You can probably recollect at least one business nightmare over the past few years you have heard about, been affected by and unfortunately sometimes even been an unwilling participant in creating. The ultimate customer is usually the loser of these disasters but the list of affected usually includes many others on the inside. So what can we do about it? One thing we can do is continue raising our collective heads about the fray and asking, – “Is someone looking at this change (this problem, this opportunity, this merger, etc.) in a holistic way that results in a win for our customers and for our internal stakeholders?  What are the things that can be done to keep our customers happy while we are working through internal changes that can result in problems for our customers?” You might be saying I am not in marketing, or an executive and I get involved down the road to help elicit requirements for an IT project.  What can I do? You might even remember a project that you knew was headed for problems, but it felt like it was a runaway train. There are things we can do every day to to slow down the train or even stop it.

A few years ago I went through a merger of a number of cellular phone providers with over 14 different billing systems. One of the inspired things this company did (since it would take a couple of years to convert all the many different systems into one) was to say whenever a customer calls about a problem with billing let’s resolve it exactly the way the customer wants and in a single call. We need to make that promise public and be consistent in carrying it out. It was a genius strategy because customers need attention when there is a problem.  They want someone to listen and provide a speedy and fair resolution. I remember wondering how much revenue would be lost during this multi-year timeframe while billing conversions were being planned and executed and while customer service would not be able to diagnose the true billing problems. Instead of a huge money loss, what happened is that people loved the customer service and would compare it to the other providers whose service was poor.  Customers were paying more for cellular features and staying loyal because of the fabulous customer service they were receiving.   This cellular provider flourished during this time and grew to be the number 1 provider even with the parallel internal chaos that was happening as the company was trying to work through all the merger challenges. The company leaders made a brilliant move to insulate customers as much as possible during that tough transition and to remain consistent across the newly merged companies in their customer service promise. So what does this mean to you in your role as a business analyst? BAs are an essential part of change movements. Change is hard and comes with many issues. You can be proactive and be part the solution rather than an unwilling participant in a looming disaster. A BA with a service-oriented philosophy can bring known risks, requirements gaps and bad requirements to the appropriate person, like your PM to protect your internal or external customers from future chaos and negative repercussions.  There is much you can influence and prevent as part of your job. You may be surprised about what other benefits can happen.

What have you done today to prevent problems or create winning situations for your stakeholders? Solution stories are welcomed here any time….Please share your tips, questions and experiences as part of the winning solution you create everyday where you work.

Sending you all positive energy,

Angie

 

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