Wednesday, December 23, 2015

Customer Experience Strategy - Audit: Part 2

Picking up from the previous post, let’s assess how the company fares in the nuts-and-bolts delivery of the customer experience.  The majority of customer touchpoints are delivered through some type of process.  To get a handle on the organization’s process orientation, consider the following audit items…

4) Current Customer Processes 
  • Are customer-facing processes documented?  If so, is the process reflected from an internal point-of-view, or from the customer’s perspective…the latter is typically represented using a journey map. (LINK to post)
  • Continuing with the process documentation, what’s the level of detail?  If journey maps are used, are they fact-based and include customer feedback such as survey scores or comments?  Does the documentation capture the end-to-end “ecosystem” that includes both the customer perspective  and the accompanying internal steps, policies, data, and vendors that collaborate to support the journey?
  • Who “owns” the customer-facing processes?  Are changes to a process dictated by management, or do front-line staff have discretion in making modifications?
  • In terms of ongoing process management, how much of an influence does customer feedback have in dictating ongoing changes (i.e. are process changes driven primarily by internal operational needs, or do changes stem from the identification of trends in ongoing customer feedback)?  
  • Overall, how would you gauge the organization’s commitment to the Continuous Improvement?  Are there, for example, recurring reviews of customer feedback, and is this customer information applied to gauging the effectiveness of the process?  And, for bonus points, are processes developed using a Lean approach…that is, is there a constant focus on executing the experience as efficiently as possible with a minimum of non-value add (the Lean term for this is “waste”) steps for both customer and internal staff?  Future posts will focus more on integrating Lean methods and customer experience.

The great management sage, Peter Drucker, is reported to have said, “…culture eats strategy for breakfast.”  The importance and prominence of an organization’s culture is magnified in a customer experience context.  That’s because, at its essence, customer experience is about ongoing change and a commitment to continuous improvement.  Consequently, CX thrives in companies where management and staff are open to new ways of doing things and maintain an inquisitive mindset.  These five questions can be used to shed a light on the fit between organizational culture and the potential for CX success…

5) Organizational Culture
  • How open is management to receiving staff input and recommendations for improving the customer experience?
  • How often does management engage directly with customers (e.g. face-to-face discussions; taking calls in the customer service center)?  How frequently does management review results from customer surveys, social media comments, or any other form of customer feedback?
  • What was the most recent meaningful change in how the organization engages with customers and/or employees?  Was this change internally motivated, or did it come about because of a competitor move (i.e. did the company “want” to make the change, or was the change “forced” upon it)?
  • What key performance indicators does management regularly track?  Are customer-related metrics such as satisfaction or likelihood to recommend included in this tracking?
  • How much discretion do employees have in dealing with customer issues (i.e. within reason, can staff determine how best to respond to a customer’s concern or complaint)?

The suggestions provided in these most recent two posts should serve as a foundation for conducting an audit of the CX “basics” in your organization.  With the audit as a starting point, future posts will now focus on the development of a customer experience strategy.

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