At the heart of every successful company there lies an efficient, well-run operations centre that minimises waste, invests in value-added activities, and is tightly focused on satisfying customer requirements. Ultimately, it is your operations that underpin and fulfil the promises made by your sales and marketing activity to your customers.
Understanding operational underperformance
Your operations are the engine that drives your organisation – a highly complex engine that relies on multiple IT systems and a great many interdependent business processes. Which means that when your operations aren’t running as smoothly and efficiently as they should, identifying the problem isn’t always easy. And even if you’re starting from a position of high efficiency, constant tuning is required to maintain performance.
That’s because over a period of time, the people and management that support your operations will change. Customer behaviours change and regulatory requirements evolve. So as processes and systems are updated to facilitate required changes, these new process and systems frequently bump up against each other, causing issues and creating inefficiencies. Processes become clunky and customer service quality declines.
Visibility of how your operations are currently performing, and how planned changes will improve performance, is essential if your company is to meet the challenges of the next 3 – 5 years.
“Success depends upon previous preparation, and without such preparation there is sure to be failure.”
By asking yourself 5 questions, you can gain clarity around your company’s ability to do so…
- What is the business plan for operations, and which activities are targeted for improvement during the next 12 months?
- What investment is being made to deliver these improvements, and what are the ROI targets?
- What activities have been improved, and how are you measuring the impact?
- What are your customers telling you, or not telling you?
- What are your group internal audit and your risk and compliance functions telling you about the potential issues in operations?
How easy are you to do business with?
Your customer is the most important person in your business yet in many organisations processes are built around the company not the customer. Internally designed processes have two major issues.
- The customer journey is confusing, inefficient and frustrating resulting in a poor overall experience
- Internally designed processes result in high levels of rework in both front and back office.
Review your management information, does it clearly show the percentage of re-work coming from your contact centre (front office) to your back office?
Back office inefficiency typically accounts for up to 30% of contact centre inbound calling.
Up to 40% of back office workload is typically generated by contact centre handoffs.
In both instances these rework figures are created by poor process design that is internally focused rather than customer focused further exacerbated by a lack of employee skills.
These figures can be completely removed once you have identified where the problems are and how to deal with them.
“If you make the customer a promise… make sure you deliver it.”
Your Future Success
Understand these issues and you can begin to answer important questions such as, “if I was asked to put 30% extra business through the machine, how would it cope?” “How quickly can my operations adapt to regulatory change?” And, “would a 30% increase in new business require a 30% increase in staff? Or could this be achieved this through capacity generation?”
These are the kind of questions that you will inevitably have to answer in the short to medium-term, and only by gaining operational clarity can you do this successfully.