You’ve been there – delays in completing jobs or in responding to your requests. Failure to communicate a piece of customer-related information, causing an unnecessary mistake down the line. This is the receiving end of poor customer service. Frustrating, isn’t it?
Poor customer service and low customer satisfaction means, in short, that the customer doesn’t get the result that they expect. And in the long run, neither will your business.
If your business has any of these problems, it will not only prevent you from maximising your talents and resources, but you will alienate your clients, and jeopardize that which your business needs in order to prosper. In most cases, the root cause of this problem is inefficient processes.
Business Process Improvement, if undertaken in the right way, can improve your business operations while driving short- and long-term benefits to the bottom line. To get this right in a service organisation can, however, be a challenge, mainly because you are focusing on people, and not just building ‘widgets’. This human factor adds an extra dimension that should be labelled “handle with care”.
In order to overcome this, we need an approach that focuses not only on efficiency (think “lean”) but also on quality (think “Six Sigma”). If we can blend these methods effectively, and apply them to our improvement initiatives, we’ll get a balanced approach. The ensuing processes will consistently produce results, while still allowing some flexibility to address nuances among the various functions.
Over and above that, there a few other key considerations that will help to ensure that your improvements work in practice:
Make the processes scalable. Larger divisions may have multiple staff members at the end of the process while smaller offices might have only one person. A well-designed process accommodates for these differences, and can be adapted by office location.
Take a holistic view. Don’t just focus on the preparation stage or the review stage, for instance. Analyse the operation “end-to-end”.
Be inclusive. Establish a cross-functional team to work on the process improvements. By including representatives from all levels within the organisation (from Administration to Middle Managers to Senior Managers to CEO), everyone will feel involved and you will attain great results.
By keeping your top priority in mind at all times—to better serve your customers— you’ll be well on your way to making effective and efficient improvements, not only in your processes but in the results that you give to the customer.
Your customers – and your team – will greatly appreciate your efforts.
Guest Contributor: Frazer Grundy, is a Business Analyst and seasoned process architect