Business after business appears to be retreating from any customer process improvement that is not either already underway, tied to regulations, or focused on cost reduction. OK, it is corny to say .Nyet. But our clients that work on customer service projects are hearing a lot of “no,” whatever the language. And the large software houses are not leading a charge to think differently in hard times. Just go to the web sites of the biggest names in enterprise software and read their lead stories: “it’s all about us” is the bottom line. IBM is a bit of an exception, which isn’t a major surprise because of their deep focus on services.
What should the vice president of customer service, or customer care do? Or the chief customer experience officer? Sit with the CIO and think differently: a) your jobs are on the line, b) the economies are not going to turn around in the next two quarters – at least, c) you’d better look busy unless you have a good fall-back job somewhere else, and d) try to work out how you could exploit this rare situation of having fewer project requests and some extra cycles, and focus on how you can come out of this a hero without asking for new budget.
Specifically? Every company still has significant waste in their processes. Field service technicians who wait on hold until the dispatcher gives approval to an installation, or insurance forms that are updated in one system, but the update is not reflected in the partner system for 48 hours, creating extra phone calls and re-worked submissions and payment claims. Or websites that leave the customer without answers to their questions, which cause phone calls into an IVR, and then a ‘punch out’ to a human, because no one recognized the process was broken.
Each one of the cases above comes from customers just this week. There are hundreds of small ways to improve processes and lower costs. Customers may be more sympathetic right now of you experimenting – especially if you level with them that you are searching for better processes to make their lives easier and give them more influence and control over their processes. There has never been a better time to tap into the customer/consumer community to work on process design, pricing ideas, or new product ideas. It is also a good time to find out just how innovative your core application providers are in helping you survive and thrive using their ‘indespensible” solutions.
Before you say “No” to a project that cannot deliver immediate cost reduction but might just do so, think about where you will be if you are NOT involved in a project. Out on the street.
Category: Uncategorized Tags: