Virgin Media – Process Fail #1

Like everyone, I’m forever having problems with my internet service.

You would think that in London, in the 21st century things would work properly. You would be wrong…
I’m sure the problems I am having would be the same if I would change my service provider.
That said, it still is frustrating…

Virgin Media has two customer support offices: One in Scotland (or North England), and one in India.
I’m not going to rant about the level of customer support, or make fun of the accents.

The issue is around the way they try to solve a problem. The process of dealing with an unsolvable bottleneck.
It seems that Virgin Media doesn’t have one approach to dealing with problems.

If you ring during the day, you get the Scottish team.
* If they can’t help you – the say so.

If you ring during the night, you get the Indian team.
* If they can’t help you – the will try to pass the blame on to someone else.

I know it is a cultural issue, and I know both teams are trying their best, but it seems that the Indian team are achieving opposite results.

I need to know if the problem cannot be solved. I’ll be angry, frustrated.. but at least I know there is nothing more that I can do.

Blatant truths solve process problems
The reason – It releases uncertainty, which is a major bottleneck in any process.
The solution – If you can’t solve the problem – state it out loud.

ProcessPolicy.com is an online business process solution for improving business performance and enforcing company policies.

Disclaimer: The views expressed in this blog are strictly my own, and do not necessarily reflect the views of my employers or anyone else.

We caught a graffiti artist…

We caught a graffiti artist in the act…

UK Border Agency – Process Fail #1

Anyone that has visited the United Kingdom, has probably passed through the border process run by the UK Border Agency.

It requires filling out a “landing card” form with your personal details, flight and passport details.

An immigration officer will check your passport, ask a few questions and let you in (or not).
But due to understaffing, you find yourself waiting… and waiting… and waiting…
Their official target is to see you within 45 minutes.

Landing cards are often provided on the plane, and can be filled out prior to your arrival.
But in many cases, the airlines don’t provide boarding cards (or don’t have enough cards..)

That causes problems. Visitors know that the quicker they get from the plane to the queue – the faster they will get through.
So you often see people that rush into the border process area, pick up a form and quickly fill it out, in order to be at the front of the queue.
This badly planned process causes mistakes, bad writing, missed fields… etc.
(Remember that this is a legal form that they are filling out)

You can’t blame the visitors. They want to get through the queue as quickly as possible.
There are many solutions, from ensuring airlines provide boarding cards to the passengers, through to electronic screens to fill in the details.
It’s all about implementing the right data entry solution

Bottom Line:
Data entry needs to be done properly.
A badly planned data entry process causes mistakes, bad writing, missed fields. Things that can, and should be avoided

ProcessPolicy.com is an online business process solution for improving business performance and enforcing company policies.

Disclaimer: The views expressed in this blog are strictly my own, and do not necessarily reflect the views of my employers or anyone else.

Prime Minister’s Office – Process Fail #1

I’m having an issue with one of our government offices. Nothing serious, just annoying bureaucracy.

I decided to write a complaint.
I’ve never written to the prime minister, so I decided to give it a go.

No, it’s not an issue of national security, nor is it a life or death issue, but as the prime minister is in charge of the government offices, he should be accountable for his government office’s conduct.

Now to be honest, it’s more of a rant, a way of releasing a bit of steam out.
You’ve all been in a similar situation before. British bureaucracy at it’s best.

So I sent the letter to the prime minister at 10 Downing Street, London
and waited
and waited
and waited…

A month went by, but still no reply.
A complaint process that doesn’t start properly is the worst scenario.
If someone takes the time to write a complaint, you should at least acknowledge receiving it.

So I’ve written an follow up email to the prime minister office
I’ll keep you posted on its progress…

Bottom Line:
If a process fails at the first step – a loud siren should go off. Something is really wrong with the process implementation!
Processes that fail in further steps can always be resolved using escalations and alerts, but the first step is critical and must work perfectly.

ProcessPolicy.com is an online business process solution for improving business performance and enforcing company policies.

