It really is the little things that matter. Customers don’t always notice the big things – consider a car, for most of us, the details of the engine are not what you notice on a day-to-day basis. Even though the engine is probably the single most important part of the vehicle, as long as you turn the key and it goes and turns the wheels around you will be content. But the little things, the cosmetics, are the things that you notice and make you a happy customer.
When you climb in your car in the morning, you don’t think “wow, isn’t it cool that the engine started”, at least I hope you don’t. But you might think how nice it is that there is a mirror on your sunshade.
Give your customers something to smile about!
The improvements you make as part of the CSI process may well seem unimportant, but something as simple as changing the position of a button so that it is next to the last box you have to enter text into, rather than at the bottom of the screen, may make someone smile. The fact that the application carries out complex calculations and delivers data to multiple connected systems is not what is going to make the customer smile…that is basic utility; they simply expect that to happen. To provide an exceptional customer experience, look for the things that are going to improve flow and, perhaps, give a more pleasing visual experience.
Record the ‘wouldn’t it be nice’ moments
The service desk team hears the ‘wouldn’t it be nice…’ or ‘why doesn’t it…’ comments on a daily basis. In most organizations, these comments are ignored; they are neither recorded nor acted upon.
As part of the CSI process, it is well worthwhile setting up a category within your ITSM tool to record all those ideas and unofficial requests. If they are not recorded, you have no way of knowing how many people are wishing for exactly the same enhancement.
Even if the suggested change is purely cosmetic, if enough people are thinking the same way, then it is worth doing. It may not make a difference to the speed of processing transactions, but if it contributes to the satisfaction of the people who are working out in the business, then it is worth doing.
The cumulative effect of small improvements
The name of the process says it all, Continual Service Improvement. You never stop doing it, so you do not need to do everything at once. Fix or improve things one step at a time, give the changes time to stick and then move on to the next set of improvements. With a well established CSI process, with clear direction and agreement from both IT and the business, you will become adept at making changes quickly and efficiently and with increased acceptance from your customers.
Don’t forget the people side of change
No matter how small the improvements may be, they are still changes and you should not expect them to be accepted without some effort on the part of IT. As your CSI process becomes embedded, you will need to ensure you have instilled a good capacity for change within the organization.
A change-averse organization will dramatically reduce the value of a CSI program. You need to make sure you influence the uptake of change by coming at it from all angles:
- Formal communications
- Organized training sessions
- Enlisting champions throughout the business
- Informal communication – chats at the water cooler
- Reporting and metrics
- Storytelling – anecdotal evidence of improvement
There are many more ways to ensure the business is capable of changing, and it does not have to be hard; but it does have to be done. If the organization does not develop its ability to change and adapt to new business rules, you will not achieve the expected benefits of your CSI program.
Whether your changes are inside or outside of IT, the importance of building this capacity for change must not be underestimated. It is the single biggest factor determining the success of failure of any initiative.