I am returning to #England for my annual Steve Towers #masterclass in #london#cuxtomerexperience#cx#process#acxs#acx#ccxp Don’t be shy, come and learn the latest, greatest techniques as practised by companies like #amazon#zara#zappos and #emirates https://londonstevetowersmasterclass.eventbrite.com
We are bringing to the table the newest innovations and hands-on methods to immediately deliver success on your return to work. Yes, these sessions are fun, and what with London just before Christmas, what is there not to like?
And hey if you have already done one of our coaching events ping me and I can arrange a loyalty discount 😉 There’s a mountain of new stuff as we launch #theexperiencemanager and #cemmethod version 12.
I am excited to share this interview with BPM Tips recently where I talk about the evolution of BPM and its play with Customer Experience Management. Interview with Steve Towers – Customer Experience Management and BPM fb.me/4cWCBudd8
As always, I would love to hear back from you with any comments and observations, just click the link fb.me/4cWCBudd8 and feel free to share your comments.
Traditionally, process excellence has focused on improving productivity, efficiency and effectiveness. Methods and approaches have evolved over time to help organisations streamline, remove waste and standardise processes, driving economic success in many countries around the world.
But times have changed. And we must change with them. The rise of digital and changing customer expectations is changing the very nature of business improvement. Organisations must now look for new approaches and strategies which place the customer at the centre of processes, to remain relevant and competitive in a dynamic market.
Ahead of Process Excellence Week Australia 2015, Steve Towers, Lead Coach and Co-Founder of the BP Group (UK) interviewed by the PEX team reviews the biggest factors currently transforming the process excellence landscape and the steps Australian organisations can take to successfully link process to customer outcomes.
What types of new approaches and techniques are changing the way companies approach business improvement?
Steve: We need to ask ourselves the question – what is driving change? And at a fundamental level we are seeing the ascendance of what I like to call the digital native. These are folks who have little patience for assembly line factory thinking with its rigid rules and structures. In fact as customers the digital native demands immediacy and attention.
Swinging back to the original question organisations now need to embrace approaches that meet the high expectations and promiscuity of this digital native. Otherwise they will not survive the decade – witness the demise of companies such as Nokia, Kodak, Blockbuster, and Blackberry. The new approaches and techniques emphasize the customer, front and centre. And I don’t mean in an arbitrary ‘voice of the customer’ way. I mean as a central focus for everything – strategy, operations, technology and process.
The book I wrote in 2010 referred to the overall concept of Outside-In, shifting the way work gets done by understanding needs and aligning everything an organisation does to achieving successful customer outcomes. In the five years since we reviewed the pioneers such as Virgin, Amazon and Zara the customer centric philosophy has become mainstream and accessible to all. So business improvement itself has shifted from getting better at what we do to redefining what it is we do and ensuring the delivery works for the new order.
How might companies go about linking process improvement with their customer centric strategy? What are the benefits?
Steve: Connecting the dots between process and customer is a critical challenge. It is only in the last 10-15 years that people have realised that all work is a result of customer interactions and can, with the appropriate approach, be connected to every single task and activity.
The resulting Process Performance Landscape demonstrates where costs occur, how revenue is created and what levels of performance can be achieved. Once we have that picture we can make informed decisions that touch everything the organisation does. The benefit is completely tangible, something I refer to as winning the triple crown, simultaneously driving out costs, growing revenues and enhancing service.
What types of techniques can be used to achieve cost reductions, revenue improvement and customer satisfaction?
Steve: It is sometimes thought that cost, revenue and customer satisfaction are mutually exclusive. Not so and in fact they should be approached together. Firstly if we understand the causes of work and its effects (our processes) we can set about either removing the causes by putting in place actions to eliminate them.
Secondly if we cannot manage the causes away we must improve them. A couple of useful techniques in this context, which complement process excellence approaches, are the Outside-In Strategic Matrix and Successful Customer Outcome Model.
Australia appears to be a little behind the rest of the world when it comes to business improvement – what steps do you think we need to take in order to catch up?
Steve: A lot of the difference comes down to economic cycles. Australia really didn’t feel the severe impact of the last downturn and as such business was pretty much as usual. Other countries witnessed the implosion of long established industries and you either went under with them or reached out for ways, beyond industrial age thinking, to survive and subsequently thrive. Until recently, Australia hasn’t had the same worries so there has been a degree of misplaced complacency. Catching up is going to require great effort and simply put some won’t make it. That will affect not just the high street brands but the careers and future for many. So listen and observe the next practices emerging and make them Australia’s own. The Aussie ability to assimilate and improve at the same time will get you there.
What key trends or factors will drive change in the process excellence arena in the next 12-18 months?
Steve: A biggy here is the professionalization of process excellence. And then isn’t about belts and titles. It is about equipping our people to live and work with the digital native in all of its forms. We have already discussed the emergence of customer centricity and Outside-In thinking and that is the key. Those folks who can harness that thinking and apply it to their organisations will undoubtedly succeed; at the expense of others still practicing outmoded approaches from the industrial era.
