6 Ways to Transform Process and the Customer Experience (at the Same Time)

Steve Towers Keynotes

Where do I start?

I was keynoting a conference in Europe recently, and senior executives in the room were getting the rationale behind moving Outside-In. However, there seemed to be two perplexed groups in the place.

One was what a refer to as the ‘traditional process guys’, and the other ‘the customer is first people’, and interestingly they both asked the same question “Where do we start?”

My honest and most direct answer is “You do not have a choice. You have got to start where you are and go from there!” OK, I get what you’re thinking, how could they take that away and begin to transform their organizations?

So, I walked them through TWO distinctly different ways to navigate to Outside-In working and practice, depending on your mindset, enterprise history and maturity. For the two categories of customer in the room, the NEEDS are the same, just the way they navigate to achieving them is different.

What are the Results?

From a results perspective, both approaches focus on winning the triple crown, that is Improving Service, Growing Revenues and Reducing Complexity (and hence lowering costs).

ApproachProcess EngineeringCustomer First
FocusProcess is the starting pointStarts with Customer Needs
ScopeReengineering the ProcessesAligning everything to Customer Needs
IntentionBuild out from Process to Department to Division to EnterpriseArticulate Successful Customer Outcomes and Remove the complexity of things that do not contribute to it
BenefitsLocal wins building to business-wide transformationImmediate delivery against Triple Crown benefits
Executive Buy-inSlow burn, however when they see the benefits and ‘get it’ the support is significantStarts at the strategic level so influences everything the organization does
RecommendationIf your remit is just ‘improving processes’ this approach will get you their steadily, however, the challenges facing traditional business are seismic so is there time? So, make immediate gains but push hard for more quickly.By demonstrating the value of ‘customer first’ in terms of the triple crown the enterprise can align quickly and effectively. Importantly avoid the ‘soft and fluffy’ sentiments expressed by many in the customer experience world.

How can I Implement?

Back in 2006 the BPG launched the CEMMethod™ and built out an approach, using the 50+ techniques based on global next practice from companies like Virgin, Zara, BMW, Zappos, Apple and Emirates. Since then more than 3,000 companies in 116 countries have become accredited and certified to transform their processes and organizations.

Now in version 11, the choice you make in deployment is based on your ambition and remit within the enterprise.
If you are a leader needing to embrace the digital customer ‘Customer First’ leaps out as the main option. Alternatively, if you are in a traditional process-based business (lean, six sigma, BPM etc.) the more conservative ‘process engineering’ approach may be preferred.

You can access the following resources that will help you make an informed choice:

CEMMethod™ – review its potency and pedigree:
www.cemmethod.com

Outside-In The Secret of 21st century companies (free access): http://bit.ly/StevesOIBook

The Accredited Customer Experience Program 2018-19: https://www.bpgroup.org/acxp1819.html

The Certified Process Professional Program: https://www.bpgroup.org/certifiedprocessprofessional.html

I look forward to guiding you to transformation when you are ready!

The Shocking Truth about Customer Experience


The single biggest piece of advice I give to senior executives setting out on the Customer Experience journey is to STOP. Yes seriously, the vast majority of CX efforts are completely misaligned.

CX Efforts Misaligned

Don’t get me wrong the intentions are good. Unfortunately, it goes something like this:

  1. Top Team are listening and decide they need to get with this customer centricity/Outside-In/working backwards thinking.
  2. Senior Management makes noises that the customer is THE thing the business must focus on.
  3. The Executive engage the marketing and sales guys to get with it and start pushing the message.
  4. Functional leaders hear the noise and bluster. They start using the language, whilst thinking this is just more fluff and nonsense. They make the right noises for now but keep their heads down, because they know this will go the same way as so many other ‘strategic initiatives’.
  5. Fundamentally functional heads carry on working with the out of date reward system that promotes sub-optimal industrial age thinking and practice.
  6. The Executive see the usual inertia, results not coming through, apathy and indifference and decide their business isn’t really an Amazon.
  7. Top Team then reverts to just getting better at what we are doing, then when someone in ‘our industry’ proves it we will follow.
  8. Functional leaders breathe a sigh of relief and invest even more in industrial age systems and training. The illusion of doing something, in this case, is actually worse than doing nothing.
  9. The businesses failure is noted by customers who move to those who do understand and deliver Customer Experience success.
  10. The company becomes another footnote in the history books. Talked about at business schools and picked apart because of the failure to get the new Outside-In customer-centric mindset.

Making Customer Experience Successful everywhere all the time

This isn’t rocket science (unless you are NASA of course). Understanding that the structures and ways of working from the industrial age were NEVER designed to be customer-centric. They were established to make things faster by optimizing production lines.

And oh, don’t think because you are not in manufacturing you are OK. It is likely your complete ways of working will be making everything look like production management systems, with talk of leaning out, waste reduction, standardization, efficiency, productivity. Sound familiar?

Understanding this Customer Experience misalignment is fundamental.

I encourage doing three things before re-joining the CX road-march:

  1. Understand how big the gap is between what you are doing and what Successful Customer Outcomes you need to be delivering.
  2. Audit the current key performance indicators.
    Are they mostly about outputs?
    Usually, the balance will be 80% output metrics (like calls answered, Average Handle Times, Abandoned Rates, Projects completed on time to budget etc.).
    Meanwhile, the really important measures that tell you a Successful Customer Outcome is being achieved will only be a small proportion.
    What you measure is what you get and no amount of Customer Experience drum banging will work unless those measures of Outcomes become the most important.
  3. Create an awareness of what real CX success is all about.
    This isn’t just the stories. It is about the actual things on the ground that need to change. The WHY and the HOW go hand in hand. Often times upskilling a group of key players at all levels to make them Ambassadors for the Customer achieves way more than massive corporate investment in branding and image.

In conclusion, Customer Experience cannot be treated just like another corporate initiative. To achieve success requires a significant shift in mindsets, and when that is achieved the realignment of the Enterprise to Outside-In can really begin.

Want more guidance and tips like this?


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