All posts in Process Management


7 Questions to Ask When Auditing Your Customer Success Processes

customer success audit processBora Lee is the Manager of Customer Enablement at ChurnZero. She is passionate about helping customer success teams succeed by crafting big-picture strategies executed through automated, streamlined processes that put the right data in front of the right customer at exactly the right time. She works hand in hand with customer success leaders to create fruitful, long-term relationships and to maximize customer satisfaction. In her free time, you will find her scuba diving and traveling.

Since customer success (CS) is still an emerging field, it’s not uncommon to find CS leaders who are founding their company’s first CS team or creating CS processes from scratch. Being the new department on the block, you may have had to find workarounds to other team’s more established processes. Or you might have encountered the common workplace scenario of inheriting your predecessor’s way of working.

No matter how your processes came to be, I can tell you one thing: they’re not perfect.

You can’t put your processes on a pedestal or become complacent with their adherence. Your market, solutions, and customers are constantly evolving. Your processes must adapt to the people and to the context – not the other way around.

Especially when you’re implementing CS processes for the very first time, it’s impossible to account for the multiple variances that will occur when you put concept into practice.

Instead of striving for process perfection, a goal more worthy of your efforts is the continuous improvement of your processes – routinely assessing their design, usage, output, and effectiveness.

And that’s where audits come in. By auditing your processes, you can uncover if dips in your performance metrics are merely a fluke or perhaps the cause of an undiagnosed bottleneck. Or if outwardly unrelated customer complaints actually stem from the same source.

As you audit over time, your small incremental efficiency gains add up. Consistent and measured refinement is the key to sustainable growth.

When auditing, it’s all about asking the right questions to uncover both the visible and underlying issues in your processes. To keep your customer success operations running smoothly, in this Process Street article, we’ve detailed a few simple, yet commonly overlooked questions to ask during your next process audit:

Let’s get right to it!
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Top 5 Secret Hacks and Tricks in Process Street

Process Street hacks and tricks

At Process Street, we serve over 450,000 registered users including the likes of Salesforce, Spotify, and Airbnb. We work with our users to help them get the best out of our software. With this goal in mind, we bring you this article detailing the top 5 secret hacks and tricks in Process Street.

We found out how the Process Street team uses our nifty workflow documentation software in their day-to-day activities. We gathered the responses given from every department and narrowed them down to present 5 top hacks and tricks you can incorporate into your Process Street experience today.

With that said, let’s jump straight to it!
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“Don’t Repeat Yourself”: 4 Process Street Features to Keep Work DRY

Don't Repeat Yourself 4 Process Street Features to Keep Work DRY

Unless you work with small children or large animals, the expectation of staying dry at work is pretty high. I know my workstation is very not water-resistant.

So when Blake Thorne (our product marketing manager) pitched me an article about DRY, I had no idea what he was talking about. According to our three wise men in engineering, that’s to be expected. The DRY principle is almost exclusively used in software development; those of us outside don’t have much cause to consider it.

Or do we?

And this is what Blake wanted to get at. “It’s the principle of ‘don’t repeat yourself,’” he explained. “Cut out all the unnecessary, repetitious code.”

“But one of our values is to overcommunicate,” I countered. “Everything. Twice, even. Don’t those two concepts cancel each other out?”

“Maybe,” he conceded. “But what if they actually don’t?”

I am a sucker for a good what-if.

Here I’ll go over the principle of DRY – plus WET and AHA (oh, those rascally devs) – and how here at Process Street we manage to overcommunicate without repeating ourselves. Because I’m such a nice guy, I’ll also point out the 4 best features to get you on the same path.

Let’s get to it!
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Can Today’s COO Still Benefit from Hammer and Champy’s Reengineering the Corporation?

Can Today's COO Still Benefit from Hammer and Champy's Reengineering the Corporation?

I view most management gurus with the same wariness and suspicion the average person might approach a traveling medicine show peddling sparkling water as a miracle cure. Or, in this case, basic common sense as innovative management techniques.

