Successful Customer Outcomes Posting Three

So you have the customer and their expectations understood.
What about the process the customer thinks they are involved with?
3. What Process does the Customer think they are involved with?
Challenge yourself with this one. It isn’t the process we, as an organisation, think the customer is involved with. You need to look at this Outside In.
If you, as a customer have twanged your car it isn’t the claims process, the assessment process or the evaluation process. It is much more likely to be “getting back on the road as soon as possible”. How much of what you are doing contributes to that? Are you busy processing claims, counting them, improving the efficiency of processing claims and minimizing the risk. Honestly the customer doesn’t give a stuff about that. They just want to be back on the road.
4. What do we do that Impacts Customer Success?
All the stuff we do as organizations in ensuring has been developed over time to minimize risk, improve effectiveness and delivery the required service at the lowest cost.  Along the way we have introduced rules and controls to ensure we deliver those objectives. Thinks about it in your company. Do you have checkers checking checkers? Are the unwieldy procedure manuals, written tot the latest so called Service Level Agreement standards? In our likelihood you will have things that directly impact customer success. Dumb rules, procedures from the past and checks and balances no longer required.

Successful Customer Outcomes Posting Two

So how can we construct a Successful Customer Outcomes (SCO)?
Download the flashcard at the end of this review.
There are six questions we should ask ourselves, stakeholders and customers.
At the most fundamental level:
1. Who is the customer?
Yes, as an organization, we have to make the choice. We can’t sit back and wait for customers to find us we need to find them. Who are they? What value can they add to our business? Do we actually have customers we do not want? It is an interesting discussion which should put us in charge of the choice. After all these days not everyone can be our customer!
2. What is the Customers Current Expectation?
Not a small question. Have you created an expectation – either consciously or worse, inadvertently. How can you find out? Ask the customer!
Now the qualification to this when the customer answers is… did you know that?
How much of what you are currently doing aligns with the customer expectation? 
Tomorrow we will explore the Process the Customer thinks they are involved with?

Advanced BPM and Customer Centricity (india and the rest of the world)

Just published from a recent interview in India:

Steve Towers is a business process and customer satisfaction expert and the author of “Outside In – The Secret of the 21st Century Leading Companies”. 

In India, he advises the Tata group, Wipro and other BPOs on ways to organise their processes and people better to deliver customer outcomes successfully. Towers, a speaker at the Nasscom India Leadership Forum , took time off for a conversation with Goutam Das.

Q. Have organizations started to worry more about customer centricity these days? 
. It is top of the pile in terms of themes. Customer centricity, however, is not always understood. We tend to talk about it from a technology-centric point of view – we tend to think of information technology and front-end systems. We talk about CRM (customer relationship management) systems and things like that. Organizations need to move beyond what we refer to as ‘inside out’ thinking. One of the reasons to move forward is that customers themselves has changed. They have become promiscuous – they are not as loyal as they used to be. They have also become very rebellious – highly choosy in terms of who they want a product from. This causes them to move very quickly versus the longer-term relationships of the past. All our organizations are collections of customers and their expectations have risen with the availability of technology, which gives them access to a lot more information. Those organizations that understand that have been able to look at customer centricity in a different way. We refer to that way as “outside in”. 

Q. Explain your philosophy of ‘outside in’ and how companies have benefited from this. 
 It means identifying what customer needs are and then working backwards to organise the company accordingly. Those organizations that are struggling – the Kodaks, the Nokias, RIM – they are still looking at the world inside out. Those who have been successful have seen the world outside in. They are aligning their business to deliver against customer needs, which can be created. Emirates Airlines creates that need by talking about the experience that they are going to give you once you arrive at the destination. Disney tells a very good story on the difference between wants and needs. They often say the customer does not know what they want. When you arrive at a Disney park, the first question a customer may ask is: “Where’s the toilet?” 

