United We Stand, Divided We � Lose Customers - Page 2

Mar 13, 2008

Mark Cioni

For example, in my case, I was transferred over 40 times to at least 17 different people. Why couldn’t someone stop the line? On a larger scale, leading organizations have instilled accountability throughout their entire fabric to focus on intended outcomes in terms of performance measurement, reward systems and other key areas. What is your organization doing to align with, measure and reward intended outcomes, both internally and with BPO providers? Just as important, are the organization’s reward systems congruent with intended outcomes? If one answer is, “We try to solve customer problems but we’re measured on call volume and resolution time” then the dissonance should be obvious.


Share information in “business time” – This point is a natural extension of the state-based integration I described earlier. Organizations frequently talk about real-time information sharing, but I think it’s more accurately framed as “business-time” information sharing. The notion of “business-time” expresses for me not only the need for low latency but also the imperative of process state: What information needs to be shared? In what context? For usage by whom?


Additionally, the information sharing will have necessary coupling to logical process instrumentation mechanisms in order to enable intended outcomes. Simple file-based integration might be okay for many situations, but with apologies to Maslow, if the only tool you have is file transfer then every problem looks like an FTP session.


Look at the intended outcomes first. In my case, information was shared well enough to send me a customer service survey from three different BPO providers, but they couldn’t share the information needed to solve my problem.


Apply technology for agility – I won’t attempt to discuss technology very deeply here. Suffice it to say that a great majority of organizations trying to enable intended outcomes have access to a dizzying array of tools to enable the types of approaches I’ve discussed. Certainly, the decision will depend on skills, costs, legacy infrastructure and myriad other factors that should combine to present a strong business case. When developing the business case, however, don’t forget to factor in the influence of achieving intended outcomes, which could become manifest in various areas both quantitative (customer retention) and subjective (customer satisfaction).


Finally, don’t go through the day without taking off the blinders. As I’ve hopefully shown, there are examples of achieving, or failing to achieve, intended outcomes all around us. Some organizations succeed in spite of themselves, some get lucky and some fall down even with a theoretically good approach. As one of my first martial arts teachers

observed, we should borrow and adapt what’s useful for us, and let go of the rest.


Mark Cioni, President of MV Cioni Associates, Inc., has been helping global businesses to improve their decisions, operations and performance for over 25 years. He can be reached at

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