Thursday, May 03, 2007

A tale of "moments of truth". 7 rules for Customer Management.

Ok, deep sigh, I had a "MOT" with a big company in the Netherlands. My telco provider, to be precise. (For MOT: see

And it made me, sadly, realize, that BPM is SO necessary.

Short recap:
- I moved to live together with my girlfriend
- Both of us have broadband ADSL connections, at the same provider
- For some strange reason, KPN/Hetnet have a "year subscription"rule, e.g. if not cancelled at last month, you are forced to stay another year (something that in my recollection only weird bookshops still try to do).... even if you have been subscribing for many years, as a happy paying customer....

Since I moved to a house which already had a ADSL connection, I called my provider to see if I could cancel my own. Two subscriptions on the same address would not work anyway.
What follows (and I will not go in all details) were the usual 15 calls, press 1 for, no we can't do this, sure we can, endless music and a growing frustration.

Some of the experiences made me realize that outside-in thinking, MOT's and event driven companies are a FAR future in many cases.

My lessons:
1. Sure, a call center is nice, but make sure that you have identified your common EVENTS
2. Make sure that for each event a protocol or process exists. It should not be too hard to think outside in, and collect most possible events that can occur with your customers. And decide how to deal with them....consistently.
3. Decide who you will assign the process coordinator role. And make sure it is NOT your customer. In this last MOT, I had call center agents, requesting me to call back in 2 days, because then a certain change would have been processed. Me.... with the typical re-explain story all over again, including the earlier discussions no,,,yes,,,but,,,,
4. Consider to assign "a problem owner". Someone that simply says "Sure, I understand your event, I understand our steps to fulfill your needs and comply with our standards, and I WILL TAKE CARE OF IT". My name is XXX, and you can always call me at ..... I will call you as soon as.... Make sure that your customer does not need to understand the internal working of your company, to get his or her problem solved.
5. Train your staff to record decisions and status. Ah, I see you have called us before. Sure, the status is now xxxxx, and no, you don't have to explain again or go into discussion again. Nice for your customer, even nicer for your internal coordination mechanismes.
6. Don't make your customer feel that when signing up to a service, all lights are on green, and when in a later stage all lights are on red. A sure thing to get them really distrustfull.
7. Treat a loyal customer good.

Amazing that when you talk to these companies, which I often do, they have fancy process management tools, BAM, SOA, etc. But the key thing they forget.... the people that buy their services...
Process maturity is not about technology, it is about understanding that every MOT (moment of truth) is created by many small actions by various people in your company. BPM can be used as an intervention to get these actions aligned. It asks for a culture of customer orientation, getting the job done,.... simply maturity.
Maturity. So... Grow up! (or be gone when your competitors understand this better....)


James Taylor said...

Make sure you know what your decisions are and which ones you want your people to take unassisted, which ones you want to your people to take but for which you will provide a system to support them, and which ones you want the customer/website/system to be able to take automatically.
Take control of your decisions!

Roeland Loggen said...

It's what I meant with protocol (or policy), a list of business rules and decisions. Business rules/decision making could be automated where needed of course.
But in my case, I just want them to make a decision (so I know what I am up agains) and RECORD them! ;-) so they remember these decisions next time (instead of "did that call center really say yes, well, sorry, but I do not agree and I also can not see that they told you that, do you have that in writing?.....)