Don’t confuse your system with reality

Improving our processes is hard work.  There’s a lot of research and thinking that goes into the exercise of getting better at what we do.  Add to that the complexities and politics of change management—especially if your organization is large and/or well-established—and it can be daunting for sure.  People spend careers refining their approach to Process Engineering, and quite frankly, if it’s being done right, there’s a lot of math involved.  And as any one of my cadets can tell you…math is hard.

One thing that (unnecessarily, in my opinion) makes it even more of a challenge is the wrong perspective.  I consider it unnecessary because it’s a human tendency, but not an inevitability, to see things from our own perspective and miss those of others. (more…)

By | 2021-03-08T16:26:03+00:00 March 8th, 2021|Categories: Consulting, CX Strategy, CX Thoughts, Process Engineering|0 Comments

Don’t let your most valuable resource go

I’m blessed to have been recruited to work in the field of Customer Experience.  I came to the practice of CX via Process Engineering (Lean Six Sigma, or LSS).  Using PE to better our CX is an incredibly fulfilling use of a legacy approach to improving what we do.  Years ago, before I was involved in CX, I saw how, sadly, PE was often used to ‘find efficiencies’, which usually meant looking for redundancies and people to fire.  Back in the day, I mortified my then-boss when I posted the following article to my professional network about why that’s a bad idea.  Somehow it didn’t get me in trouble (too much).  I recently re-read it, gave it some buffing, and present it to you here today.  Plenty of organizations still use PE organically simply to reduce resource use and eliminate waste in their business processes; a noble endeavor as well.  Regrettably, the trend still exists to cut people as a spoil of those improvements.  For those who aren’t yet using PE for CX purposes, perhaps this can still resonate with you.  Enjoy.

 

One of the things my colleagues and I emphasize when we educate our partners about Lean Six Sigma and Continuous Improvement is that it shouldn’t be used to reduce headcount. Some managers and executives I train think that new-found capacity after a process improvement is made is a good opportunity to draw down. Here are two important reasons why that’s a very bad idea: (more…)

By | 2021-03-01T16:33:25+00:00 March 1st, 2021|Categories: CX Strategy, CX Thoughts, Leadership, Process Engineering|0 Comments

Chesterton and his gate

One of my favorite Process Engineering tools is the Five Whys.  The basic principle is to consider a problem or imperfection, ask why it’s the way it is, and then ask why that explanation is so.  We keep digging (as the title suggests, five times, but your mileage may vary) until we’ve uncovered the true root cause of an issue.  The idea here is to work toward better understanding what’s behind a problem rather than simply fixing the facial, obvious symptoms.  This aids in efficiency as we’re less prone to waste our time simply swatting at proverbial flies but rather identifying an underlying failure, fixing it, and thereby avoiding further deficiencies.

Now, as with any tool, it can be overused or misapplied.  Some folks will barge into a problem-solving situation, claim to ask “Why?” five times, and call themselves heroes for having broken through the “it’s how we’ve always done it” mentality.  Nice try, but the Five Whys is more than just seeming to be an iconoclast or dynamic thinker.  If you’re only asking “Why” rhetorically or just to be snarky or look like the smartest person in the room, it’s likely you’ll miss the whole point.  The purpose of asking “Why” is actually two-fold:  to search earnestly for the root cause, but also to better understand the systems that are currently in place and, well, why they’re there (the jobs they were intended to accomplish). (more…)

By | 2021-02-22T17:37:25+00:00 February 22nd, 2021|Categories: Consulting, CX Strategy, CX Thoughts, Leadership, Process Engineering|0 Comments

Maybe you are already “doing” CX

“You’re soaking in it.”  Do you remember that commercial for dishwashing soap that was supposed to be so incredibly good for your skin that the lady who’d gone in (to see Madge, remember?) for a manicure was unknowingly enjoying its benefits, thinking she was dipping her fingers into some wonderful skin tonic?  Or have you heard the concept of fish not realizing they’re wet because they’re surrounded by water? (more…)

By | 2021-02-16T16:20:58+00:00 February 16th, 2021|Categories: Consulting, CX Culture, CX Strategy, CX Thoughts, Leadership, Process Engineering, VoC|0 Comments

Whose problem are you solving?

