Recently, my husband’s business purchased a brand new oven. I don’t mean just a normal oven, I mean a £40k state of the art, eco-friendly car oven for baking paint once cars have been fixed and resprayed (he owns a car body shop if you haven’t guessed yet). The company he bought the oven from are market leaders (they build the ovens that the Maclaren factory use) the customer experience? Shocking.
As he talked me through his experience I was running though all the process improvements they could easily make for a better experience. These ranged from better communication to a more transparent process, a better ‘how to’ once the oven was in and clear understanding of all the functionality for optimum use. As this all went through my head I realised I was running through exactly the same elements that make organisational change work. It was then I made the connection that change management and customer experience were cut from the same cloth.
As I started to actively think about it I realised that both processes are won or lost on how the person going through the change, experiences the change. In the oven example, the purchase, delivery and fitting of the physical oven as a customer, in my work, the delivery of a new way or ways of working. Both know a change is coming, one has chosen it, the other may not.
When working on change programmes in the NHS we often think about how the change will directly impact people but we rarely think about the experience in its entirety. We think about the processes and systems needed to move people though the change but forget that they are people, that they have feelings. How we understand and work with those feelings is key to change success.
When starting any change journey, when planning how to do it as brilliantly as possible, it is therefore important consider and find answers to questions such as;
- How do we want people to experience our change programme? What would create positive experiences?
- How do we want our comms to be experienced? How do we want people to feel when they read them?
- How do we want people to experience our team? How do we make sure the team becomes trusted and seen as enabling the change.
Like customer service, you should be aiming to get people to want what you are offering and feel positively about it overall. As you read this you may realise that this is intrinsic to your change practice but it might not be to others in the team. Make it external, discuss it, plan for it and then measure it via your change feedback processes. There will be more questions to ask and answer. Challenge yourself and your team to think of them.
Like poor customer experiences, ultimately poor change experiences add extra effort, time and resource. Put the effort in, resource it properly, commit to trying to create a great change experience. When you start to think actively about providing a good service and experience to your change stakeholders, and delivering those experiences, you’ll be much closer to rea transformation.