Is the Process Industry Pigeonholing Itself Out of Existence – or are We Taking a Scope Leap Outside of Process?


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Let’s examine an historic process breakdown – Sprint’s intent to “fire” unprofitable customers – that nearly put Sprint under after news of the plan went viral. It took all five primary, customer-centric process elements being badly out of whack to allow Sprint to assume that its “targeted” customers were at fault for repeatedly calling customer service and tying up phone lines and staff time.

1. Workflow: Sprint decided to take a meat cleaver to its customer base for cost-cutting reasons. It never drilled down to identify why customers were calling so often. Any workflow analysis worth its salt would have culled out that information.

2. Communication flow: Customer service reps sure knew why customers kept calling – Sprint kept mis-billing a myriad of them – but management apparently didn’t know.

3. Data flow: Basic information capture indicating reasons for customer calls would have raised a gigantic red flag no one could ignore.

4. Enabling technology: Where was Sprint’s technology platform while critical customer input went un-captured and un-assessed?

5. Organizational design: Rudimentary assessment of all three flows would have clearly indicated that such a high volume of billing calls – where service often had to engage billing – did not belong in customer service.

Now, here’s what I mean by “process pigeonholing.” Based on process threads I read almost every day, most process professionals would call what Sprint set out to do “bad management,” not “bad process” leading to uninformed management. Why? Because traditional process deals primarily with with how work is done – not about what work gets done why and when; not with how customer input is communicated throughout the company; not with how data is routed and analyzed (except for BPMS, which is often a hammer trying to sink a screw); and especially not with whether the organizational design supports customer-related work. Of course, many are now claiming their process approaches cover all this ground. But where are the too lsets, the training, the skill sets?

Okay, a little tongue-in-cheek here. The suggested name is actually the name of a new group bringing together the multiple professions involved in creating customer-centricity. We’re at:

Republished with author's permission from original post.


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