The second most asked question is “What time is the Three O’clock Parade?” Customers are articulating a need within that question and the answer is in the context of that question. A woman with two small kids is not asking what time the parade is – she already knows the time – what she really needs to know is a place where she can go and stand with the kids, where there is a water fountain, an ice-cream vendor. She wants to be away from the hot sun. She hasn’t articulated that but the organization understands that need. Disney works on the basis of needs, not wants. Similarly, Nokia was very successful 10 years back and went on building devices that customers wanted. Other organizations thought differently. Apple made an observation on how many interactions one needs to pull up a telephone number. In an inside out phone, that will be seven-eight key presses. Everyone of those key presses is a moment of truth. And you have to build functionality to support that moment of truth. More functionality means a more complex system. Apple redesigned the interface and there are three moments of truth instead of seven-eight. It is less expensive to do that and offers a better customer experience. That is a principle Nokia has missed. 

Q. Do Indian companies have an outside in perspective?
 There are two kinds of organizations. One: those who are carrying on building efficiencies and effectiveness and use things like Lean (a methodology of eliminating waste in a company) and Six Sigma to remove waste. Eventually, you get to a point where you optimize processes and can’t go any further. Other organizations say Lean and Six Sigma are fine but we want to challenge if a process actually deserves to exist. In India, there is a clear distinction between those organizations that are getting it and those that don’t. 

Q. How do you measure who is getting it right? 
 It is winning the triple crown, which is simultaneously growing revenues, reducing costs and enhancing service. The triple crown can be directly linked to customer success. Instead of starting with resources a company has, then going to market strategy and then finding customers, you start with customers and their needs and then align everything in the organization to deliver that. In India, IndiGo (Airlines) is a prime example of looking at the world in a different way. Contrast IndiGo with Kingfisher – they talk about the customer being the king but the customer can’t be king at the expense of your business. The reason customer is king is that we can grow shareholder value, can create profits and deliver service. Other examples of companies looking outside in are Tata Motors and the transformation of Jaguar. 

For more information see : and

Process Outside In – vidblog

The BP Group compiles a bi monthly update of all things process which gets listed on the blog and syndicated all over. The latest can be Process Performance Update. However one of my close colleagues suggested I should produce the update as a travelog, where ever I am, whatever I am doing – just say it! – so here it is. Depending on your point of view it is either an informative light hearted look at process, or eight minutes of relevant pertinent stuff for business professionals. You choose 😉

Videos/new BPM apps/presentation downloads/conference updates

In the Process/Performance basket this time we have Videos/new BPM apps/presentation downloads/conference updates

Greetings from Mumbai 
My travels this last few weeks have included USA, UK, UAE and now India. The team are also hot footing around South Africa, Australia, Kuala Lumpur, Europe and the US through this month.

Not only has it been the significant contrast in weather (snow/cold > sunny/hot) it is the somewhat different approaches being adopted towards Outside In. This week sees me at the India Leadership event hosted by NASSCOM. I will be meeting with the press and continuing to learn about what is making India so successful. My talk will be accessible later, if you want a copy let me know,

On the subject of talks and videos have you reviewed the latest videos of the key tools and techniques? Here they are (and they are available to download and distribute!)

Business Process Management – what is it?

Moments of Truth – what are they?

Breakpoints and Business Rules?

Successful Customer Outcomes (SCO’s)

Voice of Customer?

And now drum roll > have you downloaded the BPM Certifcation app (IOS and Android)?

There are links to resources, videos. events, reviews and much more. It is only version 1 so let us know your thoughts and how we can make it better for the community.

Apple version:

Android version:

Recent presentations..
Access my recent keynote for some pertinent insights (or Outside In depending on your view point)

The associated slide show is embedded however you can download that from here.

Topical articles –

Brad Power – Working successfully with physical fragmented teams

Chris Taylor – Business process failure goes viral

Dr. Mohan K. – Rethinking the function of Business functions

Reint Jan Holterman – 5 steps on the Path to Success with BPM
* And lastly for now have you reviewed the all new classes? new case studies and coaching from been there and done it experienced mentors*.

