Re-imagining your business by putting the customer at the heart of your service
Is this phrase part of your corporate message?
Putting the customer at the heart of what we do
Is this simply replacing the previous corporate message, that replaced the one before that...
Are you ready to put messages asides and make this really work for your organisation?
I sometimes say to organisational leaders - this is like renting offices across the road, hiring staff and starting again. How would you design your service differently?
You would hire managers that know whats going on, and know how to motivate and lead delegated teams
The workflows would be designed from scratch to follow what matters for each customer.
Waste would be minimised so that staff know how to focus on value.
Staff would work together in teams, making decisions that optimise the workflow.
The technology would be designed to support your transformed workflow.
Leaders would receive real information that helps them to make smart decisions.
Transformation is exactly this - and it starts with putting the customer at the heart of what we do. And it ends when every part of the organisation is supporting that - not in words, but in actions. Service Design famously uses personas to help create a new focus. But these new personas msut be used to design the whole end to end flow, and all the elements that make up that service. It must incorporate what matters to that persona. amd that persona must then become each single customer that places a demand into our service.
A public sector example
In one organisation the manager said that her staff all listen to the customer - she was passionate about putting the customer first, she knew that as a truth.
A week later, she said
"My staff dont listen to the customer, we dont pay attention to what matters to them, I am so shocked!"
What had happened, the manager has sat listening to a customer for 20 minutes, who was crying most of the time. The manager realised that policies and procedures of the organisation were what were in the mind of her staff when they listened to customers, and these procedures were used to respond to the customers needs. The answers were not what was needed to deal with the problem in hand.
It is like starting anew, and looking at the service or operations from an outside-in perspective - its easy, but its difficult to do from where the organisation is today.
In the example above, the managers led and the staff replaced the rigid procedures with a looser framework. It allowed staff flexibility to do what was right for each customer.
The results were:
a drop in recorded cases by two thirds
freed up time to spend longer to do what was right, and fix root cause issues
It was not difficult, it just needed the right approach
Most organisations say that they listen to their customers, but is that enough? What happens when we listen... We then revert back to an internal perspective. An agile and flexile organisation delegates staff to be flexible within a framework.
Typically those internal perspectives are not about training, they are the: