Prior to joining The Forum, I worked on a project to develop a solution that would support my front-line colleagues in knowing not only the what but the why of a problem.
My first decision was to get going; ignoring my own usual methods of delivery I jumped straight to solution mode. At the time, I knew the answers. I’d seen the same thing play out more than once. I assumed that I knew how to get it across the line. I went and found data to support my assumption and began delivery.
It didn’t go well…
My second decision was to accept my failings, ignore my cherry-picked data and my false progress and to start from scratch with gathering insight. I decided to engage with my front-line colleagues and ask them about our problem. From there I took my time with my data, building fact based conclusions.
As I sat with advisors in engagement forums I found that they had excellent knowledge of what to ask and when to ask as they had clear processes and strong guidance for call structure.
For their managers, the story was different. They understood the impacts of not getting it right, but they felt powerless to support their staff. They found it difficult to interpret the many different whys to give knowledge at the same time as trying to maintain their handle time KPI, to evaluate adherence to processes and deliver all the performance information to senior management.
But it wasn’t apathy driving the issue, it was fear. Too much focus on certain metrics had led them to create and reinforce a culture of ‘don’t take risks, focus on getting your basic requirements right’, so that’s exactly what the advisors did. Customer experience was buried by a need to be compliant.
My third decision was to scrap all the pre-work I had completed and to reach out to colleagues to work on a new plan of how to create the why of each element to empower our colleagues. We built e-learning modules to highlight impact, focused not on ‘big ideas’ such as the company risk position, but on the customer and how our all too human lapse in experience delivery made them feel. Addressing the root of the issue we started to challenge and change the metric focus to support the aim of customer experience.
So please, learn from my mistakes! Don’t try and shortcut to a solution. Don’t work from solution to problem with cherry picked data as it will support your view, even when the view is wrong. Don’t think you can do it all yourself, embrace the skills of others. Do take the time to plan properly and ensure you are engaged with different views of the problem from your business, internal and external.
And please don’t think you’ve seen it all before when it comes to planning the solution, because that way leads to doing things the same way and it’s probably the wrong way!
Published Date: 24/08/2017