Ask To Solve Management Services Pvt. Ltd


Onboarding - A lasting impression!

One of our neighbors at my native place saw an advertisement in the newspaper and phone ordered set of denim jeans with a ‘Payment on Delivery’ mode. The parcel arrived 3 days late than what was promised on the website. As soon as the delivery boy went away, he opened the packet and asked his Son to try it out… it was his Diwali surprise to his college going Son! To their dismay, all the pairs were of different sizes than what they had ordered. And then started the usual calling to call centers with no clear instructions on what to do next? He checked online for help, wrote many emails from his Son’s email ID (a gentleman of 50+ is into a small business and is not internet savvy). Since he was not clear on next steps, he did not send the parcel back and finally it was rejected when he sent it after 4 days with a reason that it should have been sent within 48 hours of complaint registrations!
No surprise - When I last spoke to him he told me that he has lodged a complaint in consumer court and has decided not to buy anything ever online or on phone!
So what went wrong?
We all know that it is far easier to retain a customer than acquiring a new one; they lost it when he had willingly come to them. Curious, I went to consumer court’s website to find many such complaints against this as well as other e-tailers.
Customer onboarding is an extremely important aspect that Service providers have to take care of… else customers as they say ‘don’t ditch, switch!’ Having right measurement system to capture the onboarding experience in quantifiable way is important. Metrics like ‘Right First time’ help tracking this effectively. Data, then can be analyzed for the Efficiency issues (Within TAT?) or Quality problems (As ordered?). Specific improvements can be then made to make the onboarding easier for the customer. It also can pave a way to easier process of repeat ordering.
A matured onboarding process ensures Customer gets ‘as promised’ experience, making it as smooth and simple as possible and then a Happy Customer starts recommending your service or product even before he starts using the product or service fully!

Evaluating Process Maturity Level – Indicative Parameters

I was very happy when I bought my first Android phone from a leading player, the overall experience felt amazing. I was given lot of services like Insurance, Antivirus etc. free! I could easily sense the difference and was really happy with the way I was welcomed into ‘Smart’ world! But soon there were problems - overheating, battery getting discharged almost as soon as it was charged. I approached nearest service center and then they made me feel like going back to my candy bar phone.

Why did this happen? – With leading player?? Because two different processes within same organization were at different levels of maturity causing completely different customer impact.

As we mentioned in the last blog some industries like Software, Hotel, Healthcare do have some certifications to indicate process maturity level for an organization but largely this concept of process maturity remains at a very high level and is not utilized to zero down improvement areas.

Typically, any customer while consuming the service or product, goes through stages of onboarding, experiencing the service delivery, problem resolution and then, either separation or repeat order. During each of the phase there are multiple processes within Organization’s ecosystem that impact customer service and they could be at different level of maturity!

To assess the Maturity level of any process we would need some key parameters and differential levels to indicate maturity. Above figure shows some of the indicative metrics associated with the customer experience stage and their relative levels indicating process maturity. For eg. Onboarding process can have metrics like Right First Time (from application to first usage of the service) and 4 different levels of maturity can be indicated by current metric performance Not Measured, < 70%, between 70 to 90% and > 90%.

Idea here is to have right measures in place to indicate Customer experience and zero down on areas of improvement. We will talk about this model and taking processes to next levels in detail in blogs to come!

Meanwhile, Wish you all a Very Happy Diwaly and prosperous new year!

Assessing Process Maturity Level – Starting it Right!

When we say that someone is quite mature, we often mean that he/she is behaving as per certain expectations and norms. Does this concept apply to a Business as well? Pretty much! While interacting and working with organizations from different walks of industry domains, we frequently come across situations where not all the processes are at same maturity level within the same organization! So what are the different levels of process / organization maturity? Are there any qualifiers that define maturity level of the processes or as a whole an organization?

Some examples of frameworks & methodologies to assess maturity of Organizations are CMMI® for Software development companies, Star ratings for Hotels, NABH & NABL Certifications for Healthcare industry. Often we have experienced not all processes within same Business Unit are at same level of maturity and this requires to be acknowledged by business leaders.

A process or a business unit in question needs to be assessed for its maturity level on definite and relevant Qualitative and Quantitative parameters. This objective assessment itself leads to clearly identifying improvement areas as against continuous firefighting or disconnected initiatives driven from the top.

We will talk about some of the Qualitative and Quantitative indicators for assessing process maturity in next time we meet!

Decisions in AC Room


Somebody said in the meeting “It is quite easy for us to pass a judgment and take a decision sitting here in this AC room, but are we sure what we are doing is right for our customer, is it right for our people?” I suddenly remembered the story of king Vikramaditya who regularly used to visit different places in his kingdom as a citizen to find out quality of public service his departments are providing. It was his way of understanding his customers’ (his primary customers being citizens of this kingdom) needs and finding areas of improvement.

Knowing your customers! Knowing what customers really want in your product or a service….how important is that especially when it’s a buyer’s market today? Take a car or mobile or a life insurance, market is flooded with options for customers. Organizations not including “Know your customer” in their business strategy are surely on their way out. There are many examples of short lived products or organisations because of decisions made in board room only.

Realizing this, some of the organizations started relying on social media to find out what customers are talking about their products. Problem with social media is that, there is lot of “noise” in the data and it’s difficult to find a “signal”! So, as it typically happens, there is a crop of companies who with their latest softwares are claiming to decode the message for you. Now the questions before business leaders are - This is new; will it really work for us? Which one to choose? What will be ROI? How long it takes to see the difference? Can’t we simply analyze the customer complaint data instead? Our front line people interact with customers day in day out, can’t we ask them? The list goes on… Unfortunately there are no readymade answers to these questions and there is high probability of going wrong!

A business process oriented, unbiased and structured study by able third party to identify right problems and guidance from data analytics expert can go a long way in choosing and doing what is right for your customers and for your organization.

Be Aware!

Usual round of possible pass time activities was done with. I had settled in the corner chair at Guwahati airport and was browsing through my mails. After some time I noticed presence of somebody occupying the chair next to me – I turned and said “Hi!” to an elderly gentleman in a business suit. “Hello, how are you?”…. I was happy to find company of a very senior executive from one of the leading pharma companies!

“Nice name!” he was looking at our organization’s name on my visiting card - Ask To Solve Management Services. “So, what do you to solve?” “We solve business problems” – I replied. He was still looking at the visiting card, after a moment of thought he said – “Yes, but are you asked to solve right problems? To start with are people (business leaders) even aware that they have chronic problems and conventional thinking cannot solve them?” …the discussion continued till we parted with announcement of his flight.

It kept me thinking about how important it is for a business leader to be aware of problems that he constantly battles are recurring in nature and need a paradigm shift to resolve them once and for all. Knowing that tactical team on ground, although has very good experience of taking care of “daily operations” has become ‘experienced’ with repetitive behavior of business surrounding and has got used to problems as nature of business!

Problems – that keep organizations prevent getting that breakthrough in growth, problems – that keep organizations depending on customers’ behavior and market conditions, problems – that do not have answers in investment alone! Being aware of existence of these kinds of problems and knowledge of what can be solved internally and what requires different thinking or skillset is the first important step in resolving these problems.

To be continued…