Review the coaches and their in depth practical hands on wisdom.

Considering training in Enterprise BPM/Outside In?If someone in your organization is considering certification do ask these questions of anyone offering the training:

1. Where have you done this?

2. What credentials can you claim in the community?

3. Who trained you originally in Outside In?

4. When did you start and who have you helped?

5. What references can you provide, at a CEO level for the successes you have achieved?

6. Are any of your people published, and if so what and when?

7. What is the size of your network?

8. Are your trainings and courses accredited, and if so by whom?

9. Are you helping to develop the community? If so how?

PS. Tell your colleagues they owe themselves the best to go with the most experienced, up to date, pragmatic, relevant and immediate training from the BP Group

Ciao Steve

Virgins Crown Jewels – Outside In success

The empitomy of the Outside In company Virgin sweep the competitors aside with their proactive approach to customer service.

Enjoy the management presentation:

Looking at the world Outside-In

Outside-In wins the Triple Crown.

The headline claim of advanced process management approaches such as ‘Outside-In’ is winning the triple crown. What do we mean by that?
Triple Crown is the ability to simultaneously reduce costs, improve service and grow revenues as a direct consequence of implementing advanced process management. Outside-In shifts attention from ‘doing things right’ to ‘doing the right things’ and as a consequence much of the work taking place within an organisation becomes ‘dumb stuff’ when tested against the achievement of the successful customer outcome. This ‘dumb stuff’ can be eliminated and typically will result in cost reductions of 40-70% within three to six months of implementation across traditional processes.

What does the cost reduction include?

A large slice of reduction is in the potential effort to run a process – the people. It also includes considerable swathes of information technology, now no longer required to manage the significantly simplified ‘outside-in’ processes.  Saves are also available across the enterprise from reducing the need for ‘outsourcing’ that does not explicitly contribute to the delivery of successful outcomes. Progressive Outside-In companies such as Google, Apple, Gilead Sciences and Southwest airlines actively redeploy staff to the benefit of the bottom line – making more with less. Service improves and revenues grow.

Traditional inside-out companies have a massive opportunity

The size of the prize exceeds normal ‘inside-out’ expectations as many companies who measure efficiency and effectiveness struggle to realise single digit improvements against legacy processes. However when you look at processes through the ‘outside-in’ lens much of the previously assumed ‘must be here’ activity is no longer required.

Why is this so?

Work has grown over time and become complicated and separated into functional specialist areas supported by a multitude of IT systems undertaking specific tasks such as CRM, accounting, claims management and HR systems. In the context of Outside-In these activities can be challenged with the question “does this activity specifically contribute to the achievement of the SCO? “. If the answer to that question is ambiguous then applying relevant techniques creates a  realignment of work and releases significant cost previously disguised as necessary process.

Triple Crown plus

It gets better. The reality of processes in an Outside-In context means they are specifically contributing to the achievement of the SCO and correspondingly meet additional requirements such as compliance and regulation more effectively. Transparency of process – seeing who does what, where, when and why – is another by product of the new environment. So in addition to reducing costs, improving service and growing revenues we better meet regulatory requirements. The latter is especially important in the new business reality created following the recent recession and reshaping of industries such as banking.

If it is so good why aren’t we all doing Outside-In?

Large bureaucratic organisations typically suffer from senior management inertia, disbelief and arrogance.
The reality of successful Outside-In companies is plain to see as they become leaders of their business sectors. Their performance outstrips competitors by several magnitudes and they are often regarded as having some magic ingredient – you may have heard your management team say ‘ha yes they are quite different to us as our challenge is unique’.  The bottom line is that Outside-In companies utilise a range of tools and techniques that improve alignment to the successful customer outcome and these approaches go way beyond the industrial/information age mind-set.

