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How to Use Process Management to Improve Customer Experience

Posted By Administration, Friday, January 11, 2019

An article from one of our Board Advisors, Andrew Spanyi.

 

Customer experience is the new battleground. This is evidenced by Gartner’s report that over 80% of marketing leaders expect to compete mainly based on customer experience (CX). Yet, the current reality is that many efforts to improve CX are mired in isolated, bottom-up initiatives. Even when the CX agenda is top down driven, more often than not, a departmental mental model dominates. Do you also wonder why there’s so much lip service devoted to “collaboration” – but so little clarity on precisely who needs to collaborate and how?

Viewing the business from the outside-in and in a business process context is crucial to success in improving customer experience. It is a big part of shifting management attention from what individual departments do - to how departments collaborate to create value for customers. This perspective clarifies who needs to collaborate and in what way to create value. But it’s easier said than done, in part because it requires close cooperation between process management and customer experience professionals.

 A well planned effort begins with a concise, one page customer journey map that documents, at a high level, the entire customer journey.  Many companies already emphasize key touchpoints, but the more important area of focus to drive action is the customer’s end-to-end journey. Such a customer journey map (CJM) begins to become effective when it is discussed by the senior leadership team and is transparent throughout the organization.

A good customer journey map will not only identify the critical touchpoints or “moments of truth”, but it will also lay the groundwork for linking the key end-to-end business processes that create value for customers. The best way to define the relevant processes is to use the “from-to” nomenclature that is frequently associated with value streams. Using definitions such as “inquiry to quote,” “quote to order,” “order to delivery,” and “request to resolution” can better clarify the boundaries of the process, the desired customer outcome(s), the most customer centered performance metrics and the departments that need to collaborate for value creation. That is why this nomenclature is far superior to using phrases or one word definitions of the business process as the naming convention. Consider the following few examples of this nomenclature:

  •  Promote to quote
  • Order to delivery
  • Requisition to receipt
  • Schedule to produce
  • Idea to commercialization
  • Requisition to On-board
  • Requirements to Maintenance

 

Just imagine how the dialogue around the connection of customer needs to the “inquiry to quote” process can create thought provoking insights. Similarly, imagine how the dialogue around the connection of customer expectations for timely complete order delivery need to the “order to delivery” process can create valuable insights.

Connecting the key insights on how cross functional processes work to customer needs is one key component in shifting management attention from a departmental view to a customer focused, value chain view. It is also an effective means of embedding customer focus into the companies operating model.

Furthermore, it can help drive success with digital transformation – where many firms are failing. Another major benefit of linking how enterprise level business processes create value for customers is the clarity it can create in dealing with data silos. Many organizations struggle with their automation efforts due to the data silos that have been created over decades by legacy systems.

Interested? In that case, consider the following success factors in using Process Management to improve Customer Experience.

  1.  The organization has developed a high level CJM.
  2. The leadership team has passion in discussing key touchpoints in the CJM.
  3. The organization has developed a list of enterprise level processes using a “from-to” nomenclature and connected process performance to customer needs.
  4. Process improvement projects are launched to improve performance at key touchpoints.
  5. Project prioritization is driven primarily by customer value creation.
  6. Each improvement project is staffed with cross functional teams.
  7. Project success is measured based on the degree of improvement in the quality and timeliness of service to customers.

 

There are many pitfalls to avoid along the way. One of the more common pitfalls is diving into too much detail too soon. Another is defining processes at a too low, granular level. High level schematics are needed for dialogue and action planning. Most organizations find that there are no more than 8 to 14 enterprise level processes. The more detailed schematics can come later.  It’s the dialogue around how enterprise level business processes create value for customers that drives needed collaboration and action.

Viewing performance in a customer centered, business process context is far superior to seeing it according to what individual departments do. In the future, as Marc Benioff tweeted, there’s a good chance that “every digital transformation is going to begin and end with the customer…”

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How to Become a Better Manager in Business

Posted By Administration, Wednesday, January 9, 2019

In order to find even a small degree of success in the world of business, you have to be a great manager. There are no two ways about it, you need to be able to motivate and lead others, and you have to be able to make tough decisions when needs be.

If you feel that your management skills could do with improving, then you’ve come to the right place. Below, there can be found comprehensive advice on the matter of becoming a better manager in business.

