Efficient. Efficiency. What attractive words. We’d all like to be efficient in our businesses, wouldn’t we?
Any drive towards efficiency can be seen from more than one point of view. And the viewpoint of your customers shouldn’t be ignored.
Let me tell you what triggered this article. I went to my doctor the other day. They’ve remodelled the surgery. You used to walk in, be greeted by the receptionist who checked your name and appointment, and then wait until your name was called by a friendly voice.
The other day, I walked in past the receptionist, to punch in my identity information on a touch screen in the reception area. It wasn’t working properly, so I went back to the receptionist to tell her I’d arrived. Then I waited. Periodically, a bell rang, and all the waiting patients looked up at two screens to see which of our names was displayed in large letters, along with which doctor’s room we should go to.
Now, I’m no health expert, but I’m unsure that a bunch of sick people sharing a touch screen is going to safeguard my health. The checking-in procedure was lengthier than it used to be, and more impersonal. So, as a ‘customer’, I wasn’t impressed by these changes.
No doubt the doctors who run the surgery and have made the changes will point to efficiency gains that they see in the workings of the practice.
But I’m not really a ‘customer’ here, because the doctors aren’t competing for my ‘business’. What if I was? What if I had a real choice about where I go for my healthcare?
Having a purely internal view while driving towards efficiency can leave your customers with a less pleasant interaction with your company. Be sure to view your efficiency programmes from the point of view of your customers too. Or you might unwittingly persuade them to go elsewhere.