Disclaimer: The views expressed in this blog are strictly my own, and do not necessarily reflect the views of my employers or anyone else.

Arlanda Airport – Process Fail

Stockholm’s Arlanda airport is a cute airport. Small, quiet, wooden floors. A relaxing atmosphere.

Last week I passed though the airport, as a stop-over. I had a bit over an hour to dash from one flight to another.
The airport has invested millions in security equipment, x-ray machines and metal detectors.
Passengers that need to transfer to a connecting flight, are required to go through the transfer security lounge.

To lower maintenance costs, the security lounge is unmanned.
Instead, they have a small sign that says “Please press the bell, and one of our security staff will attend in a few minutes”

So I rang the bell and waited… and waited, and waited.

After 15 minutes of waiting (and a bit of panicking that I’d miss the connecting flight) I went downstairs, found a door that was left unlocked (probably the cleaners) and entered the departure lounge (thus bypassing the security checks)

I got to my flight on time, and the security staff didn’t even know about me.

It’s a good example to use in explaining process problems.
One of the issues with any process implementation is enforcement.

Think about daily employee tasks in an organization.
Workflow tasks can be automated to be sent to an employee. Reports can be generated. Alerts can be provided.
But nothing stops an employee from bypassing the system – if you leave a loophole.

Bottom Line:
Process design without enforcement design will open the system to abuse.
If you leave a loophole in the process – employees will find it.

ProcessPolicy.com is an online business process solution for improving business performance and enforcing company policies.

Disclaimer: The views expressed in this blog are strictly my own, and do not necessarily reflect the views of my employers or anyone else.

NHS – Process Fail #3

It’s not easy to distinguish a bad process from bad customer service.

Usually bad service is an indicator of a bad process.
Usually good service is an indicator of a well planned process.
But sometimes good service covers up a bad process.

I donated blood today.
Surprisingly it was a pleasant experience. Mainly because of the head nurse, Ann.
Ann, a chirpy nurse with 26 years experience was fantastic. Chatty, smiley, happy.
It made the whole experience a positive one.

But the good experience covered a faulty process.

I received a call a week ago from the NHS Blood donation team telling me that the donation date had been changed from Thursday to Monday.
“But I’m not booked for donating on Thursday” I said. “My appointment is on Monday”
The woman stuttered, and tried covering up her mistake by verifying that I’ll be coming in on Monday.

I had to smile…

I’ve already covered the problems with the NHS blood donation booking process, so I didn’t have high hopes when I went to donate blood today.

You enter the main hall, and are welcomed by one of the nurses.
You are given a booklet to read and kindly requested to wait.
.. and wait… and wait… and wait

45 minutes later they call your name.
You go through a list of questions with another nurse, given the OK, and then asked to take a seat at the back of the room and wait
.. and wait… and wait…

10 minutes later you are called to lie down on a bed.
You wait another 5 minutes and the nurse comes back and draws blood.

The whole process takes nearly 2 hours

It a common problem with the NHS. The medical staff are professional. The administration is a mess.

Bottom Line:
Badly managed time causes inefficacy. Inefficacy is the root of bad processes.
But sometimes good experience covers up a bad process.

ProcessPolicy.com is an online business process solution for improving business performance and enforcing company policies.

Disclaimer: The views expressed in this blog are strictly my own, and do not necessarily reflect the views of my employers or anyone else.

Time Manager

In the end, it’s all about time management.

U.S. President, Dwight D. Eisenhower once said:

What is important is seldom urgent and what is urgent is seldom important.

Time Management enables the effective management of employee’s time using accurate working time recording, monitoring and analysis.
Only through analysis of the data that you can begin to understand employee behavior, identify working trends and discover where work can be made for efficient.
Together these enable to accurately model and predict future employee behavior and lay a foundation for improving business performance.

ProcessPolicy’s Time Manager is an online time tracking and analysis solution.
Time manager improves employee efficiency and productivity and ensures compliance by accurate working time recording.

Time Manager

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.