Seek education

As good as it is to throw yourself into the deep end of management by learning on the job, there are also massive benefits to be gotten from seeking and embracing education with regards to the subject. By doing so, you would be able to master all the techniques that turn okay managers into great ones.

No matter where you live or what your current level of education is, there will always be a plethora of potential management study options for you to take. You could go back to college, for instance, and take an MBA degree. If you’ve already done that in the past, however, fear not as you still have educational options — you can go one step further than that by getting yourself enrolled on an online Six Sigma White Belt program. Offered by 6Sigma, such a course would provide you with extensive training and education with regards to everything from productivity improvements to performance enhancement to organizational change.

Master the art of motivation

If you are able to harness a positive atmosphere in the workplace that you manage, productivity will improve tenfold. You’re not going to be able to spread such positivity, however, without, first, being a master of motivation. You need to know what makes certain employees tick. You need to know the words and actions that need to be taken to get the most of people.

In this instance, a good rule of thumb is to never merely hand over responsibilities. Instead of giving your workforce a list of things to do, speak to them all individually as people about their goals and then give them advice on how they can achieve them — if you need to make time to do this in your working day, then go ahead and make it!

Always lead by example

One of the most important jobs you will be tasked with as a manager is having to build trust in your workplace. You’re never going to build trust, though, if you, yourself cannot be trusted. For this reason, practicing what you preach is of paramount importance. You need to follow the rules that you set, you need to show yourself to be willing to out of your way to do your best for the team, and you need to lead by example.

To become a better manager in business, you need to do a number of things. You need to educate yourself in the field, you need to master the art of motivation, and you need to learn to lead by example.

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Top Business Practices Worth Implementing

Posted By Administration, Thursday, January 3, 2019

Every business has a set of practices that they follow. This helps guide all of their operations so that they’re able to meet their objectives as an organization. However, before a business can compose a set of practices that actually work for them, it can take some time. After a series of trials and errors, however, they should find that they’re making progress. If you’re about to revisit your practices or are thinking of new ones to put into place in the coming year, continue reading. Here are top business practices that may be both useful to your business and worth implementing.

Unify Branding and Marketing

Branding and marketing may be two different departments, but in some ways they’re interdependent. The truth is that without good branding, it can be hard to market products to an audience. This is because usually, people buy brands before they buy products. For this reason, both teams should work together to ensure they’re using the same messaging, tone, and language throughout all of their work. Seeing as the branding team will inform such things, they should ensure the marketing team has a good idea of their brand identity.

Tightening Security

Security is another best practice that should be implemented in the new year. Make sure that networks are secure and employees are following protocol put in place. Here are a few suggestions for tightening security.

Use Firewalls - If you don’t already have some, install firewalls on your systems so that unauthorized parties can’t access sensitive information. In doing so, you should have an added layer of security working for you.

Backup Data - Data isn’t something that is easy to retrieve, so losing it could be catastrophic. Make sure you backup your data regularly via the cloud or an external hard drive, so you always have access to backup. In case anything happens to your hard drive, you should contact SecureForensics.com, as they offer hard drive recovery services.

Offer employee training - Everyone needs to be on the same page when it comes to security in your business. Offer training, so that staff know how to avoid mistakes that could lead to cyberattacks and data breaches.

Have an up-to-date Strategy

Your business strategy should be a guiding light that tells you where to go and how to get there. It’s imperative that you make sure it’s up to date so that you know you’re on the right track. Some elements of your business strategy to improve are analyzing your context and environment, identifying your strategic options and making sure you’re adequately implementing. Don’t forget to carefully look at the progress you’ve made so far and how far away you are from your business goals.

Develop Quality Management

Management plays a major role in the success or failure of a business. You should focus on improving the management in your company so that you can see positive growth. To improve management, you should develop ownership so that they feel like their team members growth is their responsibility. Explore the option of hiring people who are smarter than you as they’re likely to improve the overall standard. If you aren’t already, it may also help to use a quality management system which addresses product of service quality through the standardization of processes. 

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3 Technologies That Will Help You to Better Manage Your Business

Posted By Administration, Thursday, January 3, 2019

Managing your business will always be a difficult task — the more difficult this task is, the better the rewards are in the long run. You need not struggle alone when it comes to your management duties, however, as there are a host of different pieces of technology out there that are waiting and willing to help you.

