On the face of it, it appears simple. Business processes designed with the customer in mind to deliver an optimum customer experience when interacting with an organisation either when making a purchase, dealing with a problem or query or any other experience that could have a positive and incremental effect on a customer relationship. However, seemingly on the increase are business processes that serve the organisation rather than the customer. It's a subtle difference but with dramatically different effect.
Processes to serve the organisation are seemingly cost effective in the short term, convenient and allow customers to be put in buckets or dealt with on mass leading to frustration, anger, mistrust and very low levels of satisfaction in the customer experience and little perceived loyalty.
On the other hand, processes designed around the customer deliver the type of experience customer's expect; being valued, treated as an individual, getting to speak to a person and having someone listen with empathy and understanding their (perceived) individual position.
It seems to be a trade off between short term costs and convenience (to them - the organisation) and biased in favour of the organisation. However this doesn't take into account the long term benefits of giving the customer what they want in the way they want it and the repeat business, goodwill and positive word of mouth created - a much less tangible although a still very real effect of good customer service.
In a recent conversation about customers with an organisation, it was quite evident that one particular process was designed around the organisation. A process that required a customer who had called the organisation with an issue to be transferred or referred back to another party. Convenient to the organisation - yes - but not to the customer who just wanted to be dealt with there an then having made the call and not to have to talk to someone else. The customer clearly didn't understand nor care about the 'correct' process - and why should he? His frustration was evident and he'd not even started to talk about his issue.
I've experienced it myself and you don't need to look too far. I used to(past tense here is a give away clue)..buy Hackett toiletries from Boots, partly because of the 3 for 2 offers but more importantly because I liked the brand. Over the last few months, I have had two deodorant sprays whose mechanisms have decided to stop working but only when they're half empty - how inconvenient. Slightly put out by this, I decided to email Hackett expecting a response and experience similar to when I had a similar issue with a Reckitt product. Without quibble or hesitation, and on supply of the batch number from the product, Reckitt sent me vouchers to cover twice the cost of the product. A Perfect experience. Hackett, was not so straight forward. Their response was to refer me to back to Boots, as apparently they conducted the manufacturer on behalf of Hackett and if I took the faulty product back to the store of purchase (assuming my memory provided such detail) with my original till receipt (oh and I always keep this!!) I could get an exchange or refund. WAY too inconvenient for me. Might be a small thing but the impact - I've not bought Hackett since.
A simple plea - to all organisations. Please look at your processes as well as your customer satisfaction measures. If your processes are fundamentally serving you and not your customers, you won't get far if you don't change them....quickly. You could/will be losing sales and revenue as we speak...