By Dr. Drake Beil
President, Solutions Inc.
Ive been talking about how to change your companys service processes to improve customer relationships and increase profits.
Often, too much structure interferes; you lose money from red tape. You may not need the customer service department if every employee is empowered to make intelligent decisions.
This is not to say all structure is bad. Try to imagine your body without a skeletal system! The real issue is how much you need or want. Some structure is necessary; the question is flexibility.
To create some flexibility in your structure, try alignment by process. That means letting form follow function. Look at your service and determine whether the process is fluid or rigid from the customers point of view. How easy is it to ask a question or get an answer? How easy is it to get a refund?
When you find a blockage, make a diagram of each stage of delivery and identify barriers. These usually are not visible on a balance sheet, so managing by the numbers will not fix them.
Then, free up the flow of information. Second, dont give up. If you know the change is for the better, keep after it. Third, look for opportunities to be flexible. Try to model your strategy after turtles: They cant move forward unless they come out of their shells, and can only make progress when they stick their necks out.
Dr. Drake Beil can be reached at email@example.com.
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