True Business process management - and by that I mean moving beyond system processes - drives increased revenue by aligning the customer to the experience of the process. Many organisations have or are becoming very aware of the importance of making the entire end-to-end (manual and system) processes available to customers. As we have seen in both the banking and utility sectors, customer loyalty has become based on price and ease of on boarding. However, over the next decade we will see a customer service return as a key benchmark to customer loyalty. Those organisations that use process management and improvement to transform their customer journeys and supporting operations will be those that win.
The power of revenue choice has never been so one-sided and it sits completely with the consumer. Being a revenue winner in this new world means thinking about how to capture and keep the customer in your selling environment. Intelligent use of manual process management is the key to being a winner.
Business growth is about gaining new customers and keeping existing ones. One of the few competitive differentiators left is Customer Experience (CX). Product innovation is short lived and no one wants to be in a race to the bottom on price. But a great CX, delivered consistently across multiple countries, offices, teams and through the different channels (phone, email, social media) requires a focus on process. And it is not just the sales teams involved. Great CX reaches deep back into the organisation. It requires the coordination of support, product delivery and finance. And coordination needs process - at least up front to get some definition on CX and agreement on handoffs.
In my column "My Angry on customer service" and every good or bad experience I wrote about had process at its heart. The challenges are spelled out in a recent blog "Customer Service is either black or white"
This is where BPM should be focused if it wants to be seen as a valuable part of business strategy. Driving up revenue has an infinite upside. Cutting costs can only go so far. Money talks.
Doing anything for the sake of growth is akin to cancer (which grows for the sake of growth).
Why not first do better, rather than more?
Growth is a byproduct of you focusing on providing a genuinely better product, service, interaction, experience, communication to your customers. In all these areas BPM can obviously help.
By making customers a part of the process. Doing so will take more than just extending BPM-driven applications, making the customer a process actor (though that part is tricky enough). It means changing the way you think about UI design, application architecture, security, etc. But if you can make that investment, BPM has the power to bind your customers to you more tightly than ever.
Engaging customers new and existing with a good experience even when things go wrong, as they will do, is an important aspect to achieving growth. It is about engaging the customer yet letting them make the choices that suit them to arrive at their desired outcome and not that frustrating “not available/possible” one we often are faced with?
BPM should be the discipline that works out what is required and this will include understanding the “rules” linked to recognition of the choices being made to present next choice so ultimately there is an outcome that can be readily delivered. This will require a degree of intelligence and should engage the customer being almost fun to experiment with differing priorities and options.
BPM of course includes actual delivery so needs to think end to end as any failure in the delivery process will quickly undo that good customer engagement. Such implementation with real time feed back will give valuable feed back to continuously improve the experience for all; not forgetting the internal support people.
BPM is especially good with two following aspects which contribute into business growth:
a) liberating the time and energy of people for bringing innovations – less stress, less re-inventing the wheel, less non-added-value work (e.g. monitoring), etc.
b) ability to consider customers as active participants of processes between corporate and customers thus anticipating all potential touch-points and take care about those touch-points. (see http://improving-bpm-systems.blogspot.ch/2015/01/bpm-for-cx-customer-experience-example.html )
I believe BPM should drive business growth by helping the organizations to get step by step to their final level of maturity!
We have various capability maturity models on the market (can be easily checked on Google), however all preach more or less the same: from the siloed organization to the intelligent operating network (i.e. continuously connected to the market dynamics in near real time by having the organization and its partners driven by adaptive processes). It is obviously hard to achieve the ultimate level yet with teams of A players anything is possible!
I read above about the Customer Experience (CX), it sounds cool but offering great services and products is in direct relationship with how effective and efficient is the organization in achieving its right goals. And doing that requires a maturity journey.
Driving business growth via BPM, "looking beyond cutting costs."
A few ideas on the topic:
@Ian - Business execs everywhere could do well to heed your advice, specifically that "business growth is about gaining new customers and keeping existing ones". A much better approach certainly than "boosting shareholder value", which is finally being revealed for the recipe for moral bankruptcy that it is (see various articles over the past few years on executive compensation and corporate strategy). As Peter Drucker famously observed, "the purpose of business is to create a customer".
You deliver your encomium to CX in the context of this forum on BPM and business process, and that's worth underscoring. I'd go so far as to say that CX and BPM are inextricably linked and that the realization of CX objectives is dependent on BPM technology.
The Peter Schooff crew covered this linkage in December 2012 (via ebizQ):
And I followed up with a blog post for the purpose of analyzing the linkage between CX and BPM as real, and not just rhetorical:
(Appended as notes to my post are six more comments on CX, UX and BPM from Jeanne Roue-Taylor, Alexander Samarin, Aberdeen Group, Emiel Kelly, Ajay Khanna and Clay Richardson.)
[This was originally a comment directly to Ian's post.]