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Looking Inwards and Building Process Efficiency

Updated: Aug 27

By: Burns Puzon, Steer Head of Marketing and Sales

In creating a digital transformation (DX) strategy, it is important to be aware of who your customers are and their experiences with your products and services. In the previous article, we have delved into how to build customer empathy following the first three steps of the QuickReach DX Framework.


In this article, we proceed with the next steps of the framework that zero in on the internal processes that make up every customer experience: How to look inwards and build process efficiency (Steps 4 & 5).


STEP 4: CREATE A SERVICE BLUEPRINT PER STAGE

Empathizing with the customer is only a third of a company’s digital transformation journey.

Looking into your operations is also equally important, because customer experience is a product of the various interactions happening outside AND within the company. There are so much more happening behind the scenes that contribute to the experience.


Think of the last time you watched a play. You’re seated with the audience, and you see the actors on stage acting out the scene. You see the set props come in and out, and the music and the lighting in sync with everything else.


In this scenario, you are the customer. The actual play you see on stage, meanwhile, are the interactions you have with the company. How you feel about the play is the customer experience. All the backstage activities – the props, the music, and the lighting – represent the internal processes that are not seen by customers. These backstage activities are critical in creating the customer experience.


This is where the Service Blueprint comes in. A service blueprint visualizes the relationships between your customer persona and the different service components — people, tools (physical or digital), and processes.


Creating a service blueprint is ideal to experiences that are omnichannel, involve various touchpoints, or require cross-department coordination.


Service Blueprint in Action


A service blueprint corresponds to a specific customer persona and journey. In fact, for the for the same service, you may have to make multiple blueprints. For example, you have a restaurant. You may have a different service blueprints for takeout service versus dine-in.


Remember that service blueprints exist to address a challenging CJM stage. But at this point, you’re supposed to map out the status quo. Don’t try to make improvements just yet, just outline the various processes that make the experience what it is.

Service blueprints take different forms, some more graphic than others. No matter what the form is, a service blueprint comprises the following key elements: A service blueprint is divided into key areas:


1. Customer Actions

These are the steps derived from the CJM stage that have been prioritized in the previous step within the Digital Transformation Framework.


2. Frontstage Actions

These are the actions that take place in plain view of the customer. These actions can be human-to-human (direct interaction with an employee) or human-to-software (self-service). In the restaurant example, this includes the maître d’ escorting you to your table, or the waiter taking your order.


3. Backstage Actions

As mentioned in the stage play example, this is literally the backstage of the theater. These are the various activities that take place behind-the-scenes to support frontstage activities. These actions can involve a frontstage employee who does something not visible to the customer (e.g., a waiter entering

order details into a POS) or a backstage employee (e.g., a cook in the kitchen).


4. Support ​Processes

These are internal activities that support employees in delivering the service (e.g., the executive chef planning the menu).


In a service blueprint, these key elements are placed in clusters with lines that separate them. There are three primary lines:


Service Blueprint Template

The line of interaction indicates the direct interactions between your customer and the company.


The line of visibility sets apart all service activities the customer can see from those that are not visible. The line of internal interaction separates backstage actions from support processes.

The template we created includes an additional element: customer emotion. This will connect whatever the customer feels in relation to the particular step in the journey.


The one below is a sample of a filled out Service Blueprint.


CLICK HERE to download this template.


STEP 5: OPTIMIZE FOR AUTOMATION

Once you’ve created your Service Blueprint, you will see the various customer journey steps that require your attention.


These steps stand out because of two major things: the time it takes to fulfill them and the emotion of your customer during/after that step.


With the Service Blueprint you’ve pinned down what causes the step’s time and emotion to be unfavorable.


More often than not, these are the factors that contribute to this outcome:

  1. Delays and errors due to employees using paper forms that are manually encoded and transmitted from one team to another

  2. Delays due to approvals that are manually routed or gets buried in an email inbox

  3. Delays due to limited access to core systems resulting in additional handover to other departments

  4. Lack of convenience because the customer has to perform too many tasks to achieve their goal

  5. Lack of convenience because the touchpoint is not easily accessible (customer hotline that always has a busy tone, for example)

  6. Lack of transparency because customer is not given real time updates on the status of their order/request

Now you can start rethinking customer-facing and internal processes to create a digital experience.

Process Optimization in Action

There are are many ways to optimize a process, but the goals the same: reduce waste & delays, improve transparency, and provide convenient online channels to everyone (not just the customer!).


Here are some things to consider when creating an optimized process:


1.Customer Touchpoints

Are the touchpoints the right touchpoints for the kinds of interactions you have with your customer? Can the customer seamlessly switch from one touchpoint to the other? How much work does each touchpoint require the customer? Which one is most convenient in terms of time, accessibility, and effort to the customer?


2.Employee Tools

Is there a single point of reference for a customer or a customer interaction (an order, a support ticket, etc.) that your employees can access? How is the hand-over of information (from one department to another) done right now and how can it be improved? Are employees well-trained to facilitate customer interactions in the customer touchpoints? How can response times be made faster? Are employees able to work from anywhere or do they have to be physically at the office?


3.Business Rules

Are these rules properly documented and easily accessible to relevant employees? How can you “codify” these rules? Which of these rules can be automated, and which ones require human intervention? Do some of these rules make the customer’s life unnecessarily harder by causing delays, confusion, additional work?


4.Integration

What are the current software systems in place? Who currently have access to them and for what purpose? Are they built in-house or built by a 3rd party? Do they run on a web browser/cloud or are they installed in a laptop/desktop computer and accessed from an on-premise server? Do they have APIs or connectors in place?


The resulting optimized Service Blueprint should be able to address the factors in the previous page and take all of the considerations mentioned on this page. Now you’re ready to build your digital solution which we'll teach you how to easily accomplish in the next article.


Related Articles: - How to Build Business Resilience Through Digital Transformation

-The New Normal in Doing Business: How COVID-19 has Affected Customers and Operations

- Looking Outwards and Building Customer Empathy


About Steer

The Steer Team seeks to help you create enormous business value – along with creating potentially life-changing experiences for customers.

We at Steer envision a world where innovators like you are not restricted by the inability to write code in order to create impactful digital solutions.

We have built a platform that allows you and your team to create and experiment with powerful digital solutions that address business challenges, create great customer experiences and cater to new markets that were not viable before. We strive to work with you to build a better world - one digital solution at a time.

Steer was created by the same team behind BlastAsia. Established in 2001, BlastAsia is one of the largest software product engineering companies in the Philippines and is ISO-certified in Quality Management Systems and in Information Security Management Systems. BlastAsia is also a Microsoft Gold Partner for Application Development and Cloud Platform.

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