Recently, I picked up Reengineering the Corporation by Dr. Michael Hammer and James Champy, both highly lauded as leading practitioners of their own concept. Based on their personal bios and their book, both are imminently pleased with themselves about this.

Fair enough. If I’d built an entire career on a single concept, I’d be pretty pleased with myself, too.

But is their idea still relevant nearly 30 years later?

I wanted to find out, so I asked many experts many, many questions (shoutouts to the ones who didn’t file restraining orders! You’re the best 💖) and read far too many long-winded reports.

These are the things I’m willing to do for you. That’s how much I care.

And because I care, I’ve taken all that super relevant knowledge, filtered it through my usual scampishness, and now offer you an overview of the book, the concept, and what it means for your favorite COO.

Let’s go break some stuff.
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A Step-by-Step Guide to Creating an Effective Swim Lane Diagram

A Step-by-Step Guide to Creating an Effective Swim Lane Diagram

Burkhard Berger is the founder of awesomex™. His articles include some of the best growth hacking strategies and digital scaling tactics that he has learned from his own successes and failures.

Process mapping is almost always beneficial to those working within the process, and those working outside it. Not all processes should be mapped in the same way. A simple process run by only one or two people can be easily represented by a basic flow chart; a process that involves multiple individuals or cross-functional teams is going to need something more complex.

Like a swim lane diagram.

Designing your own swim lane diagram – or even just mapping a process for the first time – can seem daunting. Where do you even start?

I don’t mean to brag, but we here at Process Street are kind of experts on this whole managing processes thing, and one thing we definitely know how to do well is map out processes of every shape, size, and situation. This post will walk you through all the basics of swim lane diagrams, including how to create your own one step at a time.

You can either read on to get the whole history of swim lane diagrams, or just jump straight to the tutorial:

So, let’s dive in! 🏊‍♀️
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Lean Canvas: How To Create a Business Plan that People Will Actually Read

lean canvas

Everybody has a plan until they get punched in the mouth…
Mike Tyson

Which, let’s face it, happens to most start-ups and entrepreneurs. Around 75% in fact.

You have the best idea. You spend days, weeks, and months perfecting a 40-page business plan filled with five-year forecasts, 18-month roadmaps, and in-depth marketing strategies. You confidently pitch it to stakeholders and investors.

And then?

Then you get punched in the mouth.

Potential investors go quiet or “haven’t had time to read it” and you’re left with an expensive, wasted deliverable and a chunk of time that you’ll never get back. Worse still, your product isn’t any nearer launching and you haven’t secured any buy-in or investment.

What. A. Waste. Of. Time.

Traditional business plans are of little use to start-ups, and of no real interest to investors.

But what’s the alternative?

A one-page business plan inspired by Eric Ries’s Lean Start-Up methodology and specifically designed for emerging entrepreneurs: The Lean Canvas.

The Lean Canvas is a living framework that allows you to quickly capture your idea or concept, thoroughly validate it, and then continuously share, improve, and most importantly move on it.

Ok, I know what you’re thinking:

I have the answers to all these questions and more in this Process Street post.

Ready to dodge some punches?
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What is a Blog Maturity Model? How We Create Quality Content at Process Street

blog maturity model

When you’re doing any kind of content marketing, you want to be able to understand how well you’re doing. You want to be able to look at the performance of the content you’re creating and feel assurance that you’re:

  1. Driving forward key goals and objectives tied to your content strategy;
  2. Continuously optimizing and improving the quality of your content in order to hit those goals.

Especially when you’re creating this kind of content that involves a degree of creative input (writing!) it can be difficult to measure quality.

This is where maturity models come in. Maturity models can be a great way to build and assess how successful an organization or system is at achieving continuous improvement.

Ultimately, it’s the idea that you’re constantly seeking to test and improve the way in which your organization runs. You’re not standing still.

We’ve written before about more generally applicable Capability Maturity Models, but this post takes a look at our internal Blog Asset Maturity Model (BAMM) process that we use to audit and continuously improve the quality of our blog content.

