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Best Practices

Process Mining as an Invaluable Element for Improving Customer Experiences

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Amazing customer experiences aren’t something you can measure once and then forget. True customer experience excellence is ever evolving, ever changing and always receptive to changes in consumer perspective, confidence, and expectations. This often unpredictable tide of customer needs means businesses must establish a continuous improvement process to improve the customer experience, helping to keep customers delighted and loyal for many years to come.

Guide to your first Process Mining project

Continuous improvement here is vital. Thus, continuous monitoring and measuring become the enablers of structured change. The attitudes and buying behavior of customers in one quarter may not mirror those in the next. Nor will the attitudes and perspectives of your team, associates and competitors, or the infiltration of new technologies into society, remain constant.

Process mining makes possible the continuous monitoring and measuring of big data which enables businesses to understand deeply, and improve upon, customer experiences. Process mining technology crunches massive amounts of tiny footprints left across IT systems in the form of data logs at lightning speed. This technology is therefore suited to paint a holistic picture of the customer experience as it occurs in reality and real-time.

Here are three ways to apply process mining to improve customer experiences.

Analyze process deviations and why they occur

The customer is always right, and process deviations prove it. If customers are taking the path of more resistance or interacting with a product or service in unexpected ways there’s a reason; process mining will reveal it. Process mining can help decision-makers understand where process deviations occur and why. Is it due to a process design flaw? Have your customers unexpectedly discovered a better way to achieve something? Is there a gap in your understanding of the process?

Process deviations are almost always negative when it comes to procure-to-pay or order-to-cash processes. However, they aren’t necessarily negative when it comes to customer experiences. Take for instance the experience of architects who painstakingly work to build a beautiful and functional apartment complex. They plan walking pathways to connect the parking lot with housing units in a manner which best anticipates resident’s needs. But for some reason, residents will carve a path for themselves which appears most convenient at the moment, sometimes even through the bushes.

Does this mean the architect was wrong in planning? Does this mean the residents are wrong in finding and creating their own path? No, neither the architect nor the residents are wrong.

Customer experiences and process deviation are similar to that of the apartment complex example. There may be many ways to walk, all of which can be correct. Those who use the pathways the most will surely find the path which best suits their needs. Use process mining to capture these customer pathways, then learn and adapt. Transform the intended customer experience into something your customers love.

Analyze the customer experiences of your most satisfied customers

Satisfied customers are your best advocates and often your best teachers. Satisfied customers give insight into which processes, people and products are associated with high satisfaction. Happy customers will often have shared experiences, and process mining can reveal the most typical routes to customer happiness.

From channel source and customer service teams to time-on-site and wait times, process mining can identify winning combinations which lead to the best customer experiences. Start by defining which processes have the most significant impact on customer experiences. This will most likely include customer service, click-streams, and processes related to returns or claims. After all, a negative customer experience turned right can often be the most potent source of customer advocates.

Once these representative processes are identified, ensure systems are set up to deliver continuous insight into process maps and flows. Break down user journeys and dig into the experience of satisfied customers. You may find satisfaction stems from a particular customer service team, product line or on-site experience.

Analyze the customer experiences of your most dissatisfied customers

On the flip side, analyze which process steps lead to the most significant customer dissatisfaction. Knowing what doesn’t work is equally as important as knowing what does work. Process mining will reveal process design flaws, broken process steps or inadequate levels of customer service (below standard SLAs). Identify the source of poor customer experiences and devise a plan to fix them.

Communicate process weaknesses with your team and involve those impacted by process changes into process redesign. Process mining success always involves communication success and identifying process mining champions across all levels of an organization. The customer experience is impacted by employee experience.

Don’t forget to account for the emotional response in addition to the cold hard data-driven facts when considering a process redesign. Communicate problems early and often as part of a company-wide effort to create a culture of ongoing customer experience improvement.

Customer experiences don’t take a break

Aided by the rapid transformation of technology and social media, customer experiences are ever changing. A customer’s experience with an organization doesn’t begin and end with purchase — it’s fluid, volatile and a predictor of satisfaction. Businesses need to keep innovating and improving their services, or risk being left behind. Get started with process mining today to improve your customer experiences tomorrow.

Michal Rosik

19. 03. 2019