Tearing Down the Customer Process Road Blocks

by Jeannie Walters

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Among the most popular New Year’s 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 don’t need.

customer process

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 I’ve 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 didn’t 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.

customer process

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 “That’s handled by another department,” you’re 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, you’re 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 it’s 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.)

customer process

Look at your processes with fresh, unbiased eyes. Be brutal! Eliminate any unnecessary or redundant steps, approval layers or organizational BS.

How do you plan your own customer experience process purge?

 Image credits: nojhanJacopo AKA Bracco & Alicia Nijdam-Jones via Creative Commons

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Jeannie Walters

Jeannie Walters is the CEO/Founder of Experience Investigators, a global Customer Experience consulting firm. She has 20 years of experience helping companies improve loyalty and retention, employee engagement, and overall customer experience. Jeannie is a Certified Customer Experience Professional (CCXP,) a charter member of the Customer Experience Professionals Association (CXPA,) a Professional Member of the National Speakers Association, LinkedIn Learning instructor, TEDx speaker, and President-Elect of the National Speakers Association Illinois chapter. Learn more here.

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