When customer experience and processes collide

When customer experience and processes collide

I’ve been a JustIn employee for three weeks now, or JustIna, as you might call me 😉 I welcome you all with me to a Journey of better customer experience. I’ll begin with a story…

Last year I was in a situation that I had to buy a new car. I have a long customer relationship with my insurance company, one of the largest in Finland, and everything had gone ever so smoothly. When it came time to purchase an insurance for my car, I of course compared the companies to decide which company to use. There were two companies with nearly identical price, but since I had my existing agreement, I decided to take the new insurance from the same company as well.

Suddenly, there it was: a crack in our mutual understanding.

I’ve had the same arrangement for years, gathering all my insurance bills in one single billing agreement where I have only one single invoice for a defined period. It has been one reason why I have kept my insurances in the same company for years – not having to pay multiple insurance bills every so often. Naturally, after acquiring a new insurance for my new car, I wanted to include the insurance to the same batch.

They answered:  “it cannot be done, it’s the process. It just goes this way. It’s in a new system now.”

Well, it’s really not that big of a deal. I could live with receiving one additional invoice to my pile of recurring bills. After giving it a thought, it wasn’t even the fact that these new invoices would not arrive in the same schedule as the other ones. But what really frustrates me, even after over six months, is that sentence “It’s the process. It just goes this way.” It really was a red flag for a customer experience enthusiast like me. Thankfully I held myself back and didn’t let it all out on the poor customer service tenant who answered my call!

In any larger organization, processes are essential for the business to work. It gives structure to all levels of the organization. They are the backbone of the business, keeping it all together for the customers to have required level of service. But what happens when customer experience and processes collide? In a case like mine, it seriously affected those aspects of my customer relationship which I valued the most.

I’ve heard plenty of similar stories. Not all linked directly to a process as clearly as in my case, but they are always there. It might even be so that the “red flags” in customer experience are not visible to the organization itself, since “this is how it’s always been and it has worked so far”. They might not even be in the interface surfacing the customer but in a supporting service, affecting customer experience nonetheless, hindering service delivery or just maybe affecting the customer value by longer waiting times on the phone.

How does this all relate to JustIn and me being here? I had already before started a journey, pondering about directions I should take in my career. You know, they say: “Follow your passion”. All I had to do was to find a company with a passion for finding these pain points, aiming to turn them into sweet spots, making processes support the customer experience, not colliding it.

To tell you the truth, it did take a bunch of conversations and negotiations, and a bit of waiting… And the passion? That’s Creative Service Management.

PS. In case you now wonder whether I ended my customer relationship with the insurance company, I actually did not. The inconvenience of changing insurances to another company, some cold facts, and money were worth more than a single process.

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