Among the most popular New Years resolutions for the coming year, getting organized is one that seems to always make it near the top of the list. I, for one, could benefit greatly from organizing my own world a little better.
Professional organizers will argue that the first step is purging what you have. Be brutal, they say. Rid yourself of absolutely everything you dont need.
In a recent, frenzied spat of organizing, I sifted through several file boxes haunted by ghosts of business past. I found things that led me down that meandering emotional path we call memory lane. I re-discovered reports, articles and even performance reviews that made me feel both proud and wistful about some ignorance Ive since outgrown. But I was determined to follow the advice of the pros I was going to be brutal.
So I continued to stack empty file folders, and recycle and shred anything I didnt have a clearly defined use for.
It was in this mindset that a client asked me to review some customer processes. I attacked these processes with the same mantra: Be Brutal. And I was reminded once more:
Processes are often created for processes-sake.
When it comes to customer processes, you cannot deny: adding more steps, layers of bureaucracy or excessive approval delays action, limits people, and in short, makes your experience suck.
Why? As customers, we want some very basic things. We want interactions with your company to be simple and pleasant. We want to feel like you give a damn. When your front-line employees are forced to say things like, I need authorization to continue helping you, or Thats handled by another department, youre creating a bad experience. When your website or mobile app has error messages that halt or derail the customer experience and is devoid of help options, youre creating a bad experience. Period.
The customer process purge is not for the faint of heart.
Sadly, most of us are too close to the process, and often become married to it when its created. We worry about things like, how will this affect the budget for item XYZ? and the control-freak boss will insist on approving any and all changes. So our customers are sent through nerve-racking labyrinths, and we make them seem benign by just calling them processes.
The best companies walk in their customers shoes as often as they can. The very best ones find a way to evaluate the process from a totally outside perspective. (Yes, by invoking the help of 360Connext or other professionals but you can also ask random strangers.)