What if customers ran the process?

Another question from Peter Schoop: “Is the Customer the Boss With Social BPM?” reflecting on the blog post by Doug Mow on “Is the Customer the Boss the Age of Social BPM?”  I thought I would take this to the logical extreme: what if customers ran the processes instead of the vendors?

From personal experience, I can tell you that would really prefer to be more of a boss in situations where I have called in for customer support.  Like most people I have been through a few nightmares where the company with lousy service lost records, gave me different and inconsistent information, and required me to spit out endless details about the problem time and time again.

What I would like is a “personal support process” that works like a normal support process in reverse.  I would start it when I first call their support line.  It would track all the details: where I called, who I talked to.  I would note down the obnoxious phone menu so I don’t have to listen through every time.  It would automatically send regular timed reminders to those support people when they forget what they promised.  And ultimately, when the problem is solved, send an automatic thank you to the people who helped.

Imagine a world where the customer had such processes which drove companies according to the customer desires, and not according to the company’s desires?  Wouldn’t that be interesting?

Naturally people will raise some obvious issues:

  1. the company has a profit motive, and implementing a process can be expensive, why would a customer be motivated to expend this effort.  Clearly, the effort would have to be small, but that is the point of adaptive case management: very light weight processes that can be created without a lot of effort.  Less of a process, and more just a check-list of what needs to still be done.
  2. The way you purchase might be different between buying a book, and buying an appliance.  Who is to say that a customer’s process would be good for all product types?  Once again, ACM is specifically designed for situations where the process is different every time.  Today you buy a beach towel, tomorrow you are looking for sunburn relief cream.  You customize the process to the situation.

Is Social BPM going to provide this?  Not yet.  But ACM is a step in the right direction.  And it is a potential in the long term.

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