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Engagement

Has Customer Experience Gone The Way Of The Dodo Bird?

Is true customer experience a thing of  the past?  Or is it only an electronic function offered through an App?

Having worked at two specific companies that from my internal experience, truly put the customer first and cared about the experience their customers received, I find it shocking to see and experience the general degradation of customer experience these days.  Is it the lack of training or just the excessive social media age?

Here’s a couple of recent examples….

  • Lined up at the ticketing counter for an airline with 25 or more other customers waiting in line.  Not a ticketing agent in sight.  All other airline counters have 2-3 agents standing by.  No customers in their lines.  Ok sure, most likely our ticketing agents were departing a plane at the gate.  However, why not have a sign advising when they will be back?  After 15 or 20 minutes, four agents appeared.  They sauntered out from behind the public area, busy looking at their phones, not a smile or friendly gesture to their customers at all.  They went to their respective counter and preceded to hammer on their keyboards, send text messages on their phones and slowly one at a time, say “Next”.  They really made you feel like we were imposing on them and were an inconvenience.  And this airline brags how their employees are “owners”!
  • Ordered a tool on-line.  It arrived damaged.  Reported it as such to the supplier.  Their response was very quick, which is great.  I then had to provide pictures of the damage so they could be sure it actually was.  Ok, I get that.  Provide the pictures and they respond with, “How would you like us to rectify this situation?”.  Ok, I guess I could request my money back or a replacement, so fair question, however I had already requested a replacement.  I respond with replacement.  Their response, “Ok but only if you promise to leave a positive customer review on the website”.   By the way, I received the second tool and it too was damaged.  At that point I said we both need to cut our loses here.  The suppliers response, “Ok.  We apologize for this situation.  We’ll let our supplier know about this in case they are having a manufacturing issue.”   No refund offered.
  • Then there are multiple examples in coffee shops and fast food restaurants where going in for service can be an interesting customer experience.  Many of these establishments don’t seem to train their staff on how to be friendly, let alone what their role is in providing a positive customer experience.  It seems in this day and age, going in to these restaurants rather than the drive through is a major inconvenience for the staff!  It’s astounding how Chick-Fil-A can build a franchise from being customer focused and provide a friendly and polite customer experience!

 

These experiences are not all that bad I realize, but they are not good either.  I’m sure you have equally or even worse examples!  So why is this the way things are today?  Why is a good customer experience more rare then it is common?

My view point, it’s the way the employees are treated and is an indication of the level of engagement they have in their workplace.  In the companies that I’ve experienced strong customer experience levels, not only does the company say that the customer experience is paramount, they also demonstrate it through action.  However, it goes beyond this.  The difference is how these companies engage on an on-going basis with all levels of their organization in a number of ways, but first is by putting their employees first.  If the employees are safe, respected, and engaged they will want to be a force behind providing a very positive customer experience, every time!

What’s your organizational culture like and does it align to your customers expectations for service and experience?

Do your employees collect a pay cheque and check out?

So sure, we all want the cool Apps that provide us with fast and easy ordering, service and delivery, but it seems that too many companies have forgotten that behind their Apps, the culture they create through the level and type of engagement they have with their employees still makes the difference for a positive customer experience!

Contact me:

You can email me with any questions at glennsommerville@hotmail.com, find me on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/glennsommervilleL2R/, or on Twitter at  https://twitter.com/gsommervilleL2R.

If you are enjoying my posts and find the information useful, please “Follow” me by entering your email in the follow box on the right-hand menu of my website www.glennsommerville.com

Lean and Continuous Improvement, Visual Controls

Do Your Operational Abnormalities Go Undetected Too Long? Maybe It’s Your Escalation Process?

If you are finding that your operational abnormalities go undetected too long, perhaps you need to take a deeper look at your escalation process.  If you haven’t reviewed your escalation process, tested knowledge and understanding of it, or don’t have them at all, perhaps this is a good starting point.

Clear and specific escalation criteria is a key element of an effective abnormality management system.  Abnormality management and escalation criteria is NOT a manufacturing thing only!  Abnormalities can and do occur in any operation.  What’s important is what we do when they occur.

There are 3 main elements of a abnormality management system which are discussed below.  In this post, we’ll focus more on the escalation element.

1.)  Defined standards in place that specify what is normal and what is abnormal.

Examples:

a)  Maximum number of work in process (WIP) units is 20.

b)  Maximum customer wait time is 15 minutes.

c)  When not in use, equipment XYZ is stored at location ABC-01.

d)  The line is to operate at greater than 90% operational availability (OA).

2.)  Visual controls that quickly and efficiently identify an abnormal condition or situation.

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Examples:

a)  20 squares taped on the floor, each depicting where 1 unit of WIP can be placed. 15 squares taped in blue tape, and the last 5 in yellow.

b)  If customer wait time is electronic, change the font colour and/or size of the customer’s name, or flash the name on the computer screen if the customer is not assisted within 15 minutes.  If a manual system is in place, mark with a pen the time after which 15 minutes will have passed.  Once the 15 minutes has elapsed highlight the time to differentiate from other customer orders.

c)  Tape the floor in which equipment XYZ will fit.  Post a picture at ABC-01 and add text indicating this is the home position of equipment XYZ.  Or, draw a shadow outline of equipment XYZ which will quickly indicate if it is there or not.  An equipment sign-out sheet is posted at the location indicating who signed out the equipment last.

d)  Install a coloured light and/or audible sound connected to the line controls that indicates when the line is down or not operating.  Have a downtime counter on the line indicating the cumulative downtime within the shift.  Alternatively, have a manual tracking system that is updated by a designated person that displays the cumulative downtime within the shift.

