Customer Service, It’s Complicated

A frustrated colleague once said to me “this job would be much easier if we didn’t have any customers”. While obviously unrealistic sometimes I can understand where he was coming from. Customers are complex, they are unpredictable and no matter how often we try to fit them into a standard framework or process there are always one or two who refuse to play ball or who’s problem you’ve failed to predict. It’s then that customer service really becomes complicated? The customer service agent has to begin the information trawl throughout the organisation via multiple colleagues and multiplebusiness applications to find the solution for the customer problem.

This example from Forrester shows the complexity of a customer service department in a N.American telecoms organisation.

Customer service processes are complex business processes because customers are complex. The challenge all organisations and IT departments face is how do they support their service staff and cut through this complexity.

Step forward Case Management

The Era of Set in Stone Business Processes is Over

The era of being able to manage your customer relationships with a fixed process, unchanged for months or even years is, thankfully, over. Processes can no longer be set in stone or left to chug away gathering dust in the background while your customers slowly melt away to more agile competitors

In order to survive the agile organisation must be able to adapt rapidly to change and respond quickly to competitive threats.  Organisations must be alble to quickly change business processes, without relying on IT support. Business leaders must be able to change their processes in minutes and not wait days or weeks for IT to come to the rescue.

Transforming Operational Agility with Process Skins

Many organizations use variants of the same core process map. For example a multinational organization may follow the same sales process worldwide but have different products or employee sales targets per region. A Business Process Outsourcing (BPO) organization will deliver the same core process for many customers but will have for example different SLA agreements or use different resources depending on the customer and product.

Singularity defines a process skin as a variant of a core process map or template. A process skin changes the rules associated with the process but not the process itself.

“We believe that process skins will significantly reduce the operational cost of managing multiple business process variants and can transform the operational agility of BPO and multinational organizations,” said Peter Browne, CTO at Singularity.
Singularity clients can now define a process map as a ‘Process Template’ and quickly create different variants of that template map as ‘Skins’ based on operational parameters such as SLAs and resources.

Individual modification of process variants is no longer required when changes are made to the core process template, in some cases reducing an activity that previously took months to a matter of minutes. Organizations can dynamically modify multiple process variants simultaneously, without reliance on I.T., transforming their operational agility and allowing them to rapidly react to changing market conditions.

Process Skins includes the following features:
Dynamically Modify Existing Core Process Templates
Previously whenever changes to the core process map were required this change had to be replicated across all process variants representing a significant cost overhead to the organization. Now dynamically changed processes are effective within the skin immediately, including on any jobs that are live on the skin.

Customizing Skins
Users can customize the operational data for each skin, for example it is possible to define Red-Amber-Green (RAG) settings in a skin, which are different from the settings defined in the core process template.

Skin Rules
Many organizational processes change temporarily, for example short term promotions or changes to approvals processes at financial year end. Users can now define skin rules based on which of the skins are dynamically selected at run-time.

Skin Versioning
Each release creates a new version of the skin (major versions only). The jobs created on a skin always use the latest skin version.

Case Fragment Skins
It is now possible to create process skins for Case Management fragments as well as for the core process templates.
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