A new way of working

Outside-in approaches create a completely new reality that reshapes how we manage and organise work so much so that functional pyramidal structures become artefacts of the past. A senior manager who may have spent considerable time clambering to the top of these rigid monolithic structures is directly threatened by the shift to Outside-In and may be understandably reluctant to embrace a new order of business that completely changes most things you have ever known.

How can you embrace Outside-In?

The shift in mind-set is underpinned by method and new techniques (CEMMethod) appropriate to process alignment for successful customer outcomes. Several organisations offer support, training and coaching towards the new order and include emergent technologies that enhance our ability to better organise work. Direct training is available through the BP Group ( where people are encouraged to qualify as licensed BP Group Certified Process Professionals®.
Associated Licensed partners and companies offering consultancy and technology support can be reviewed at
Join the community
You can read more in the latest book ‘Outside-In. The secret of the successful 21st century companies’ at and join the global community through LinkedIn at

The difference between Inside-out and Outside-In thinking.

A couple of weeks ago we started our look at the difference between Inside-out and Outside-In thinking.

If we scoot to the bottom of the table…. and let’s start with the review of changes to customers

Industrial/Information Age Customer Age

People Silo’s Multi functional
Specialist Multi skilled
Isolated Relationships
Awards – Time served Awards – Value Created
Autocratic Dynamic (to suit the needs)
Processes Doing things right Doing the right things and doing things right
Manufacturing mindset Customer Experience
Tasks/Activities and Outputs Outcomes and SCO’s
Stocks Flows
Products Services
Left to Right, Top to Bottom Customer Centric
IT Algorithmic Heuristic
Hierarchical Hyperlinked
Analytical Understanding
Ownership Access
Strategy Top Down Inclusive
Structured and Rigid eg 5 yr plans Agile and Adaptive
Tablets of stone Continual Alignment to SCO’s
Market/product focus Customer/expectation focus
Customers Uninformed Prosumer
Loyal Promiscuous
Forgiving Rebellious
Locked-In Demand Flexibility
Compliant and managed High Expectations and fickle
Single channel Multi channel

We can probably reasonably observe, without fear of understatement, that the customer has changed forever. The reason our organisations exist, the people who pay our wages, the cause of all the work we do has evolved beyond recongnition.

  • And yet has your organsation changed in response to this evolution? 
  • Do we do our work in a different way from the last century?
  • Is work still flowing top to bottom and left to right?
  • Are we thinking about how our processes connect with customer success? 

In the BP Groups research and experience with the leading companies of the 21st century the answer is … YES, some in fact do understand and act on this new imperative. However the majority, including some previously prestigious names are not getting it. Look at the troubles of Nokia, Kodak, Sony, British Airways, Air India, United… the list is extensive and disturbing.

For our examples of successful transformation and realignment we can include Emirates, Zappos, Zara, Apple, Indigo, Hallmark and BMW. A wide selection from different industries, cultures and operating models. We will get to sepcifics later, for now let’s review the reason for their successful adoption of Advanced BPM, otherwise known as Outside-In. The customer!

If things are changing faster Outside than in you will fail

The acccepted business wisdom until the end of the last century was the adoption and exploration of ideas originally described by Adam Smith in the Wealth of Nations, published in 1776. This seminal work introduced the world to the concept of the sub division of labour.

Written during the advent of the industrial revolution the ‘Wealth of Nations’ created a framework for organising manufactories and people into similar skills and disciplines. In fact the original work in a Scottish pin factory demonstrated 20 fold improvements to productivity and as such became a template for achieving industrial and commercial success. Two and a half centuries later the model is still taught in business schools and academia as the way to structure and organise work. After all it worked for 200+ years?

We can’t solve problems by using the same kind of thinking we used when we created them (Einstein)

And there is the rub. The challenges we face in the 21st century are very different to those being addressed by Adam Smith and the industrialists of the Napoleonic era. Let’s get to grips with some of the shifts…

to be continued……

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