universal Credit, which was supposed to have been rolled out in October 2013, and in March 2016 has been rolled out to the grand total of 141,100 people - and by "people", I mean "single men without dependents", the only group whose claims are simple enough to be processed on the Universal Credit."
Stephen Bush, New Statesman
Good grief, look at this! facebook page about universal credit
Helping others to learn how to do better things