We just published a Temkin Group report, Customer-Infused Process Improvement, which provides five strategies for instilling customers’ needs into process improvement methodologies. Here’s the executive summary:
Process improvement and customer experience have traditionally served different roles in a company. However, these two disciplines are starting to intersect as customer experience looks to process improvement to operationalize key customer interactions and process improvement needs customer experience to provide customer-focused insights and continually monitor new processes. Temkin Group proposes that companies bring these two approaches together into Customer-Infused Process Change. This report highlights five strategies critical to driving this new approach: Prioritize Improvements Across Customer Journeys, Embrace Deep Customer Empathy, Involve Customers in Solution Development, Innovate to Meet Latent Needs, and Measure Success with Customer-Focused Metrics. To make process improvement efforts more customer-centric, organizations need to infuse these strategies across all aspects of process improvement.
It’s time for process improvement to become more focused on customers. Rather than abandoning existing process improvement methodologies, Temkin Group recommends bringing a customer orientation into your efforts. We call this approach Customer-Infused Process Change (CiPC), which we define as:
Driving improvements based on a deep understanding of customer needs.
The report provides best practices across five strategies of CiPC:
- Prioritize Improvements Across Customer Journeys: By understanding customer interactions in the context of their broader journeys, companies can invest in process improvements projects that have the most impact on the customer’s experience.
- Embrace Deep Customer Empathy: In order to effect sustainable changes, employees impacted by redesigned processes need to understand why these changes are important to customers.
- Involve Customers in Solution Development: Process improvement efforts must have resources available to ensure that ongoing, incremental changes can be made based on this customer input.
- Innovate to Meet Latent Needs: Customers can’t always articulate what they want; instead, they often describe a slightly improved version of what they already know.
- Measure Success with Customer-Focused Metrics: Companies can’t measure the success of process improvement efforts with internally focused, operational metrics.
The bottom line: Process improvements need more customer insights.