Viewing the Problem from the Customer's Shoes

Apr 14, 2015 5:19:00 PM

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When we interact with our clients in the problem management workshop, it is often difficult to get them to understand the situation from a different perspective. This is often the case when it comes to putting themselves “in the customer’s shoes,” to appreciate the negative or “knock-on” effects the customer is experiencing. I suppose we could sit them down in front of an irate customer and let the customer verbally abuse the unsuspecting staff member for a few minutes - I would view this method as being counter-productive!

In our KEPNERandFOURIETM (KandF) workshops we have rather taken a more pragmatic approach and created a simulation that exposes each delegate to many of the frustrations and lack of communication that the customers has to deal with. The simulation creates an environment where the participating delegate is handicapped by a lack of communication and understanding between the working groups. Each group has targets to meet and they are measured on the levels of achievement at the end of each of four 30 minute sessions. These measurements consider areas such as:

  • Successful customer transactions handled
  • Profit/Loss per session
  • Operating systems availability
  • Mean Time to Restore Service

The first 30 minute simulation as you might expect is chaotic, bearing in mind the delegate is given a minimum amount of information and allowed to forge their own processes based on their personal experiences. It is also important to point out that very often the groups that I work with (up to 16 in number) have never worked together before and come from varying levels and sectors within the organisation. It doesn’t take long for individuals and the group to realise there has to be a better way of tackling this particular situation.


It is during the breaks between each of the 4 simulations that we review the situations we have been exposed and evaluate why and where we went wrong. We tackle the situation in a workshop type environment in which I generally take on the facilitator role to guide the group towards some form of resolution while considering the elements that will provide a workable solution based on best practice in their industry.

Next week we will look at how we move this forward to provide the best solution while at the same time improving communications and updating the relevant stakeholders, including the all-important internal and external customers.


 Learn more about Industrial Problem Solving...

John Hudson

Written by John Hudson

London, UK | Partner of Thinking Dimensions Global
Mr Hudson focuses on the delivery and support of the RCA suite of KEPNERandFOURIE™ products with particular emphasis within the IT environment. He draws on almost 20 years of experience within the IT industry in the UK and Southern Africa. His particular strengths relate to the development and refining of products and content specific to client needs.


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