I’ve been following a series of articles by Jim Tincher for Heart of the Customer in which he tackles this fundamental (and beautifully simplified) truth:
“If you can improve customers’ experiences with your company, they will be happier, they’ll stay with you longer, and both the business and your customers will prosper…
“But actually improving the experience is hard.”
You know what’s even harder for a lot of brands right now? Improving their customers’ experiences during a period of unprecedented uncertainty.
Throughout the series, Tincher speaks to the emerging reality that, for most brands, achieving superior customer experience – in the months and years going forward – is going to require some serious, fundamental change management. In his most recent installment, he points to 3 obstacle-removing mega efforts that brands must be willing to undertake in order drive the CX transformation they need.
I’ve included the piece, below. It’s a quick, clear, helpful read and I highly recommend it.
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Enable CX Action by Removing Barriers
By Jim Tincher
On our continuing journey exploring John Kotter’s 8 Steps to Accelerate Change and how you can apply them to the CX world, we have reached the fifth step: Enable Action by Removing Barriers. (Catch up on earlier posts in the series here!)
According to our forthcoming work on understanding how companies improve their customers’ journeys, one of the top obstacles to improvement is organizational complexity.
This is reinforced in our experience mapping journeys, where we find “handoffs” during the journey to be one the biggest challenges. Ensuring customers’ progress continues when they move between departments isn’t easy. During onboarding, it’s not unusual for three to six different parts of the organization to be involved.
This is where experience design comes in.
As Kotter argues, “innovation is less about generating brand-new ideas and more about knocking down barriers to making those ideas a reality.”
There are as many ways to remove barriers as there are types of barriers. But three prime categories come to mind: process improvement, reorganization, and technological investments.
It’s strange that we don’t hear much buzz in the CX blogosphere around process improvement, because it’s critical to success. I tend to avoid Six Sigma teams, because while the core Six Sigma concept requires voice of the customer as an input, I find this is rare in reality. All too often, Six Sigma becomes a way to outsource the work to customers in the name of reducing “waste.”
Heart of the Customer recently worked with a global manufacturer to understand their supply journey to their customers. We were there to document all the good work they did. What we discovered is that they previously had very strong relationships and put in a ton of joint innovation effort.
But their “process improvement” teams considered this waste. Instead of customer barbecues, site visits, and joint innovation projects, all communication was centralized to customer service. As a result, they lost all the goodwill they had previously earned, and slid down from partner to third-tier vendor.
However, done right, Six Sigma and other process improvement approaches are a key CX capability. Process improvements can reduce handoffs, accelerate results, and save costs – all good news for both the customer and your company. Just be sure to keep the voice of the customer front and center.
Senior Vice President, Sales and Marketing
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