When you walk a mile in your customer’s shoes you will rapidly see where and how you demand high levels of effort from them.
Making it easy for customers will ensure you keep them. In fact 94% of customers who have a low-effort service experience will buy from that same company again. (CEB)
How you map the journeys, whether on a flipchart, using post-its or with a sophisticated application, is immaterial. What will make a material difference to the way you view processes, will be if you:
- Dream big and agree your end goal
- Clearly define the specific customer service you want to resolve
- Then borrow from Olympic sporting success, and ask just one question; will this new idea/ action/decision get us closer to our goal?
- Even if it’s a useful idea, if it doesn’t add value to this situation discard it
- Consider each relevant journey and ensure that every step in those interactions is mapped.
‘Define all touch points, workflows, bottlenecks and any delays, and consider if both the number of interactions and the requirements of each contact are fit for purpose’ Gartner.
Mapping redundant processes is an inefficient use of everyone’s time. Your revised journey path will eliminate unnecessary or wasted steps. Prioritise important stages and investigate smarter options, self-service or automations to reduce effort. (For tips on lean, perhaps see ‘Lean for Dummies’)
Investigate and honestly consider:
- Where do your internal silos impact your customer experience?
- When and how are your customers better informed than your agents? Look for knowledge gaps which mean customer requests force your agents to ask for help, and find ways to update their knowledge
- How do you involve your stakeholders and, in particular, your agents? Centres that collaborate with their agents have a greater chance of achieving long term productivity goals
- What internal ‘political’ barriers stand in the path of success? Consider which are crucial to your plans and harness support from other stakeholders to overcome the hurdles
- Ask your project team to identify quick wins that will convince and encourage the wider team and plot your steps to success.
We recommend you avoid:
- Extensive system changes which will typically overwhelm the team, unless of course your actions have delivered breakthrough simplification
- Sole reliance on business analysts. Instead support them to make contributions to the team dynamic
- Launching an untested plan. Deadlines often mean changes are rushed through. Testing, if the system is in the “best interests of the customer”, will support improved agent performance.
What's bad (in your processes) for customers is bad for agents
Making it easy, and improving productivity.
The business of mapping may get in the way of the purpose, which is to resolve a customer query first time.
Focus, focus, focus.
In each process step you design you may find it helpful to:
- Focus on providing the capability for the agent to handle the task in the first instance
- Have a clear step-by-step understanding of each process
- Enable agents to ask the right questions to get correct information specific to the task
- Empower your agents to reach resolution, with information or with the ability to satisfy complaints
- Enable agents to finalise routine back-office processes
- Avoid irrelevant questions in any work process, however tempting, unless you can prove the value.
These are significant business benefits to getting it ‘right’. Customers demonstrate improved first contact resolution, reduced average handling time together with consistent performance quality.
The greater reward, however, is in the easier end-to-end management of every customer interaction. It enables you to move from multichannel/multimodal to omnichannel. Improved customer loyalty and retention coupled with a decrease in complaints will be the signal that you have moved from a transactional customer experience to customer lifetime management.
Read how Honeywell Analytics improved efficiencies and increased throughput fivefold with Eden.