Using Lean Management & Human-centered Design to Improve Government Customer Experience

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Lean Management is a customer-centric methodology used to improve the current business process by using the DMAIC (Define, Measure, Analyze, Improve, and Control) technique. Following the DMAIC blueprint will provide organizations insight into what the actual root cause problem is by measuring and analyzing various data sets, and developing process flow maps to understand the “as is” state.

• Define: Understanding the problem through the outputs of the human-centered design research

• Measure: Measure data pulled from the contact centers

• Analyze: Analyze and determine the cause(s) of the defects (understanding the waste).

• Improve: Improve the process by eliminating defects (unnecessary steps, decreased wait times, and shorter scripts)

• Control: Control future process performance (governance through new policies and procedures)

The lean approach focuses on increasing taxpayer value by improving the processes associated with delivering high customer value. Using the problems defined through the human center design research will point government in the right direction to which processes it needs to begin to hone it on. The problems government thinks are pertinent, may not be relevant in the eyes of the taxpayer. The contact center, being one of the first touch points for a taxpayer, can be reengineered to run more effectively and efficiently by making the internal workflow of calls leaner. The “as is” process map is the starting point to improving services because it visualizes the current process allowing for a clear picture of evident breakdowns in the process.

Defining the problem with the contact center and understanding the process is one piece to the puzzle, the ability to measure, analyze and improve based on the data collected is a critical component to developing sustainable, scalable solutions. Analyzing the various data sets will allow designers to identify areas of waste in the process, ultimately improving the experience of the taxpayer while simultaneously decreasing internal costs for government. Often than not, the government will tack on more employees and additional resources to a problem that can be easily solved by redesigning the process to work more efficiently. The desired outcome is to develop a solution that will be sustainable for government and taxpayers in the future and not a stop-gap solution for today.

Improving how calls are routed, improving the verbiage in the scripts, shortening wait times, and upgrading data collection platforms are all interlocked in improving the taxpayer’s experience when interacting with the contact centers. The one common denominator for all this to be successful is data. Data will allow leadership to understand the pain points in the process and begin to take a proactive approach in improving the taxpayer’s experience. Lean methodologies break down each component of the process to ensure the internal value stream is being utilized effectively to increase customer satisfaction. Human center design thinking is instrumental in providing lean management with accurate taxpayer problems to lay the framework for business process improvements across all facets of the contact center.

Want A Crash Course In Stanford’s Design Thinking? Here it is for free (Pt. 1 Empathy)

I’m using lots of opportunities to use the human centered design process in call centers. Love it!

Joey Aquino

The Institute of Design (D.School) at Stanford has become one of the most talked about institutions recently because of the methodology they are spreading around the world to improve our lives through a collaborative approach that inspires human centered innovations. Last week I had the absolute privilege of being a part of the Design Thinking Hawaii boot camp which was focused on improving the education system in Hawai’i.

I spent an entire week submersed in this methodology but most importantly put it to practice when coaching a team of educators through a 3 day design challenge. The Design Thinking process is broken up into a 5 step ITERATIVE (not linear) process.

In this first crash course post, I will discuss the “Empathize” step.

What is empathy?

To feel what someone else feels. To walk in another’s shoes. This is the very first step in the design thinking process and ultimately…

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Driving Customer Experience Series: 2 – Delivering the Experience

This is a very well thought, research and insightful post. A must read for any leader in the customer experience management space.

BrandVenture

Exceptional customer experiences, the ones that create stores and emotional connection, are all about breaking the rules, but as Pablo Picasso said,

“Learn the rules like a pro, so you can break them like an artist”

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Customer Service Versus Customer Experience: What’s The Difference…And Why It Matters

Reblog article: September 24, 2015 by Bruce Jones, Programming Director, Disney Institute

In case you’ve missed it, the term “customer experience” is everywhere in business these days. In fact, some experts have declared that focusing on the customer experience has become the single most important factor for an organization to achieve business success—creating a significant point of differentiation and competitive advantage.

But, what exactly is customer experience? How does it differ from customer service? And, how focused or concerned should your business or organization be about it? These are all great questions we hear from participants in our professional development training courses, so we thought this was a great opportunity to dive a little deeper.

First, let’s start by defining customer experience. According to Harvard Business Review, it can be defined as “the sum of all interactions a customer has with a company.” This can include everything from a customers initial awareness or discovery of a company, product or service, through the purchase and use of that’s company’s products or services. Together, these all add up to the critical moments—what we call touchpoints—that create an organization’s overall customer experience.

Then, to better understand what customer experience is (and isn’t)…consider this story about a car dealership we worked with several years ago. Although sales were solid, management was concerned that their customers and employees were not happy. So, we worked with their team to help them intentionally create, design, and implement an experience that would exceed customer expectations at every key touchpoint. By helping them think differently about aligning the entire organization – the employees, the processes, and the physical plant itself – around the customer experience, the results were dramatic, increasing sales by 26 percent over the past few years.

The key learning, we have found, is that “customer service” is too often thought of as a specific department, rather than as a core value and strategic imperative, owned by the entire organization. Consider that the traditionally defined “service department” could soon be obsolete, because there are so many interactions consumers have with your business before, during, and after any one specific touchpoint.

