A successful process improvement initiative is executed in a series of phases. Phase one is the initial assessment, during which you create a compelling strategic vision for improvement, define a problem statement of customer experience and/or financial “pain”, and build a financial business case to gain company-wide support. The initial assessment is explained in detail in this article “How to Build a Strategic Vision for Improvement.”
Phase two is program setup. In this phase, it is critical that you mobilize commitment, use Voice of the Customer data to narrow your focus, and take a ‘gentle targeted approach’ that earns credibility in short amount of time. Here’s how you get started.
It is absolutely critical to earn credibility for the program early on to create excitement and establish trust. This in turn will mobilize resources to commit themselves in supporting the initiative.
The only way to earn credibility is to show results, which requires focus and prioritization of efforts. Setting the right vision with credible data and a business plan, will enable you to get the attention of executives, and secure funding to get the program off the ground.
Once you’ve secured commitment, the process improvement plan needs to quickly gain momentum and deliver via a structured program that is tailored to your organization.
Identify Vital Drivers Based on VOC
Use the Voice of the Customer data that you collected from the initial assessment phase to determine the areas of your organization that need improvement. Often in processes there are many reasons, but only a few stand out as vital drivers that are causing most of the problem. Follow the “80-20 Rule” – 20% causes 80% of the problem. To execute this step successfully it is important to use the ‘gentle targeted approach.
Use a Gentle Targeted Approach
By now, you are eager to jump into improvement but be careful not to “boil the ocean.” We routinely help organizations to thoughtfully narrow their initial focus.”
- Ease into your program. Structure your program around the one or two processes you plan to improve first. This ensures a strong ROI for your process improvement because the investment (both money and resources) is manageable.
- Focus your efforts initially on only the few vital drivers. Target the problems that have the greatest impact on customer experience. Don’t try to improve everything at the same time, this will lead to too many competing priorities.
- Recruit subject matter experts based on the processes you’ve selected for improvement. Select people who are committed to the overall process. Take time to train them on how to solve problems as a way of personal development. Motivate them to perform to the best of their abilities.
Initiate Your Projects
Once you have identified the few critical processes you will address, and you’ve recruited subject matter experts to identify the improvements, you are ready to start identifying project owners, setting goals, structuring teams, and creating review systems.Learn More Here
Want to know more about executing a process improvement initiative, analyzing voice of customer data and improving customer experience? Here are a few excellent resources.