3.)  Escalation processes are documented standards and instructions that define what action is required to be taken by whom, at what point, and how they are to escalate the issue.  The more descriptive the escalation process is, the better.

Examples:

a)  When there are 15 units in WIP (all 15 blue taped locations) immediately call the team leader by activating their andon and advise them of the situation.  The team leader will assess the situation and make a determination as the appropriate response (i.e./ add or remove resources, resolve productivity issue, etc).  When there are 20 units in WIP (all 15 blue and 5 yellow tape locations) immediately call the team leader and advise them of the situation.  The team leader is to shutdown the line and assign team members alternative work.  The team leader is to phone the manager within 10 minutes of the line down.

b)  When a customer has been waiting 15 minutes, prioritize their order by following up and confirming their order and assessing when it will be completed.  Advise the customer of delay and expected resolution.  When two or more customers have been waiting more than 15 minutes, notify the supervisor immediately.  The supervisor is to assign additional resources to assist with the customer orders.   If any one customer has been waiting more than 25 minutes, the supervisor is to be immediately notified.  The supervisor will resolve the issue with the customer’s order and make a determination (based on customer service policy) as to a discount to be offered to the customer.

c)  If the equipment is found in an abnormal location and not in use, it is to be returned to the designated location immediately and the supervisor advised.  The supervisor is to check the sign-out sheet and follow-up with the person responsible for not returning the equipment.

d)  If the line is down more than 10 consecutive minutes, the team leader is to phone the maintenance manager to advise them of the situation.  If the line is down more than 30 consecutive minutes, the maintenance manager is to phone the Production Director and advise them of the situation.  The Production Director will assess the situation and determine what course of action for the employees i.e./ send for early break/lunch, send home, etc.  When downtime exceeds 30 consecutive minutes and/or OA is less than 85% in a shift, the maintenance manager will complete a root cause analysis and provide a report to the Production Director the findings and actions within 24 hours.

Once you have these 3 elements in place, you need to periodically audit and confirm each of them.  This means auditing that the standards are documented and all who use them are knowledgeable of the standards, know where to find them, and are following them.  Confirm that the standards are documented, are in good condition, and revise them if anything has changed, or needs to change.  Confirm the visual controls are in place, in good condition, being used and followed.  If not, determine why not and correct.  Also confirm that the escalation process is in place, being utilized, and is effective.  Confirm for each of the elements that new hires are trained on them, and know what they are responsible for.

Your abnormality management system will only be as strong as your weakest of the 3 elements; Standards, Visual Controls, and Escalation.  Audit them today!

 

Related Posts:

Who the heck needs standards?

4 Necessities for Smooth Flow

Stop repeating bad history…

3 Critical Necessities For World Class 5S

Is Your Management System Limiting Your Success? 6 Steps To Start Improving Today!

 

Contact me:

You can email me with any questions at glennsommerville@hotmail.com, find me on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/glennsommervilleL2R/, or on Twitter at  https://twitter.com/gsommervilleL2R.

If you are enjoying my posts and find the information useful, please “Follow” me by entering your email in the follow box on the right-hand menu of my website www.glennsommerville.com

Together We Can - Values in Action!

#49 Together We Can, Values in Action!

#49

Lean and Continuous Improvement

Non-Manufacturing Example of High Performance Culture & Continuous Improvement!

Unfortunately, many people still think that continuous improvement, high performance cultures, and/or people-centric concepts are for manufacturing.  Those that do, are definitely missing out!

Point and case:  Scott Smith and I recently had the opportunity to visit and participate in a gemba (go & see) with Karla and Michelle from the Paris Dental Centre.  This is not your run of the mill dental office, and they certainly demonstrate that these concepts go well beyond the typical manufacturing environment!

Our gemba started at the main entrance at the front reception desk where the receptionists quickly greeted us with a smile and asked how they could help.  What was different than what I’m used to in a professional office was that their duties had been stream lined with the customer in mind.  How?  There were no phones!  They managed the direct face-to-face contact and relationship with their customers, rather than answering a continuously ringing phone line of incoming calls.  They focused on their customer, value streamed the roles/responsibilities, and created smooth flow.

As our gemba took us throughout the facility, it was obvious that 5S (sort, set in order, shine, standardize, sustain) principles were also in place as this rather large and very busy dental centre was orderly, and had effective visual controls throughout the facility.  Each of the main departments had visual team boards where the teams would conduct daily stand-ups to review their performance results, discuss ideas for improvement, and communicate important messages.  Even the dentists had their own board where they met daily to review performance and drive improvement in their work.  Standardized work was being implemented in the various roles throughout the office as well.

Now, are there opportunities to do more or to improve further, gain more engagement?  Of course!  We all have those opportunities!  What we have to remember is that continuous improvement, high performance or a people-centric organization is never ending.  Why?  Things are always changing!  Everyone on this journey hits the wall at some point and feels they are not progressing.  What’s important to reflect on is where you’ve come from, keep doing what’s working, tweak what’s not, and then keep plugging away at the next steps towards where you want to be.

Great job Paris Dental Centre, keep up the good work!

Cover picture:  From Paris Dental Centre – Michelle Vaandering, Karla Stonham, Heidi Burton Paris Dental Centre;   from HPS – Scott Smith

Similar topics: 

Gemba by any other name is… go & see! Gemba is NOT just for manufacturing processes!

For additional information on High Performance Leaders Inc., click here.  Or follow us on LinkedIn.

Contact me:

You can email me with any questions at glennsommerville@hotmail.com, find me on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/glennsommervilleL2R/, or on Twitter at  https://twitter.com/gsommervilleL2R.

If you are enjoying my posts and find the information useful, please “Follow” me by entering your email in the follow box on the right-hand menu of my website www.glennsommerville.com