Better Your Approach To Satisfying Your Customers, Managing Workflow, and Growing Your Business
The most overused tenet of any business is probably “the customer is always right.” But the customer may not always be “right,” if one were to be so literal as to the word meaning. The customer may just not be expressing his or her wants or needs the correct way.
For any business to thrive, you must find a way to make sense of a dissatisfied customers’ wants to serve them better. The little things are what make the user’s experience even a bit easier matter.
The Apple Takeaway
This is why companies like Apple have been successful for so long, even considering the dips they go through from time to time. It’s evident that their product designs have been particularly thought out, end-user experience foremost in their minds.
Even in customer service, while not perfect, Apple sets the bar high. Their customers buy into it, and not only the Apple loyalists. Their customers know that the value of their investment in Apple’s products will be more than returned in the productivity they are able to accomplish, given the tools that Apple churns out, as well as the care they receive when/if they would be in need of service post-sale.
The Philosophies Behind Business Process Improvement
You may have already heard of the Lean and Six Sigma philosophies, and more and more commonly, Lean Six Sigma. Lean, as its name implies, aims for the least waste. Each step in the manufacturing process should add value to the product. Six Sigma aims to limit the number of defects, 3.4 defects for every 1 million opportunities as its baseline.
Lean Six Sigma is essentially the amalgam of these two methodologies.
Lean and Six Sigma are utilized in most manufacturing and industrial industries, while business process management (BPM) is the model that quite simply aims to optimize a business process.
These three approaches are similar in that they are each a logical and objective way to take a company from where it is to where it wants to be by identifying areas and means to implement improvements and providing for continuous monitoring. The end goal of these philosophies being the continued growth of the business.
Business Process Management: An Overview
Business process management is simply that—managing the company’s business processes to optimize the outputs of all its nuts and bolts, nuts and bolts being the people, the tasks they perform, and the tools they need to accomplish these tasks. These three things are themselves the pillars of BPM: people, process, technology.
The BPM Lifecycle:
- Design. BPM has a circular lifecycle starting at design—visualizing the business processes across your organization, defining roles and assigning specific tasks to be performed by each role. The project manager must thoroughly study and analyze the different business process each individual and department performs, all the while keeping the business end goal in mind.
- Simulation. The business process would then be modeled and simulated, as in “what if” scenarios.
- Execution. When the model is approved for deployment, next comes the execution.
- Monitoring. After execution, it is crucial that a means to continuous monitoring of metrics, volumes and other measures be in place.
- Optimization. Steps to optimize these processes should then be taken when/if bugs or bottlenecks are identified in any of the steps.
The Essential Role of BPM in Customer Service
BPM needs to be cross-functional, meaning one department should know what steps one customer has gone through, regardless of the department or customer service channel (face-to-face, online chat, email, or phone) he or she has already utilized.
The business process management software (BPMS) you choose to deploy can play a significant role in making this a reality. The right BPMS can help you enforce the way a business process is supposed to be performed. It can generate forms, tools that help capture the necessary information, and route this information to the appropriate departments and people.
Online forums and social media—Twitter and Facebook being the ones worthy of the most note—can help companies resolve problems for more than one customer at once. The data, the customer demographics, problem specifics, and others can also then be gathered much more easily, collated and analyzed to prevent and predict similar or related problems before they occur. These all benefit the customer experience.