In a survey conducted by Zendesk, 92% of executives say they’ve had to rethink how they work because of the pandemic. Leadership is reconsidering how they structure workflows and engage employees. But what does this trend mean for customer service teams?
A cohesive workflow for your customer support team is important for everyone: team members, the company at large, and, of course, the customer. A dysfunctional process likely means unhappy clientele and a loss of revenue. By incorporating a process improvement methodology, customer support teams can continuously provide value while remaining flexible to change.
Process improvement methodologies are strategies that lay the foundation for the way teams structure their operations. Some of these frameworks are more philosophical while others require a step-by-step approach.
With so many options available to explore, how do you know which ones are best suited for your teams and the customers they aim to support? To answer this question, let’s dive into what process outcomes customer service teams should expect. Benchmarks include:
To meet these objectives, look for processes that promote collaboration between teams, clear communication, and access to information. Here are three process improvement methodologies that do just that.
Six Sigma’s DMADV is a leading process framework for support professionals that can improve every aspect of their customer service. Use this five-step protocol to create goals around improving your customer experience. Each one should be backed by data and customer feedback.
DMADV is a proven option, but it’s not an overnight savior. Only pursue DMADV If you have 6+ months to dedicate to customer research and product improvements. If you need to make big changes quickly, consider the following methodologies.
The main goal of the Lean methodology is getting rid of inefficiencies while creating more value for customers. DMADV is best used to remove defects from your process, while Lean focuses on getting value to your customers as fast as possible. Although Lean is more of a mindset than a protocol, it’s usually implemented in five stages.
Although the goal of Lean is to remove inefficiencies from your team’s process, it’s always important to remember how changes affect your customers. What may be more efficient for your team isn’t always aligned with the customer experience.
Similar to Lean, Kaizen is more of an ethos than an actionable strategy. Rooted in Japanese culture and business, its main principle is continuous improvement. Because Kaizen is an idea, there’s really no specific tool or template to start with.
One way to fold Kaizen into your process improvement goals is by hosting Kaizen events. Think of Kaizen events as brainstorming sessions or open forums that bring all your teams together.
Kick off a Kaizen event with each team that will be affected by any changes: customer support, product development, IT, and sales. The goal is to solve problems through groupthink. By collecting feedback from across the business, a holistic perspective of what’s happening is sure to surface. After a Kaizen event, perhaps the product team learned about a hidden UX bug. After correcting the issue, that never-ending backlog of support tickets was cut in half.
For more in-depth process challenges, consider hosting multi-day Kaizen events to bring together siloed teams and promote collaboration.
With so many methods to choose from, deciding which option is best for your customer service team is certainly a challenge. Our advice? Consider these options as beginning frameworks, not finite blueprints. Make them your own by taking pieces from all of them, and reject what doesn’t line up with your customer’s expectations.
Regardless of which approach you pursue, your customer should remain at the forefront of all decisions. The days of fixing a process solely for cost reduction and efficiency are gone. Place the customer at the center of everything, and the rest will follow.