I’ve written about Customer Effort Score (CES) before and kind of chided the intractability of defining it specifically.  Of course, it’s not fair to pick on CES, as I’ve written in other instances, even common definitions like First Contact Resolution runs into definitional problems when they encounter actual Customer opinions (we all have our own definitions).

But specifically, when it comes to Effort (or, as I sometimes will call it, “hassle”), I remember a wise Process Engineer who used to work for me once noted:  “we’re defining ‘hassle’ from our own perspective.”  And he was correct to point it out in that instance.  I wonder:  Are you doing the same? (more…)

By | 2021-01-07T16:49:39+00:00 January 7th, 2021|Categories: CX Strategy, CX Thoughts, Process Engineering, VoC|0 Comments

CX…inside Customer Support?

Where is your CX function located?

That’s a common question often used to kick off conversations on many webinars and conference chats.  For a while I found it mildly interesting as a survey question and as an icebreaker or a means of getting people engaged right off the bat.  But the more I found the answer to be “within the Customer Support organization,” the more puzzled I became:

Isn’t the goal of CX, to a degree at least, to drive support out of business? (more…)

By | 2020-10-29T14:46:02+00:00 October 29th, 2020|Categories: CX Strategy, CX Thoughts, Leadership, Process Engineering, ROI of CX|0 Comments

Lead and lag measures

You know I’m all about metrics and measures.  One of the things that made entering the CX profession so attractive to me was that this is a field of study that’s not only based in numbers, it’s starving for people who have an affinity for measuring.  CX is a study that’s founded on measuring…from survey results to Customer habits and attitudes to top-level improvements in your CX KPIs, numbers are all around us.

One topic of confusion I’ve seen a lot over my time is in regard to lead versus lag measures.  Everybody’s got their own opinions and there doesn’t seem to be a textbook answer to what’s what, so take this as simply my theory and how I approach what’s meant when we speak of such things. (more…)

By | 2020-10-15T16:00:46+00:00 October 15th, 2020|Categories: CX Thoughts, Measures & Metrics, Process Engineering|0 Comments

Three uses of your feedback

I’m a big fan, as you know, of negative feedback.  I suggest that CX professionals be greedy for negative feedback.  Since slaps on the back and hoorahs from your most ardent fans don’t really help you improve, you should be eager to hear “suggestions” from your Customers as to how you can better serve them.  Fortunately, there’s rarely a shortage of such inputs.  So what do you do with this feedback?  There are three ways in which you should be using every negative piece of information you receive from your Customers, regardless of the method of transmission: (more…)

By | 2020-09-10T15:50:44+00:00 September 10th, 2020|Categories: CX Thoughts, Process Engineering, VoC|0 Comments

Do something! Process Engineering in your CX program

This is part three of a four-part series of posts about the components of a world-class CX function.  I began last week with an overview of the structure.  Since then I’ve posted on CX strategic alignment and your Voice of the Customer program.  We come now to the action part of this series of articles where I’ll emphasize what you do to improve your CX.  In the last installation we’ll discuss what it takes to build and support a Customer-centric culture.

One of the cliché lines I use with my clients (and anybody else who’ll listen) is that without action, your Voice of the Customer (VoC) program is a lot like the weather:  Sure it impacts you, and yes everybody talks about it, but nobody ever does anything about it.  A good friend of mine and CX guru Nate Brown will often say that too many folks see VoC as the finish line instead of the starting point that it really is.  In fact, if all you’re doing with your CX data is reporting it up to leadership, it’s not likely to be doing much good.  No matter how valuable the insights gleaned from (for example, but surely not limited to) survey data, it’s not going to do you any good if you’re not doing something with it.  First of all it’s a waste of your analyst’s time and effort to simply report it up the chain or put it on a pretty slide if you’re not going to act on it.  Secondly, and more importantly, it’s kind of an insult to your Customers to ask them for their input and not use it to improve their experiences.

So how do you do that? (more…)

By | 2020-10-26T18:40:46+00:00 August 17th, 2020|Categories: CX Strategy, CX Thoughts, Process Engineering|0 Comments