Project Kaizen

Bringing the power of continuous improvement to the project setting

Identify and Remove Conflicting Procedures

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Kaizen efforts can put customer satisfaction at risk when people fail to understand what it is that the customer assesses as value. In this month’s CRM Magazine, Lior Arussy urges us to Meet Expectations before Trying to Exceed Them. He says that a company’s restrictive procedures are often at the source of not meeting expectations.

“The first order of business in meeting customers’ expectations is to identify those conflicting procedures and remove them.”

“Why do you say that?” is a more important question.

He couples this with four questions to identify where policy is getting in the way of goals:

  1. “Are these the procedures of a customer-centric company?
  2. “Are they designed to protect and delight customers, or to protect and delight CEOs?
  3. “Does it make sense to conduct business this way?
  4. “Are these procedures designed to address abusers or mainstream customers?”

These questions are a great start to focus improvement efforts. Ask and answer the questions as a workgroup with the intention on making improvements. Avoid the yes or no answers implied by the questions. The follow-up to each question, “Why do you say that?” is a more important question. It will lead to something that is actionable for the group.

I have one addition to Arussy’s four questions.

  1. What are the customers’ experiences with the procedures/processes? Are they indicating that they are restrictive or conflicting with their service?

Improvement efforts go astray when we lose sight of the customer and their assessments of value. Keep those assessments front and center when doing kaizen.

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