The customer complains that they had to go through 6 phone menus, some of which didn’t make any sense, and then they waited 8 minutes to get to an employee who asked for the same account information that the customer just keyed into the phone. The employee wonders why the customer is so upset, after all, the employee had a great tone of voice and read the script perfectly when he answered the phone!
To the employee, the encounter just started, but to the customer, the encounter started 20 minutes ago when they were looking for an answer on the website and then – in frustration – called the company only to wade through the phone menus and sit on hold – again – for 8 minutes.
It’s tiring just writing about it; imagine how frustrating it was to experience it!
I’m not painting a picture of anything you haven’t experienced as a customer in your personal life. This happens every day, in every industry, MILLIONS of time each week.
Many companies claim to want processes that are “customer-friendly,” but too often the reason why they are not “customer-friendly” is that they were designed looking only internally – like conducting a 1980s style flow chart analysis.
What is the rework we can eliminate? Where is the redundancy that we can streamline? Where is the waste to remove? Where is the manual step that we can automate?
While these are all excellent questions, too often they’re asked purely from the company’s perspective. Then we design a process and implement it, only to later wonder why customers complain so much about the process! To them, it’s frustrating, it’s cumbersome, it’s not clear.
So what’s the process solution? Look at that wonderful process flow that looks so clean from the company’s perspective, and – instead of implementing it as is – flip it to view it from the customer’s perspective.
What’s that journey like that the customer undertakes? When do they find the need to contact you? How do they decide to look for you? How do they start tracking down answers or tracking you down?
We call this step part of our Customer-focused Process Redesign methodology, but you can also do this using mystery shopping or using customer focus groups and interviews. There are many methodologies to use in improving a process, but to make that new process part of a great experience, incorporate the voice of the customer.
Flip the view.