Much has been written about how consumer behaviours are changing and the impact this has on business strategy. However, is sufficient focus being put on changing processes and the way business is done?

Through our research with businesses and their clients, we have seen 3 trends which may be negatively impacting on customer and supplier experience.

 

1.  Slow decision making
Whether it was a research project, training, or implementation of new strategies, pre-Covid objectives were debated, alternatives assessed, and implementation took place as soon as possible thereafter.
We are now finding that it takes several months to get projects going or there is a chopping and changing of the scope and need as other “urgent” priorities arise. Scrambling seems to be the new norm.

Reviewing our research over the last 6 months we think there are a number of bottlenecks developing:

  • Teams are not collaborating to define clear objectives
  • Insufficient time is given to planning to determine outcomes and ensure results are delivered when required
  • Possibly there are insufficient (or adequately skilled) resources to do the required work
  • Those who are new to the company or position are not effectively onboarded and mentored
  • A lack of accountability for deliverables and timelines
  • There is a fear of making the wrong decision having not been able to quickly bounce it off someone
 
2.  Decisions taking place with a select few
The best outcomes happen when all stakeholders, who are likely to action the work, are involved in the scoping and development of work streams. More and more often, we are finding only one or two people are involved in the design of projects that will be used by many.

Is this because:

  • Setting up meetings is more difficult with diaries full of Zoom or Teams meetings?
  • Decisions are being made in isolation without adequate thought about the impact on other areas of the business?
  • There is insufficient collaboration because teams are not physically together?
  • Individual needs are taking precedent over what’s best for the company?
 
3.  Service levels have declined especially where call centres, administration and client queries are concerned

In recent research we have found:

  • E-mails are taking longer to answer and mail boxes are fuller than ever
  • Accessing a call centre is difficult as no-one answers, and the quality of the line is so poor the client requests are not being heard
  • Agents are not being effectively measured, managed, and motivated to provide a high quality service
  • Queries are passed around and are inadequately resolved
  • Administration around contracts, invoices and even payments is taking longer than ever to finalise

 

A few of our thoughts on why the above is happening:

  • Unclear deliverables
  • Less accountability
  • Lack of engagement with one’s work
  • New distractions at home or from social media
  • A need for more intentional management and motivation of staff
  • Giving everyone, including administration and call centre staff, the time and input they need
  • More communication on the values and expectations of the business
  • Not reviewing job descriptions with the change to more remote working and increased automation
  • Difficulty balancing cost effectiveness and high quality

 

Do you know how your clients and suppliers are experiencing your delivery? The old adage of “what gets measured, is what gets done” is truer than ever.

At Livingfacts we have 20 years’ worth of experience in understanding what customers, stakeholders, staff, and suppliers need. We work with you to provide current research and insights on how to remain relevant in changing times.