In this Process Street article, we’ll cover:

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The Ultimate List of 45 Business Process Improvement Tools (Lean Six Sigma & Beyond)

process improvement tools

Processes underpin business capabilities, and capabilities underpin strategy execution.” – Pearl Zhu, Digital Capability: Building Legal Like Capability Into Business Competency

A 2018 survey by BPTrends found that 93% of the organizations studied engaged in multiple process improvement projects.

This is because business processes are the life-blood of your organization. Process improvements, therefore, prime your organization to run like a well-oiled machine, bettering your chances of business success.

On that note, in this Process Street article, we take a look at our top 45 process improvement tools. Using these tools will improve customer satisfaction, save you money, strengthen customer retention, and boost project success rate (+ more).

Click on the relevant subheader to jump to your section of choice, alternatively scroll down to read all we have to say.

For clarity, I’ve split each tool as per the following subheaders – click to jump to the unique tool category.

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Conquer Process Improvement With These 9 Lean Six Sigma Tools

Conquer Process Improvement With These 9 Lean Six Sigma Tools

“Knowledge has to be improved, challenged, and increased constantly, or it vanishes.”Peter Drucker

Lean management, Six Sigma, and lean Six Sigma all walk into a bar. Lean management orders a Scotch. Six Sigma orders bourbon. Then lean Six Sigma orders a hot toddy. The bartender says, “So that’ll be a whisky, a whiskey, and a bit of both.”

Are you seriously writing another post about lean Six Sigma?

Yes. Yes, I am.

While you’d be forgiven for thinking that these methodologies are all essentially the same, it is important to remember that they are, indeed, separate. The principle of lean Six Sigma is simple: it combines the waste reduction and workflow efficiency of lean manufacturing with the defect-elimination process of Six Sigma.

To break it down:

  • Lean: A method to reduce or eliminate any activity that doesn’t add value to a process (read more)
  • Six Sigma: A system to create a defect-free process (read more)
  • Lean Six Sigma: The best of both worlds used to eliminate process waste and variation (read more)

Some may say Six Sigma is outdated, or just another example of “business bullshit,” Process Street keeps lauding the benefits for one simple reason: lean Six Sigma works.

From Motorola to Amazon, Fortune 500s have been incorporating Six Sigma practices since the mid-80s. In the early 2000s, Dell, Inc. did the same and by 2004 had saved the company $1.5 billion in costs. In 2020, Dell Technologies reported total revenue of $92 billion and as well as the increasing popularity of their systems.

In this post, I’ll break down Lean Six Sigma into the five corresponding DMAIC process categories, and provide the most relevant tools for each stage. Feel free to jump ahead:

Otherwise, dear reader, let’s begin!
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Customer Success Operations: How to Build Repeatable Processes to Scale and Grow

customer success operations

It was known as the email incident. An incident that caused an astronomical uproar throughout the office.

Names shall not be mentioned, but before Process Street I worked as a technical service advisor for an environmental testing laboratory. It was our job to deal with customer queries and complaints, to answer questions, and to make sure the service we provided met the customer’s needs.

The email incident: My colleague forwarded a customer complaint email to our manager, adding an inappropriate comment to display his frustrations with that said customer.

Unfortunately, this email ended up in the customer’s inbox too…

Oops!

Mistakes like will happen if you don’t have pre-established customer success operations to act as a form of process control.

Think about it, you’ll have optimized processes for production, sales, marketing, etc. But to effectively scale and grow, you’ll need to build repeatable processes for your customer success department too.

For many companies (72% to be exact, according to data obtained by Forrester), customer success is a top priority. This is because it’s well known that investing in a new customer is 5-25x more expensive than retaining existing ones – as expressed by the Harvard Business Review.

Make customer success operations your top priority by building and optimizing repeatable processes. And in this article, you’ll learn precisely how to do that.

Click on the relevant subheader below to get started. Alternatively, scroll down to read all we have to say regarding customer success.

Let’s begin!
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