December 4, 2021

Why Process Mining Is The Key To High Productivity

If you asked a CX team member to explain their ticket process, it would likely be a straightforward procedure that resolved the flagged ticket quickly and efficiently. The reality, as most CX managers know, is not so simple. Understanding an agent’s process allows managers to create benchmarks and set KPI’s. However, many companies work from an ideal business process, rather than a realistic one. They bank on there being no, or very few issues, agents working to optimum performance every day and average handling times (AHT) based on feeling, not fact. In the long term, this disconnect between the imagined business process and the actual process of agents will begin to affect customer satisfaction, as well as team morale.

Reasons current business processes might be wrong or outdated include: 

  • Repeated work: Agents devote a lot of time to repeated work, re-work or other unnecessary activities. This work however was not accounted for, even though it happens every day, as it can be hard to track and unreliable to predict.
  • Unseen work: On a factory floor, it is easy to see what an employee is doing at any given time. The same is not true for customer operations teams. Agents might be on the computer or on the phone, but it is unknown what task they are actually completing. This has become increasingly difficult with remote and hybrid work, leaving CX managers an unclear picture of agent activity and where problems may be arising within the process. 
  • Technical difficulties: Business processes often assume the best of their tech. No slow loading screens, no bugs or crashes and all tech working at optimum productivity every day. This is very unlikely, especially in large teams and needs to be accommodated for. 
  • Process deviations: Deviations from the original business process are not always a negative thing. Agents may have found a quicker way to complete tasks, shortcuts that do not affect customer satisfaction and updated software that complete tasks in one step, rather than the original three. Having an accurate picture of your CX team’s process allows you to adapt and update business processes when needed. 
  • Process updates: Process can change as quickly and inconsistently as the weather. It might be due to a new client, new legislation or reorganization. These adjustments are often not included in the process documentation and as a result, the documentation will become outdated and useless. 

Without the right tools, accurate business processes can be ambiguous, making it impossible to improve upon them or predict and fix arising issues. Training new agents with outdated processes creates a new team with the same old issues and affects the customer experience.   

What is process mining and how can it help CX teams 

Process mining aims to visualize the actual business processes. This does not rely on guesswork or the gut feeling of operations leaders or agents but instead takes its information from IT systems. A benefit of ever-increasing automation is that an overload of information is readily available. Almost everything that an agent does on their computer is registered and saved. By analyzing that data, you can create a clear image of the business process. 

Below is pictured both the “ideal process” or the imagined process, and the process reality, created by a process mining tool. Within the process reality, you can see that steps are repeated or skipped, unlike the ideal process, which has simple step-by-step actions. 

Source: Fluxicon

The three most important benefits of process mining are that it is: 

  • Objective: Process mining is based on accurate data, taken from CX team members, not based on assumptions of agents and team leaders. Because of this, process mining is objective and unbiased, giving you an unfiltered version of the process.  
  • Complete: Process mining is complete because all data is recorded and used, including variations and deviations. The data is end-to-end, meaning nothing is missed. 
  • Fast: Process mining is fast because it is automated and can be reassessed at any given time. It does not rely on a person sifting through data and collecting it together in a graph to understand the business process. 

Usually, organizations use key performance indicators (KPI’s) to monitor whether the process runs well. For example, the average handling time (AHT) of their CX team may be six hours. 80% of the time, tickets are closed within the six-hour window, however, 20% of the time, it takes longer than six hours. Without having an accurate picture of the business process, the organization will never know why some cases take longer than the desired six hours and therefore they can never improve on the 80%. They can experiment based on feeling, however, this will use up valuable time and resources. With process mining, they can get to the bottom of the problem by analyzing the process from the inside. The 20% of problem cases may have been caused by an interaction with a specialist, resulting in unacceptable delays. 

KPI’s work like a thermometer; they tell you that something is wrong, but not what is wrong. Process mining works like an x-ray, allowing you to view the insides of a process and find out what is really happening. Having an accurate vision of the business process allows businesses to make improvements and create achievable benchmarks and KPI’s. In the long run, process mining will improve the quality of the customer experience, as well as the working experience of their CX agents and the training that organizations can offer their agents. 

How Fin helps companies make process improvements

Fin’s Work Insights Platform enables you to make process improvements with powerful methods of viewing how work is performed across thousands of instances. Because Fin runs as a chrome extension it can be rolled out quickly and easily across your entire organization and it enables end-to-end insights across all actions that take place within the browser. End-to-end is key when it comes to process mining, as that is what makes it objective and complete. 

  1. Identifying a process to improve: Fin offers you a snapshot of how each of your team’s processes rank in terms of consistency. This ‘Inconsistency Index’ enables insights across multiple core characteristics, such as ‘subscription changes’ or ‘refund requests’. Ideally, a process would have '0' inconsistency but this is very unlikely, especially when you are only at the beginning of your process improvement journey. By deep-diving into these inconsistencies, improvements can be made to the process. 

  1. Improve resource usage: Because Fin offers an end-to-end view of the agent process, you can review the tools and software that is used within that process and make improvements. Within Fin’s ‘Aggregate Tool Usage’ you can view your CX agents most commonly used tools. You would expect your agents to spend a majority of their time on CRM tools (such as Zendesk) and admin tools. These, in most cases, should have the highest level % of interactions. With communication tools (such as Slack) you might expect a lower % of interactions. Fin also flags up distractions, such as YouTube or online games. Because Fin not only allows you to view that tools are being used but for how long, you can begin to improve the quality of your process by updating tools.

    These improvements commonly include:
    a) Knowledge articles being made more concise and easier to interpret or split into multiple more purposeful articles.
    b) Resources with significant copies having the common content be automatically surfaced or written in where it is relevant in other systems/pages
    c) Resources with significant refreshes being surfaced to your applications team for opportunities to improve the performance of the resource.
  1. Improve Process Flow: The process flow diagram shows the most common action paths your team follows to complete an interaction of the given case type. You can snapshot any ideal processes (such as the process of your top talent) to showcase as a training example. You may also want to snapshot suboptimal paths to make internal cases for optimization efforts. Because these process flow diagrams are based on the actual use cases of your CX agents, they give an accurate and unbiased visualization of the business process. This allows for better implementation and improvements. 

Process improvements are just one way Fin can help you improve customer experience and the working experience of your CX team. If you want to know more about how Fin can help your customer experience and operations teams, contact us to schedule a free demo today.

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