Broken Corporate Processes Degrade Customer Experience: Survey

Broken corporate processes have been contributing to negative customer experiences, a recent survey suggests.

One thousand employees in United States companies with a workforce of 500 or more who work on a computer or mobile device for more than five hours a day responded to the online survey conducted by Nintex.

Overall, 54 percent observed broken administrative processes within their organization, and 39 percent saw broken document management or sales processes.

Top broken administrative processes:

  • Identifying and recommending problem fixes at the company level (37 percent);
  • Identifying and recommending problem fixes at the team level (34 percent); and
  • Submitting expenses (28 percent).

Top broken document management or sales processes:

  • Locating documents (49 percent);
  • Document sharing (43 percent);
  • Document approval requests (43 percent);
  • Pulling and finding data on sales (41 percent);
  • Completing and filing new client paperwork (34 percent);
  • Document versioning (33 percent);
  • Getting sales contracts signed, negotiated and approved (27 percent);
  • Communicating sales results to the company (23 percent);
  • Referring potential new business (19 percent); and
  • Recommending a new business line or product to the management team (15 percent).

The findings on document mismanagement “definitely revealed some of the biggest issues in today’s organizations,” said Nintex spokesperson Kristin Treat.

“If employees can’t simply access or share files, their leaders can’t expect them to complete projects in a timely manner,” she told CRM Buyer.

Difficulty pulling sales data signals another growing issue, Treat said. “As organizations become increasingly reliant on customer data to personalize the customer experience, companies will need to significantly improve their data management processes to keep tip with the competition and attract clients.”

Sales, Document Management Are Key

Revamping sales and document management processes “may not be top of mind for C-suite leaders,” Treat noted. “They often underestimate the impact these small processes have on both employees and customers.”

Further, while CRM platforms and sales automation tools are becoming a necessity, many employees may not know how to effectively use the technology, she pointed out.

Organizations should “prioritize continual employee training for new platforms to patch up these processes and ensure everyone’s working as efficiently as possible,” Treat suggested.

Marketing: Tough Administrative Haul

Another area of inefficiencies occurs in partner marketing, which recently has become more important for many companies.

A survey of 100 senior U.S. marketing executives conducted last fall by WorkSpan found the following:

  • 78 percent of respondents employed someone solely to track the progress of marketing campaigns;
  • 47 percent spent more than four hours each week in meetings to review the progress of marketing projects; and
  • 27 percent used at least 10 different software programs to collaborate with marketing partners and colleagues.

There’s “a significant lack of innovation” in alliance business processes that cross company boundaries, said Chip Rodgers, VP of marketing at WorkSpan.

“To date, there has been no cross-company go-to-market business process automation to manage the complexities of these relationships,” he told CRM Buyer, “for a single source of the truth and effective, efficient processes to win in the market together.”

Solving the Process Patchwork Problem

Most companies are “made up of systems, processes and rules that have been layered over each other,” observed Rob Enderle, principal analyst at the Enderle Group.

Automating processes at once isn’t the answer, because “automating a bad design will likely make things worse,” he told CRM Buyer. “You have to step back and redesign the system first.”

Companies should first conduct a forensic holistic review of their processes, then develop and execute a plan to “massively reduce” the complexity and control gaps in their policies and processes, Enderle recommended.

Once that is done, companies can automate piecemeal.

“Implementing workflow automation doesn’t necessarily have to start from the top down,” Nintex’s Treat said.

“Companies can automate first the one process that has the most significant effect on their ROI,” then assess its impact on customer satisfaction and employee efficiency, and evaluate what to automate next, she suggested.

That approach also would make it easier for employees to adapt, Treat said, and be willing to adopt similar workflows later.

Richard Adhikari

Richard Adhikari has been an ECT News Network reporter since 2008. His areas of focus include cybersecurity, mobile technologies, CRM, databases, software development, mainframe and mid-range computing, and application development. He has written and edited for numerous publications, including Information Week and Computerworld. He is the author of two books on client/server technology. Email Richard.

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