If You Want Organizational Change, Ask The Customer To Complain

Author

Theo Priestley, Contributor

July 7, 2015

Organizational change is always at the top of the C-suite agenda but if you’re looking to improve operations across a number of areas where do you start ? Here’s a couple of suggestions.

Your operations need radical improvement. You have no idea how much work actually comes into the organization. You want to invest in a change program to gain that competitive advantage in an aggressive market but you just don’t know where to begin. It makes sense to pick a process that looks unwieldy and broken but will it solve wider issues or apply another sticking plaster ?

Invariably both your vision and appetite for change will center on two aspects:

  • What makes sense for me commercially, for customer and revenue growth ?
  • What makes sense to support my business case for change ?

You see, there are perhaps only two customer facing processes in the entire enterprise that will be your first candidates for implementing change if your intentions are to eventually scale across the organization. Otherwise you potentially limit the end vision and create a very constrained solution that addresses very little and can’t be used for future opportunities.

That and a beleaguered workforce who have to bear the cost of another broken promise.

So what two processes do I recommend you look at then ?

  • Customer Enquiries
  • Customer Complaints

Both processes sit across all product and channel domains. This is especially true if you’re looking at a cross-functional processes as the majority of cases in each example that are logged will incomplete, inconsistent and incorrectly managed.

But why only these two ? It boils down to where they ultimately lead.

When a customer complains, they’re telling you what’s wrong

Complaints is perhaps one of the best processes to actually tell you from a customer’s perspective what is actually wrong with your organization, not what youthink is wrong with it. Whether you like it or not, the customer has their finger on the pulse of your broken processes more than you do. Investigating the pains points, analyzing the root causes and perhaps implementing an automated solution (if that is your goal, whether a simple workflow or a full-blown ‘case management’ tool) will give you that much needed insight and tracking in order to support a wider scope for further process improvement and future planning of change.

When a customer asks, they’re connecting every silo

Enquiries is a real mixed bag but it’s a piece of the customer servicing layer that sits right at the top with hooks into everything. A perfect example is a Data Access Request, when a customer wants to understand what information you hold about them. The request can come from any number of entry points but in handling the enquiry in the correct manner the business must respond by asking every function what customer data is held. This is especially true of companies with disparate systems and no centralized data strategy or concept of a ‘single customer view’.

What’s more, an enquiry process designed in the right way it will contain all the fundamentals to be reused again and again across those multiple business functions, especially when implementing a software solution. This is an inherent problem when tackling process improvement together with a software implementation with a view to making it enterprise scale: deliver a point solution to take care of a specific pain point and you tie yourself in knots further down the line by designing a process fit for one smaller purpose only.

Look to build processes with a view to making use of those tasks that are common across a number of areas. Both enquiries and complaints are examples of these types of processes.

Now get started

Forget trying to build business cases for tactical changes without a strategic goal in mind. Look for processes that cut across domains and that will tell you more about your business operations and what your consumers think of you than curing a divisional pain point like a basic finance process.

“Your most unhappy customers are your greatest source of learning.” – Bill Gates

Both enquiries and complaints should be used as examples within a business case for change for creating a process-centric and customer focused organization that can radiate the benefits of improvement from there.

Now read why Change Makes A Monkey Of Us All

This article was written by Theo Priestley from Forbes and was legally licensed through the NewsCred publisher network.


There are 5 comments

  • Angela Ahmad - 11/03/2015 16:27
    Excellent point of view. However successful implementation of this type of change requires long term vision from and organization and may not be as successful with quarter to quarter focus.

  • Susan Hayes - 08/13/2015 14:00
    This has to be an organizational desire. The same message about the customer is constantly being replayed. Whether you want to listen is important!

  • If You Want Organizational Change, Ask The Cust... - 08/13/2015 09:19
    […] leadership, organizational change, Workforce Management  […]

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