Innovation, Working on your Business not in it.

Copyright 2006 Business Systems Manager

So what exactly does it mean to be Innovative and ‘Work On your business not in it’ and how is this possibly going to assist you in reaching your long term goals for your life and your business?

I had the misfortune recently to be involved in a motor vehicle accident. Nothing too uncommon I am sure you would agree. I was lucky in that I walked away with only a few minor scratches and a bruised ego.

The accident however, gave me the opportunity to witness first hand, how innovation within a company can assist in getting its customer service right; and on further investigation it gave me the chance to find out exactly what the innovation behind the exceptional customer service experience was.

From the very first moment that I contacted the insurance company it was obvious they were an innovative organization. They actually had a real person pick up the phone. You would agree that in instances like this you just kind of expect to be given the run around and be frustrated by bureaucracy and inefficiency at every turn.

Thankfully my experience was a little different. I had just brushed myself off and I was still quite shaken, but I managed to pull myself together and begin taking care of things. I was definitely not in the mood to be interrogated with a multitude of questions. I just needed to get my vehicle towed and get myself to a doctor for a further check up. The friendly yet concerned voice on the other end of the phone seemed to know this instinctively and was able to set everything in motion quickly and effortlessly. Within minutes a tow truck was on its way, an ambulance had been ordered and my claim had been started.

And the impressive service did not end there. Throughout the vehicle repair process I was contacted regularly and given full and comprehensive updates on the status of my vehicle and was even asked when the most convenient time to be contacted for follow up service calls would be.

This is quite different to the customer service experience I thought I would receive

Being quite interested in finding out what drove innovation in exceptional service businesses I decided that I would ask some questions of the staff whenever they contacted me regarding my claim. I was interested to find out what enabled them to provide a consistently exceptional customer service experience.

The answer I received from the staff with whom I asked the question was consistently the same. ‘This is the way we do it here’. On further questioning them on exactly what this meant. I was relieved to find that everything that I had experienced right from the opening dialog through to the claims processing and on to the final delivery of my repaired vehicle, was all part of their internal Innovative Processes and their Documented Operational Business Systems.

Every step, carefully thought out, the dialog to use for the phone conversations, the tone of voice and attitude of the claims staff, the back end processing of the claim, the follow up service calls. All integrated and consistent across the company, and all configured to provide the best outcome for me the customer.

So this is what it is about: This ‘working on your business not in it’, Business Innovation and Systemization if you will. While it may sound very structured and ordered and not flexible enough to work in every business. The truth is that is does work and can work for you.

Imagine your people having that flexibility to innovate within the well defined system that you have created with them. Everyone working together towards the defined goal, your goal.

Communicate to your staff -‘This is the way we do it here’ – Provide them with the required tools to allow them to Learn and Innovate. Watch them Grow; Watch them Thrive…