I recently looked into the importance of the customer journey, measuring customer experience or customer effort! Interestingly - very few articles acknowledged that operational excellence plays a big part in this! Find out why.
Operational Excellence vs Customer Experience
Over the last couple of weeks I’ve been following all the very interesting articles on Linked In about the importance of the Customer Journey, measuring Customer Experience and Customer Effort. I can’t help thinking though – what happened to good solid operational excellence? Where did we lose the basics of making a customer experience good and the customer journey a smooth one? Where does operational excellence start? And how does it fit in with the customer experience we all so desperately want to get right? I look at five key areas, which I believe being instrumental to deliver operational excellence. They are;
- On-boarding & Training
- Accurate Reporting & Quality Measures
- Performance Management
- Risk & Control Management
Too many times the roles we are recruiting for are not properly described, skills are not really specified and expectations are not clearly pointed out. This is in addition to always advertising at the lower end of the salary scale . This leads to substandard quality of an intake, more training than necessary, disgruntled staff, high attrition and back to recruitment. How can customer experience be good with substandard recruitment?
2. On-boarding and Training
We all started jobs and fought our way through! No contracts on day one, first salaries not paid due to pay day cut off, an induction day that talks about the greatness of the company we joined, but sadly there is no visit from the line manager. Or the head of department to outline the vision they have for the company, in an effort to get everybody aligned. It then goes on to rushed-through training, as time is money, training very often seen as a cost rather than an investment, proof of learning fiddled, no plan in place for people who take a little longer to pass – so they are either released (poor employee engagement) or thrown onto the callcenter floor – leaving operations to deal with the individual. How can customer experience be good with substandard on-boarding or training?
3. Accurate Reporting & Quality Measures
Ever got angry at reports not making sense? Productivity figures not being available? Quality numbers hard to get, hence being kind of left aside? It’s astonishing how many companies are not investing in robust MI, a data warehouse, intelligent phone routing, call recording. Why is that? Given that we all talk about data, data interpretation, data sharing? If there is no accurate data, effective performance management can’t take place. So how can customer experience be good with substandard reporting on a daily basis?
4. Performance Management
We already established that in order to performance manage, one requires accurate data. So, what do we do then? Are we using the data for coaching? Praising improvement or indeed excellent results? Are we using data to establish our top performers and develop them further, based on their skill set? Are we using data to work with the bottom quadrille of our workforce to push them over the line? And if that’s not possible, are we willing to help them to be successful elsewhere? A thorough Performance Management culture is time consuming and requires investment from all managers on all levels. Many times have I have witnessed performance management being used to work with agents. They are RAG listed, put on Performance improvement plans – that’s missing the point. Performance management should draw out the best of each individual, improve lesser skills to an acceptable level and build on the excellent results. And what about our Team leaders? The Operations Manger? The Workforce Planner? The Senior Ops Mgr? The Director? Isn’t it right that so many in middle or senior managerial roles are not getting their one to one’s? They are not getting a quarterly or six monthly appraisal. And they are not getting any development at all.
How can customer experience be good if holistic performance management is lacking?
5. Risk & Control Management
One might be tempted to argue that Risk and Control only adds value in a regulated environment, I disagree. In any environment we work towards guidelines, regulatory or not, contractual requirements or targets issues by the company we work for. With a Risk Log, an Issues log and a RAID log we remain focused. Risk Management is not about highlighting the risks and sitting back. It’s about focusing on eliminating the risk and it ensures we reach the common goal. But that requires a common goal, a vision and a mission, which links back to the second point I made. If nobody understands where we are headed to, how can Risk Management be effective and help to get us there? And subsequently, how can customer experience be good?
You will have noticed, the point I’m making is simple. Only operational excellence and diligence can set a company up to deliver an excellent customer experience and a smooth, hassle-free customer journey.
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