People, Processes then (Maybe) Technology

April 10, 2008

A great read in this May 2008 PROFIT Magazine article by Rick Spence.

Go ahead, I’ll wait!

So, How easy are you to do business with? I have gently brushed the edges of this theme on a couple of posts, K.I.S.S. here, and Sales, Service and Education here.

The reason I like the article, except for oblique references, no mention of technology!

Thats right. People, processes, then (maybe) technology.

…it’s usually a case of companies looking to do things in the easiest way possible for themselves — and forgetting customers’ needs.

If you are not looking at your customers needs, All the technology in the world will not assist you. No matter how often technology consultants and the IT sales folks try to tell you differently.

It does not matter If your goal is excellence in customer service, or product delivered right the first time. The people and processes to do this must be baked into both the organization and individual.

Then, and in my opinion, only then! do you consider whether a technology product or tool can help improve your metrics.

The People & The Process

Here is one example, there are some large automotive dealerships that pride themselves on customer retention and service. Customers are greeted by name, and the service centre is an open book during the repair cycle. All staff know that regardless of job function, this excellence in service role is part of their job description.

The Technology

Consider this; some of these dealerships have even invested in cameras and software that decipher the license plate of cars entering the service area. They do this so that by the time you reach the service desk, all appointment details are ready, and the service staff can greet you by name.

The goal? The goal is for you, the Customer, to say good bye to that 20 minute wait of obtaining your name, phone number, appointment confirmation, appointment details, loaner or rental details etc.

However, by themselves, these tools do not make a dealer excellent in customer retention and service. If the excellence in people and processes do not exist first, the tool is nothing.

That auto dealer? if his/her people and processes are already committed to excellence, then the same end result of those cameras and software could be obtained by a body looking out the window and writing down the licence plate number as cars come in.

And that is the point;

Imagine that your excellence in service does involve manually writing down that plate number. That works perfectly until you get to the point that the number of vehicles arriving for service exceeds the ability of staff to manually process it.

It is When you reach this point, the point where you cannot keep up; that it becomes the time you can look at reducing the human time by looking at technology solutions. Not before.

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One Response to “People, Processes then (Maybe) Technology”


  1. […] People, Processes then (Maybe) Technology, Elliot Ross finds another angle one of my favorite thoughts. Tools are just enablers of process. […]


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