To find three pieces of technology that will help you in your bid to manage your business better, make sure to read on.

CRM technology

Customer Relationship Management software and systems will help you out no end in your attempt to manage and get the most out of your customer base. It will do so, first and foremost, through the way it will store customer information and make you aware of anything you need to know with regards to it, exactly when you need to know it.

If you run a subscription service, for instance, your CRM system will alert you whenever a customer’s subscription is up for renewal, which would then allow you to get into contact with them in a bid to ensure that they sign up with you for another period of time.

Choosing the right CRM system to integrate with can be difficult, which is why you should work alongside a DesignRush software developer when you do. By doing so, you’ll receive expert counsel with regards to both choosing the right system in the first place and then getting the most out of your third-party integration partner going forward.

Uptime technology

Today, your website plays as big a role as just about anything else in your bid to attract custom. If your website is down at any point, then, an untold amount of trouble could unfold for you. A customer could access your site in the hopes of finding out a piece of invaluable information, only to discover that it’s down and that them making the effort to come to you was all for nothing. A lack of patience on their part will, undoubtedly, seem them high-tail it away from your website and straight to your competitor’s.

To manage your customers and keep them on your site and well and truly in your corner, you need to be using uptime technology. When used, this type of tech will monitor your website at all times for you. If it sees or detects that anything has gone awry, it will alert you right away, and your job will then be to get everything up and running again.

Cloud storage

If you’ve ever had your important business data wiped, then you’ll know how important it is to have everything stored in a safe place. This makes everything easier for you to manage, and harder for external forces to hack into. Today, in this instance, there’s no better tech to use than cloud storage. By embracing this mode of saving, you’ll be able to access all of your important data, whether you’re in the office or not — in fact, you’ll be able to access it whether you’re in the country or not!

Whether you feel that you need help when it comes to managing your business or not, if anything, the technologies listed above will undoubtedly make your life a lot easier. 

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How to Apply Business Process Management Principles to Your Website

Posted By Administration, Thursday, December 6, 2018

Business process management (BPM) is about optimizing your operations for maximum productivity and effectiveness. The principles of BPM can be applied to all functions of your business, including your online presence, and few companies have anything much more important than a website to manage. If your site is ticking along in the background with little input, using a BPM approach will boost your website’s profile and influence, ensuring that you’re getting the best results from your staff and making a sizeable impact on the people who visit your site.

1.    Who looks after your website?

In a small business, it’s possible you take charge of maintaining your site, but you should ask yourself if that’s the best use of your time. Creating content and supervising what appears on the site could well be useful inputs, but the routine monitoring of functionality and the processes of posting content and updating information could be better carried out by a member of staff. You could use a remote worker for this type of role, so even if you have no or very few staff, you can still outsource your website maintenance.

2.    Planning and scheduling

If you don’t have a plan in place, tasks can very quickly get delayed or be missed out altogether, so you should draw up a schedule that lists all the actions that need to be taken and when the work should be carried out. You could, for example, include on your schedule that you post a new piece of content to your site every afternoon at 3 pm, or you update the advertising banners every Thursday. A well-defined plan will ensure that nothing gets missed out and that everything is kept as up-to-date as possible.

3.    Managing your website

There are a variety of tools available to help you manage your site, for example, social media account management software that ensures your posts go out at the time you prefer every day. There are tools for managing and changing all your advertisements to keep them current as well, such as the ad tech from Revive Ad Server. New ways of managing websites more efficiently are constantly being developed, so keep yourself informed about any new tech that could help you streamline even further.

4.    Reviewing your website

A vital element of BPM is examining and assessing the actions you’ve taken and the effects they’ve had. Using management tools that have reporting functions in combination with Google Analytics or a similar device will give you plenty of data that you can use to ascertain who’s been visiting the site, how long they stay and what they do. You can spot areas that need improvement, and pick up on the kind of content that’s most popular with your customers, which means you can adjust your website to meet people’s needs more accurately.

Websites aren’t static entities that function in a vacuum; they’re active, ever-changing, and crucial for your business’s success, so make your website work better by applying the proven benefits of BPM.

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1/23/2019
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