When I think about “making the complex simple,” I’m driven to ask my clients these 7 questions to improve customer experience initiatives, to gain the highest ROI on process improvement.

Companies invest large sums in process improvement initiatives (most of which have a significant information technology component) that have little bearing on the customer experience.

As I hear clients (or prospective clients) describe initiatives they are undertaking, I often ask, “How is the customer’s experience improved?” All too often, there is silence or a question back to me, “What do you mean?” There needs to be a favorable return on investment for these initiatives. In order to do that, it’s important to focus on how your new processes will improve the customer experience.

  1. Via these initiatives that are underway, are you making the complex simple?
  2. Are the people who interact with customers delivering the kind of experience that excites and delights the customer?
  3. Do your new systems and processes enable a better customer experience? How?
  4. Is your company and its customer-facing processes a standout in your industry or mediocre at best?
  5. Will your employees be empowered to help customers on the spot or are customers who experience problems subjected to a hellish gantlet to resolve a problem that should have been very easy and quick to resolve?
  6. Are you treating customers like you would like to be treated?
  7. Are service levels improved to the extent a customer would even notice?

Systems and processes alone are insufficient to provide great customer experience and gain the highest ROI on your process improvement initiatives. You have to improve the user experience for customers and employees.

The human component is one of the highest returns on investments yet it is usually the most neglected area. Companies need to set high standards, enable employees to deliver a great customer experience and insist that employees rise to meet those standards. Employees and systems that can’t deliver a wonderful customer experience need to go.

 

Thought for the week:

“The illiterate of the 21st century will not be those who cannot read and write, but those who cannot learn, unlearn, and relearn.” —Alvin Toffler

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Dave Gardner

Dave Gardner is a management consultant, speaker, author, and blogger based in Silicon Valley. He's been in the front row for the birth and evolution of Silicon Valley, the innovation capital of the world. Since 1992, Dave Gardner focuses on making the complex simple around people, process and technology. Dave is the author of Mass Customization: An Enterprise-Wide Business Strategy - How Build to Order, Assemble to Order, Configure to Order, Make to Order, and Engineer to Order Manufacturers Increase Profits and Better Satisfy Customers.

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