Tuesday, July 27, 2010

The Human Touch

Principled Centred Processes is all about - Human Touch.

Could you think of examples of human touches in IT services? The rustling felt like wind was going through foliage...

“Saying good morning?”
“Saying thank you?”, I smiled at the participant.
“Knowing your name!”, someone shouted.
“Not putting you on hold”, the crowd snickers in agreement.
So why then do help desk services; still to this very day forces you, the customer; all mighty holy deity of business to remember a cryptic “incident no.”

“Thank you for your call sir, please remember your incident no. ABB2231-XYZQEE29. Have a nice day...”

This to me my friends are classic examples of IT Service firms who no longer understand what it means to be human, or even offering glimpses of humanity.

We talked about forms in the previous post; and services that mechanize human engagements into bits and bytes, ids and numbers are one manifestation of being obsessed with forms. Manifestations of being lost in the world of automation, but not harnessing the power of innovation that automation provides.

We speak to each other in terms of names, places, time and actual events. Sincerely; I despise anything in IT that ends in “Numbers/Id” Come on, share some more experiences.

“Identification No?”
“Login Id? “, Good; some more please
“Telephone No.”
“Account No.”
“Account Classification Code”
“Lotus Notes Id.”
“Active Directory Id.”
“Staff/Employee No.”
I held my hand up surrendering to the torrent.
If there’s one manifestation of Principle Centered Processes that I want to introduce and challenge Help Desk Services – is this:-

“Can’t you recognize me when I call?”
Think about it; when your wife, friends, colleagues, boss, girl friends (smiles), calls you – I bet you know EXACTLY who they are, and probably sometimes, why they’re calling.

Why is that so?

Come on, this is easy...! I challenged.

“Called Id”, a lady in the 2nd row whispered sheepishly.
EUREKA! Yes, YES, YES! I yelled and jumped and signaled the assistant to give her a small gift for sharing.

Caller Id has been around for as long as I can remember mobile phones, so the question is, WHY hasn’t it been implemented. It can’t be cost, it’s a ubiquitous technology; and so the only reason that I can think of is again... human touches.

When anyone that you care about calls, at the back of your head; you will vaguely remember when they called and why they called...

“This cannot be executed, help desk personnel takes HUNDREDS of calls a day...” a dissenter yelled and was clearly irate.

“EXACTLY”, I yelled back. And that’s why a simple implementation of caller Id, is so important. With the hundreds and thousands of calls, you cannot afford any delays searching for customer information. It needs to be up in front of the Help Desk Personnel’s face or the customer will be supremely incensed having to explain what happened again because your staff can’t identify the details of the previous call.

Take a moment to think about the “WHYs” in implementation failures; and think about all your own experiences in calling up Help desk services.

There’s also a 2nd piece to the puzzle, the discipline of tagging each phone call back to the customer and keeping track of the customer engagements centrally. My vision is, when I call any help or service desk personnel, I'll get this:-
“Hello Dr. Kervokian, we haven’t talked since last Thursday, I hope the incident was resolved amicably, how may I help you today?”

Finally, for the love of “God/Customer”, please do not shove the incident no. down the customer’s throat. It is your internal tracking number, not the customer’s.
Because the whole point of the Principle of Human Touch is
As a service provider, you make their life simpler, not yours. I cannot stress this enough... and yes, keep forms away from your customer.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

PCPs Don't Require Forms

The paradigm shift comes in detaching oneself from the fixation with forms. I am fuming! When you move a paper based form into an electronic form with all the fields intact, you're really shining turd - Too blunt. Too direct (I know).

The audience looks on like I'm a wild man from the mountains.

"He's talking nonsense...", the crowd slowly rumbles, and the built up tension turned into yells of

Blasphemy! Blasphemy!"

But surely the world has changed, and an organization that is built for change, needs to move with the change.

I thus challenge the reader to see what I see.

  • How long have you worked with the organization? 5, 10, 20, 30 years?
  • How many times were you compelled to write your name on a form? Don't your friends and colleague for that many years know you by now?
  • How many times were you coerced into scrummaging for an archaic label that says - please enter your charge code? (Image below is an actual form from a global USD16bil a year outsourcing firm)

  • How many of you actually know your charge code?
  • Do you actually know how many forms and which forms do you require?
  • Do you know where to get the form?
  • Do you know whom to ask for the form?
  • How many times were you told that you've filled up the wrong form?
  • How long did you take to fill up the form?
  • How long did it take to actually get what you wanted?

The following technologies are available and able to permanently replace all manner of forms, electronic or otherwise:

  1. Directory Services
    To identify who you are, where you are in the hierarchy and the policies that governs you.
  2. Identity and Access Management
    To enable and disable access to systems that you need access to or rights which can be accorded to you.
  3. Work flow/Rules Engine
    To route the requests to the relevant party and prioritize the requests.
  4. Messaging System(email) + Unified Communications (a bonus)
    To notify the approver, wherever the person is!
  5. A simple dashboard
    to flag and identify approving authorities that take forever to authorize a request. Also to tell where you are in the approving chain.
You can save your organization millions if not hundreds of millions of lost productivity hours by simply embracing this paradigm shift. And I dare say that the technologies above take pittance to implement compared to the benefits of an almost Godlike 'organizational hygiene' .

That's the thing with Principle Centered Processes - it seeks Godlike perfection.
More importantly, it brings humanity into technology