John Seddon (vanguard-method.net Tactics for Getting Started) has been helping companies improve processes for decades. He has improved organizations with ‘Systems Thinking’ based on Deming’s work and the Toyota Production System that Taiichi Ohno created in post WWII Japan. He is laser-beam focused on the customer and it shows. In this instalment, we’re going to look at some ideas around measurement, part of ISO 10004 – Customer Satisfaction: Monitoring and Measurement.
First of all, no matter what we believe as an organization, we won’t see ourselves from the customer’s point of view until we recognize that we don’t define ‘value’ our customers do. Once we understand this, the next steps start to make more sense!
First, we need to map the flow of activities from the time the customer contacts us until the money for that order goes into the bank. The transaction process, if it’s not ‘easy’ can lose a customer for us in a heartbeat. It has to be as smooth as silk right to the end. To see this, we need to map the steps and pay attention to the transaction points. Then ask 2 questions:
- What are we measuring now?
- What decisions are being made from these measurements?
If we’re measuring ‘activity’ (and how long it takes, etc.) will this tell us how well we’re providing value to our customers? NOT LIKELY! If we’re measuring ‘productivity’, will this help us assess our ‘value delivery’? It might, but it would be an indirect measure, not a direct one.
New idea: Let’s measure how well we’re delivering service that our customers care about. Let’s measure our capability where it will impact our customers. This will point us in the right direction and our customers will notice. Spending time gathering data that isn’t relevant to customer satisfaction might make us feel good, but unless it will help us improve customer satisfaction, we might be wasting effort (time & money!)
By organizing our measurement methods using ISO 10004 as guidance and keeping the Vanguard Method in mind, we will get a much better return on our measurement investment!