“Customer experience”, on the other hand, encompasses every aspect of a company’s offerings—from the quality of its customer care to its reputation management, marketing, packaging, product and service features, ease of use, reliability and beyond. As we like to say at Disney, while no one “owns the Guest,” someone, in every case, “owns the moment.”

Today, this distinction is more important than ever, especially if organizations want to continue to differentiate themselves from their competition. Customer experience must be understood and approached holistically, with those responsible for each area of a company’s offerings giving intentional thought and focus on how their decisions will shape and impact the overall customer experience.

So, there you have it. Customer experience goes beyond customer service alone, and is far more than any single leader, employee, or department. It’s about truly understanding your customer as segments and as individuals, architecting a plan for delivering exceptional experiences, and then empowering employees to deliver it across all touchpoints. And, it’s about developing leaders to reinforce the beliefs and behaviors that support exceptional customer experience.

Bottom line, if your organization wants to advance its customer experience, you must make it a strategic business priority.

Implement A Government Pilot Program to Assess Customer Experience

For victorious execution of a new technology, implementation must be extensive throughout your organization. This is where government technology pilot program comes into action. Government Pilot programs present the facility to crush new technology in small numbers, allowing you to botch out processes before comprehensive execution.

Pilot Programs will function as follows:

They will establish program goals, as well as processes for collecting feedback. The feedback assessment will help you make out potential doubts or qualms, in turn providing you the opportunity to alleviate them. Participants of a feedback should be made to feel that opinions positive and negative, both are equally welcomed.

Government pilot button will assess the feedback before the program begins and after it has concluded. These assessments, on comparison against each other, will show how each participant felt about:

Productivity
Processes and procedures
Internal and external communication
Business organization
Effortlessness of the job
General Work Impact

Feedback forms will be adapted with the organization’s objectives for the technology in mind.

Face to face discussions and focus groups are important when you are in search of blunt, honest dialogue. Government pilot assessment will rule this strategy, it differs from self-assessment forms as in that discussions provide the opportunity to dive deeper into respondents’ answers and discuss changes on a personal level.

Individual and small-group meetings communicate to participants that feedback is valued, important and worth your time. This in itself can hearten participants to supply straightforward responses, giving you an unfiltered viewpoint on the technology.

Gathering precise feedback from a technology pilot program enables the government to achieve more extensive shore up for execution. It can also aid to identify areas of concern that need addressed prior to large-scale rollout.

Rosetta Carrington Lue is the City of Philadelphia first Chief Customer Officer. She is a dynamic leader in the fields of Customer Experience Management, Strategy and Technology, Social Media and Community Engagement in both public and private sectors.

Say What? Government is Driving Towards Customer-Focused Initiatives

In the present times because of being well aware and well educated the public expectations are at their peak, and in contrast to this their trust in government is truly diminished to its lowest level ever, so there is a dire need for the public sector to come up with more customer friendly and promising initiatives. Experienced persons, seniors, students, taxpayers, every one of the citizens possess the right to enjoy the best service from their government. Here is our forecast for how the federal government will improve customer service in the upcoming times.

In the future most of the agencies in government will head to establish a Customer Experience Office that is accountable to the Chief of the agency. Fortunately many agencies have moved forward and hired Chief Customer Officers (CCOs), and more have strong affinity to follow in their footsteps.

Moreover, digital channels are increasingly dominating as the means for public’s preferred channel for networking with government. Digital business strategies would be focused in order to improve the customer experience throughout the way.

The Administration’s major emphasis on customer service provides agencies additional inducement and prop up to update services, set performance standards, and perk up the government- customer experience.

Mobile will be the potential mean to render service anytime, anywhere, on any device.

Keeping in view the fact that people demand to access government information and services from phones, tablets, or other devices, agencies will move to accurately-designed websites, and build up more mobile apps to meet this need. In addition to this social media will go on with effectively delivering information and services.

Instead of digital channels gaining partiality with some, many people still prefer face-to-face or phone contact. Contact centers will provide incorporation between channels through healthy knowledge bases used by websites, contact center representatives, and other techniques.

Another major customer service strategic initiative is that government employees will be recognized and rewarded for delivering great customer service to the public.

What are your organizational strategies to improve customer service over the next 3-5 years?

Rosetta Carrington Lue is the City of Philadelphia first Chief Customer Officer. She is a dynamic leader in the fields of Customer Experience Management, Strategy and Technology, Social Media and Community Engagement in both public and private sectors.

The Modern Day Crossroads of the World: Dubai

Creating a Smart City must include improving the customer experience! Dubai’s customer service for the 21st Century, with mobile technology fueling seamless interactions. With this, citizens will get direct access to all government services and pay public utility bills like water, electricity and telephone through a single portal.

It’s a rare stance for a government to take. Unlike many governments, Dubai’s is breaking traditional silos and centralizing activities for ease of use.
It’s a rare stance for a government to take. Unlike many governments, Dubai’s is breaking traditional silos and centralizing activities for ease of use.

Source: The Modern Day Crossroads of the World: Dubai