We offer this discussion of the results as a prompt for you to think about your own organisation’s position and the progress you’re making in the areas of our survey.
- Customer experience
- Business leadership
- Business efficiency
Customer experience and leadership trump change management
A google search of ‘change management’ reveals 774 million hits, compared to ‘project management’ (undoubtedly a mature field) returning 594 million hits (as one snapshot measure of discussion).
Is change management well understood? Is there a lack of understanding of what change management really means in practice, with the market filling itself with proprietary consultancy definitions and methodologies seeking to become a new standard?
Perhaps this is a question worth posing in your next discussion with a vendor, candidate or consultant if you feel they use 'change management' as little more than a management buzzword. In practice, what are the 'change management' activities that will contribute to advancing your organisation’s priorities in improving customer experience and business productivity? Do the solutions they propose feel like they’ll stand up to the test of reality in your own organisation?
These are all questions worthy of consideration in an emerging field which our respondents felt wasn't the highest priority on their list.
Customer experience – high priority, but where’s the activity?
20 respondents gave their views on the priority of four aspects within the customer experience theme. 85% of respondents cited improving the customers’ experience as their highest priority. This focus on the customers’ needs is a positive feature.
In practical terms, this has implications for the use of techniques and tools such as customer journey analysis and value stream mapping. It also highlights the inherent value of using customer feedback, complaints analysis and ‘business intelligence’ or ‘customer insight’. This is a topic we’ll see recognised elsewhere in the results.
How organisations choose to combine technology investment with employee experience and expertise in these areas can be a defining factor in the results of service improvement initiatives. What was interesting, given the recognition of customer experience as a priority, was that over half of our respondents haven’t started implementing any activity to make progress in this area yet.
Respondents were asked to rank their current progress on the following scale:
Business leadership – strategic thinking needs practical action
Respondents appear to be aware of, discussing and planning for changes in these areas but do not yet feel that their organisation has moved to implementation in roughly half the cases across all the category areas.
Is this a case of more talk than action, even in some areas (such as project management) that have been well established now for decades?
Are these topic areas really so hard to tackle that organisations aren’t able to make progress and become stalled during planning? Is the resource pressure caused by reductions in funding making it impossible to move beyond resource commitment into actual implementation?
This is a finding worth thinking about in your own organisations. Establishing a clear direction is well established as an essential pre-requisite to achieving successful business change. Leading thinkers such as John Kotter and Ken Blanchard (to name but two) have demonstrated the need for strategic direction in numerous articles.
The link between strategy and technology
Insight and funding reductions as the focus for improving efficiency
Major UK public sector business transformation programmes have been the subject of critical audit reports that highlight over-optimistic promises of channel shift from technology vendors, leading to deeply flawed business case assumptions.
What evidence does your organisation have for your customer’s behaviour being one of shift from one channel to another? Are you processes sufficiently well defined to avoid customer callback when aspects of your multi-channel strategy don’t quite hang together? Or are your broken processes going to prompt failure demand as customers contact you for assistance in navigating a multi-channel problem of your own making?
About our respondents
19 of the 26 respondents chose to disclose their role titles, with just over half of respondents in a senior management or executive position.