To be blunt the top team demand results like never before. Getting there isn’t about trying harder, it is about working smarter and that involves reframing process excellence to performance excellence. Reaching out beyond the linear production line straightjacket to Outside-In agile structures able to change and evolve rapidly. That is a capability thing and requires folks to get up-skilled as quickly as possible.
What is the value of attending Process Excellence Week Australia 2015?
Steve: At a personal level it is about self improvement. It is about understanding and learning what others are doing so you can take that learning and turn it to your success. At an organisation level it is about the insights of the speakers, vendors and workshop leaders. As a forum to ask the sticky question amongst fellow professionals it is a great place for fast track learning. And on that score the networking opportunity is massive. It is great to know you are not alone in the improvement quest, there are others here to help, share and advise. From my point of view no other conference in the southern hemisphere comes close. Period.
Steve will be further exploring the common ingredients of sustained success and how using the power of process linked with a customer centric strategy can produce a winning and repeatable process excellence formula at Process Excellence Week Australia 2015.
Stop making dumb things happen faster for less money!
A lot of companies pay lip service to customer-centricity, write contributors Steve Towers and James Dodkins, but not many “walk the talk”. Here are 10 differences between inside-out and outside-in companies.
There is a lot of talk today, more than ever, about customer centricity, client focus, customer experience strategy and Outside-In. Many organizations have adopted aspects of these disciplines and where many have achieved monumental success others have fallen by the wayside. Why is this? The problem is perception.
Countless organizations have said all the right things to make the workforce believe that they are becoming a customer-focused organization and then doing the complete opposite.
The effect of this is rising costs, shrinking revenues and ever lowering customer satisfaction.
The problem with this is that there is now a collective of organizations that have a “customer centricity doesn’t work” mentality. It’s like putting a rain hat in your pocket, going out into a storm, getting wet hair, then swearing the hat is useless. Just having the Outside-In customer centricity ideals is not enough; you have to use them in the right way.
So, how do you know if you work in an Outside-In organization or an Inside-Out organization wearing an Outside-In mask?
Table 1: Inside-Out or Outside-In?
Inside Out – attending to tasks and activities
Outside In – aligning to Successful Customer Outcomes (SCO’s)
Doing things right
Doing the Right things AND doing things right
Pyramidal management knows best
Context and customer defined
Business as a factory (left to right)
Customer Oriented Architectures
Determine customer needs and trends
Customer feedback retrospective
Customer needs designed and delivered
Process Improvement and optimization
Customer Experience innovation
Developing value for the customer
Model and method oriented
Customer journey and experience focus
Top down business architectures
Customer centric frameworks (context sensitive)
Remuneration for tasks completed
Rewards based on delivery of SCO’s
Let’s review the not so subtle differences
#1: Pyramidal management Does your CEO really know the most about your organization? Can your CEO really relate to customers? Let’s face it, your CEO probably hasn’t spoken to a customer in years (if ever) so, why are they best qualified to determine how your organization is run? Maybe they aren’t…
#2: Business managed as a factory (left to right)
What percent of the work within your organization is manufacturing? What if you don’t manufacture anything? Then why does everything within your organization look like a factory?
We can’t meet the future with an industrial age mindset… join the rest of us in the 21st century.
#3: Benchmarking competitors
If you benchmark against other competitors you will, at best, only ever be as good as them, no better, most of the time worse and you will always be one step behind the trend.
Are you still managing a business that you think looks like this?
Rather than focusing on what your competitors are doing, focus on what the real need of the customer is and deliver that, innovate the customer experience, there is no easier way to become a market leader…let your competitors benchmark you.
#4: Retrospective customer feedbackAsking customers “how did we do” is stupid, asking customers “how did we do” 3 weeks after it happened is even more stupid, allowing customer to self-select for a survey to tell you how you did 3 weeks after is happened is even more stupid than that.
If you want to get totally non-representative, inaccurate, and relatively useless data on how some customers may have felt you performed at some point then the traditional methods are fine (NPS, CSi, etc).
To measure a customer experience properly and objectively you need to first know what makes a great customer experience and measure if you are doing those things, we need to get scientific about the customer experience (CXRating). If you are still in the land of subjective, self-selecting, retrospective feedback, chances are you have no idea just how well, or poorly, you are performing…even if you think you do.
#5: Focus only on process improvement and optimizationTaking what you are already doing and making it happen in a shorter time frame, more efficiently or for less operating cost is not good enough any more. If you are doing dumb things all you are doing is making dumb things happen faster for less money.
You should focus on innovating the customer experience. Any work within your organization is caused by a customer interaction somewhere down the line. If you engineer and innovate at the causal level, you will make the customer experience better and eliminate swathes of pointless dumb work that you are wasting time on every single day…simple really isn’t it?
#6: Trying to use DMAIC/SIPOC/DFSS/Lean to optimize the customer experienceIf you are using process improvement methodologies that were created to optimize manufacturing processes to optimize the customer experience then you will find yourself in a mess.
