In his last post of May 17th Why Organizations Struggle with Customer Experience @joseph.colletti said,
Taking a page out of W. Edwards Deming’s approach to quality management, we must consider the “people” definition as not only the actions of individual employees, but also the organizational structure.
I took notice of this because it's rare to get anyone quoting Deming when they're talking about customer experience and especially about customer satisfaction. Edwards Deming, and his resultant TQM and Six Sigma methodologies have been relegated to the ranks of engineers. And Deming is just some guy who went to Japan in the 80's and helped the car companies improve their product quality.
But he also said this:
If you can't describe what you are doing as a process, you don't know what you're doing.
That's what Six Sigma was all about. And the processes he was referring to included services:
Improve constantly and forever the system of production and service, to improve quality and productivity,
and thus constantly decrease costs.
Six Sigma and good old-fashioned statistical process control (SPC)
SPC is the tried and true method that engineers used to monitor processes of production. It's the basis for product quality control, and a key technique in Six Sigma. Engineers set control limits, and follow rules that dictate when a process is "in control". Anomalies, the so-called "signals in the noise" occur when the measurements break certain rules, and are thus deemed "out of control". In fact, the 6-Sigma moniker was coined from the notion that a process under control mainly stays within a 6 sigma range - 3 sigma above the mean; 3 sigma below the mean.
The key thing is, you need to have process measurements in place. Which is natural in production processes. They are very measurement oriented. But why don't we apply Six Sigma to customer experience? Is just a culture difference thing? Customer experience / customer service people tend to be less likely to use process engineering techniques. The two don’t’ seem to mix.
But it would be applicable: we could model the pathways (or journeys) that customers take through our processes. We could measure them, monitor them, and then use the measures (both quantitative and qualitative) to run experiments to see what triggers a response. Where the response variable is customer satisfaction, or Net Promoter Score.