Make it Easy Please
How easy is it for your customers to do business with you? I thought about this question while I was talking to a client who wanted to improve their team’s performance. We were just chatting during lunch when they shared the steps it took for them to get an issue resolved in the form of a “ticket cleared” with their service provider. My client couldn’t improve their own performance without help from a service provider. With all the provider’s processes and procedures, hoops and red tape, they made it very difficult for my client to do business with them. An example was when my client wanted to ask a question or log a concern with the software.
My client first had to go to the main website where 5 clicks later they could add in their information (10 items), then type their concern, and a ticket was generated. That ticket sat in a queue for around 3 days when it was sorted again and sent to another queue. It could sit there anywhere from 4-30 days. From there it would be answered, and sent back to the customer email. If the service provider needed more information from the customer, the reply would request the additional information and the customer would have to go through the whole queue process again! When would you have quit and said that this wasn’t worth the hassle? My client and I agreed that process has so many points where it could be improved from the customer experience angle.
I hope someone from that provider’s management pretend they were a customer and go through the process themselves. I think it would open some eyes. My client shared that this provider grew very fast and they didn’t have enough employees to support their customers. That is not the customer’s problem though. Yet by not paying attention to the number of steps to get issues resolved, the company made it a customer problem. Less hassle/steps= happier customer.
This week, I challenge you to think about your main service areas. In each of those areas, what steps do your customers take to get what they want or need? This includes your internal customers too. Are there steps that can be consolidated, sped up, or eliminated? For example, if you are in HR and you do the hiring, how easy is it for your applicants to work through your hiring process? Do you have applications online or do they have to come in and get a paper copy to fill out? Do you have interview times outside of normal work days and hours? Do you have forms that autofill so your applicants don’t have to fill out the same information on multiple screens. Start with sticky notes and write on each sticky note one step in the process. Then put the sticky notes on a wall or white board to illustrate that process. If there is a decision point, make sure you document the steps after that decision is made too. It is eye opening to see how many steps are in some processes. Make sure to document each step and don’t combine steps on a sticky note. Now, where are the sticky notes where things get backed up or delayed? Put a red dot on those steps. What are redundant steps? Can you remove steps and have the process flow better? Can you reorder steps to improve flow? Better yet, make it a team activity and see what others in your area think about the processes too. Then talk to teammates outside your area and see what thoughts they have. If we can make it easy to do business with us, perhaps more people WILL do business with us. It really is about the customer’s experience. Make it a good one.