LEAN SIX SIGMA WORLD CONFERENCE
Fusion: Lean Six Sigma Meets Customer Experience
Presenter: Perian Stavrum, Sr. Director Program/Project Manager, Change Management Office, Wolters Kluwer, Saint Cloud, MN, USA
Co-Presenter: Lisa Hagen, Customer Experience Program Manager, Wolters Kluwer, Saint Cloud, MN, USA
Keywords:Process-Centric, Customer-Centric, Innovative
Fusion is the integration of Lean and Six Sigma practices combined with Customer Experience (CX) concepts, methods and tools to create a holistic approach to process improvement. Fusion can be used in all areas where an improvement to the internal process is needed which impacts the customer. Lean Six Sigma is an excellent process improvement methodology, but it is missing key elements that help employees understand how our business processes impact the customer’s experience. Conceptualizing how our process impacts the customer is difficult. As employees, we intuitively make inaccurate assumptions that can have unintentional negative effects on our customer. Employees believe they are customer-focused yet come to realize they think primarily about how the process impacts the business. Fusion not only points out the institutional pain caused by an inefficient and ineffective process but also empowers employees with tools to identify and solve for the customer’s effort and emotional experience during the process. Fusion is a new methodology that fully integrates the customer’s perspective through the entire process improvement cycle. This first-of-its-kind innovation combines the components of Lean, Six Sigma and Customer Experience into one inclusive methodology. Fusion supports a holistic and systems thinking perspective of our business processes by suggesting that an evaluation of the value stream goes well beyond the output of the process and into the psychological domain of our customer, taking into consideration the emotional aspects of our customer’s overall experience. Likewise, the impetus of this program also encourages our employees to go beyond the confines of their own functional domain, compelling non-customer-facing associates to consider how their work eventually impacts the customer.
Fusion allows our employees to conceptualize a customer’s day-to-day environment and even the world of the customer’s customer. By using proven CX practices the most profound impact is that the employees have a change in thinking that puts the customer in a virtual “seat at the table”.
Baseline tools used to create Fusion emerged from proven Lean, Six Sigma and Customer Experience practices. Conventional Lean and Six Sigma tools were augmented to incorporate both the traditional process improvement approaches (e.g. Value Stream Mapping, Root Cause Analysis, and Process Control), which we have deemed to be “back-of-the-house” perspectives, with customer effort and emotion concepts (e.g. Customer Journey Mapping, Persona Creation, Empathy Mapping, and Design Thinking), which we have identified as “front-of-the-house” perceptions. Fusion has uncovered all the intersections between the disciplines and has fused them into one methodology. For instance, traditional Lean Six Sigma artifacts such as Fishbone Diagrams, Failure Mode Affect Analysis and Control Plans have all been augmented to consider the customer’s experience with internal business processes. We have noticed from our participation in the CX industry, most notably at Customer Experience Professionals Association (CXPA) events, a significant number of CX practitioners are also Lean Six Sigma Black Belts and Green Belts. We hope to inspire the entire CX and Lean Six Sigma community to further advance the fusion of these practices into a holistic methodology that elevates the effectiveness of all disciplines.