Use a 21st century methodology like the CEMMethod that was designed for this day and age to really turbo charge your customer experience efforts. Have you ever heard the phrase “trying to fit a square peg into a round hole”? Methodologies like Lean and Six Sigma were great at what they were created to do, but they were not created to improve customer experience… and therefore won’t.
#7: Improving efficiencies for internal customers onlyTrying to make things more efficient for yourselves inside your organization – more often than not – will actually make things worse for the customer. Don’t just perpetuate the Inside-Out mindset. You need to make sure that everything you are doing is actually creating value for customers. Don’t focus on internal customers, focus on real customers… they pay your wages.
#8: Model and method orientedDon’t get shackled by the oppression of the models and methods that ‘the man’ has said you should use. You shouldn’t focus on trying to implement a model or method you should be focused on how to make the customer experience better… whatever it takes.
#9: Top down business architecturesDo you work in an environment when the person above you tells you what to do and you tell the people below you what to do? If your whole working life is focused on trying to make your boss happy what aren’t you focusing on? That’s right, the customer.
As soon as we enter a habitat like this we make a habit out of ignoring what’s right for the customer over what is perceived to be right for the organization. I’m not saying you’ll be able to change this overnight, I’m just saying it’s wrong and will eventually lead to your organizations downfall… don’t get left behind.
#10: Remuneration for tasks completedIf you pay people for doing stupid things, they get very good at doing them. Traditionally, you will get paid for completing tasks and activities, filling in forms, processing invoices, taking calls etc.
If everyone (and I mean EVERYONE) was paid for delivering customer success just imagine how different your working environment would be. Empowering workers to be able to do whatever it takes to deliver customer success is the polar opposite of workers having to complete X number of forms in a day… this is maybe the biggest game changer of them all.
There are insights into the way we do business that mean we have to rethink everything we thought we knew. Its time for a brand new model. What insights are you involved with? Are your colleagues on the same page? What are you going to do tomorrow to implement the new ways? Are you part of the solution?
Certified Process Professional Masters (CPP-Master) Program
Orlando USA March 16-20, Denver USA March 23-27, Dubai UAE Apr 12-16
An internationally recognized program with proven track record delivered by been there and done it coaches more than 130 times, in 52 cities with delegates from 105 countries. The program, now in its tenth year, utilizes the BP Groups approaches and framework to help you and your organization win the triple crown – simultaneously reduce costs, grow revenues and enhance service. Producing Immediate and sustainable business results across any industry and sector.
I am delighted to be working with PEX Asia on their 2014 summit. The event is designed for process management professionals who want to be at the forefront of change, champion excellence in their organisation and collaborate on creating the next generation of process transformation strategies.
Process Excellence is being redefined in this digital age, transforming organisations and revolutionising how business is conducted globally. To be competitive your company needs to continually evolve and move beyond just Lean Six Sigma.
Process Excellence today draws on a raft of evolving methodologies including Lean, Six Sigma, Business Process Management, Enterprise Architecture, Total Quality Management and Statistical Process Controls to enable organisations to improve the way they operate and deliver. Notable organisations such as the Singapore Exchange, ANZ, Shell, Nokia and the BP Group will be sharing the different ways they have blended and harmonised approaches within their ranks to enable their teams to connect more swiftly to relevant information, improve workflow automation and meet the ever changing consumer and market needs.
Excitingly, as part of this year’s event we have provided delegates with an exclusive opportunity to undertake our certification training programme.
This is designed as two in-depth workshops which will give you the essential skills to take on process change and lead with excellence.
Completing the course will also qualify you as a Certified Process Professional (CPP Levels 1 & 2).
The process professionals we researched with during production of PEX Asia identified their core challenges as how to core challenges as how to:
1. Differentiate their organisation by continually meeting and exceeding process quality and customer service 2. Capture, synthesise and align their client and business needs 3. Continuously improve workflow automation and project turnaround times 4. Swiftly adapt, evolve and improve global supply chain management in ever changing markets 5. Better manage multiple PEX projects
All within reduced timeframes and budgets and still meeting the expected outcomes from reporting executives and boards!
At the PEX ASIA 2014 you will find presenters, delegates, information and ideas which pose solutions to resolving these exact challenges. Using PEX to drive business growth, increase profitability and competitive advantage is more critical than ever.
This is your chance to revitalise, strengthen and accelerate your process strategies. We hope that you will be able to join us in Singapore at our PEX Asia 2014
Please do take a moment to look through the brochure or go to our PEX Asia website for more details. I look forward to meeting you in February in Singapore!
Steve Towers Lead Coach and Co-Founder BP GROUP, UK
Customers have become sophisticated, promiscuous, rebellious, choosey and have access to more information than ever before. In fact they know more about your products and services than you do!
Make real the mantra “the customer experience is the process” and let’s get scientific about CX. Join with us as we explore this virgin territory on the way to gaining a true and real understanding of CX across all walks of life. Beyond process and performance we will seek collaboration and turn thoughts into leadership, dreams into action and learning into experience.
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 😉