I left Progress Revolution behind and headed across town to Forrester’s Business Process Forum for the day, where we’re seeing a strong focus on improving customer experience instead of just improving business processes. In line with that, Bill Band, who covers CRM for Forrester, presented on how business process professionals can help deliver breakthrough customer experiences. As we saw earlier in the keynotes, we’ve moved from the age of manufacturing of 1900-1960, through the age of distribution of 1960-1990, the age of information of 1990-2010, and have entered the age of the customer. Consumers now have too many choices for you to expect them to stay with you if you provide a bad customer experience.
Forrester’s research shows that only 7% of customer experiences are rated as excellent, and Band encouraged us to put customer experience at the heart of any process transformation efforts. He has a bit of a strange view on business process professionals: I have the sense that he thinks we’re all Lean Six Sigma black belts who like to enforce rigid, structured processes. There’s a huge variability between good and bad customer experience, and that difference can result in huge differences in revenue opportunities. He pointed out that customer experience is what the customer perceives, not what you design for them, as they move through stages of discovering, buying, getting support and other steps along the customer journey. Furthermore, that customer journey may happen across multiple channels, for example, as the customer moves from a web order to telephone customer support.
Looking at processes in customer experience, we need to use Lean principles to eliminate waste from the customer viewpoint, not just the company viewpoint. We need to understand the full customer journey and all of the touchpoints that need to be managed, and ensure that the end-to-end customer processes are properly defined and orchestrated. This can lead to businesses reorganizing to eliminate business functional silos in favor of process-focused organizational models. This process-centricity that is starting to emerge in organizations puts more pressure on business process professionals, since we’re expected to be the change agents for customer experience while continuing to improve efficiencies.
Some of the lessons learned for improving your customer experience (CX) IQ:
- Centralize customer experience governance
- Create or enhance voice-of-the-customer programs
- Tap into the voice of the employee
- Implement customer centric-design processes
- Measure customer experience consistently across the enterprise
- Reward customer-centric behavior
It’s important to find and communicate your business case for customer obsession, and understand the customer journey. As process professionals, we have a big role to play in this.
There was a great Q&A – Bill has a great manner of providing thoughtful and informative answers on the fly, obviously based on a lot of practical experience.
Also, be sure to track the conference hashtag, #BPF11, since there’s lots of great activity going on over there.