Project Management

Transparency improves customer satisfaction

From the Easy in theory, difficult in practice Blog
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My musings on project management, project portfolio management and change management. I'm a firm believer that a pragmatic approach to organizational change that addresses process & technology, but primarily, people will maximize chances for success. This blog contains articles which I've previously written and published as well as new content.

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Transparency improves customer satisfaction


Categories: Agile


The link between transparency and trust is well known. You are more likely to trust the quality of the food you are served when eating at a restaurant with an open concept kitchen than if the food preparation is done entirely out of sight.

Transparency is a pillar of the Scrum framework and while it is not explicitly spelled out by other frameworks or in the Manifesto for Agile Software Development, it is indirectly referenced. When I teach classes in agile fundamentals, I often say that a virtuous cycle commences when greater transparency builds increased trust in the team by senior stakeholders. This in turn leads to greater support from those stakeholders for team self-organization and empowerment which reinforces the team's willingness to be more transparent.

But will transparency do more than just build trust?

I had a follow-up appointment with a medical specialist this week. It was scheduled for 4 PM and shortly after that time I was escorted to the examination room by a nurse who told me that she'd let the doctor know that I was there. I waited (and waited, and waited). At 5 PM, I got tired of sitting on the examination bed and stood in the doorway looking out. A few nurses saw me, but no one stopped by to ask why I was not waiting patiently in the room. Finally, at 5:15 PM, the doctor came into the room. No apology was offered for her tardiness but she did complain that she has no control over her normal schedule on days when patients needing urgent medical attention show up. 

My demeanor was externally pleasant but internally I was seething.

I have no issues with a delay resulting from a medical triage process. What frustrated me was my complete lack of knowledge of where I was in the queue or any idea as to when I would eventually be examined.

I don't expect that my doctor would have had the time or inclination to stick her head in my room to update me once or twice over the hour and a quarter I was waiting, but the nurse who had brought me there could have set my expectations appropriately. The clinic could have posted a simple information radiator showing the number of consults waiting for each specialist to help manage patient expectations. Better still, they could have implemented a simple online site to make this information available remotely which would have enabled me to show up close to the actual time when I would be examined. 

Increased transparency would have increased customer satisfaction.

I’ve learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel." - Maya Angelou

Posted on: January 26, 2020 07:00 AM | Permalink

Comments (10)

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Dear Kiron
Interesting your perspective on the topic: "Transparency improves customer satisfaction"

I absolutely agree with the conclusion reached by Maya Angelou

What is happening to this class "the doctors" who afford (apparently not only in Portugal) to have the clients' time as they wish?

For me it is important that transparency is verified in the processes and results

Without transparency there can be no trust

Information is powerful. It lets others into what actually is, as opposed to having to create false narratives.

My example would have been when the train stops in the tunnel with no explanation or time to movement (TTM) :)

Thanks Luis - I appreciate how busy medical clinicians are, especially when they are in a not-for-profit medical system like we have in Canada, but that doesn't mean that the human element should get lost.

Thanks Andrew - yes, we too have the same issue with our transit systems here. Airlines are also notorious for this - only the ones who track and report metrics such as on time arrival & departure will tend to be more communicative about delays.

Dear Kiron
I am convinced that this is about poor management of the agenda, and dehumanization by that class.

Unforgiven!

Here in Portugal the Health Services are also non-profit.

However, as a taxpayer, I pay about 50% of my income in taxes so that, as a citizen, I can enjoy this service with high standards

Great insights and points Kiron and I absolutely agree with your closing quote, love it !

I like the post, thanks Kiron.

In terms of comunication and customer satisfaction, there is another example that comes to mind. When a flight gets cancelled, a long queue is formed to ask one or two carrier representatives and get the flight rearranged.

It should be easy to implement solutions by which the customer receives a phone call or a message. Queuing up seems so twentieth century...

Hello Kiron: First, I hope you are feeling well and that everything is OK. Second, sadly the situation you described is repeated over and over again and not only in the healthcare industry. Poor communication, poor customer service, lack of compassion and disrespect abounds. Why? Why didn't a staff member come to speak with you about what was happening with the physician's schedule? Why didn't anyone acknowledge and appreciate your time? Why wouldn't the physician apologize for your extended wait time? It is frustrating and whenever I see excellent customer service, communication, compassion and respect - I try to acknowledge it. With so much competition, training, information and growth in the workplace - and with customers being able to write reviews online for all the world to see, one would think we would have improved so much over time. My take-away is that I want to learn from other - what to be, and what NOT to be. My hope is that my interactions show courteous and transparent communication and that I reflect compassion and respect to all I come in contact with. Again, I am sorry for your experience. In the time I have know you, Kiron, I have learned you are very respectful to others. You expected this specialist and office staff to treat you the same as you would have treated them if the tables were turned. I am sorry they did not treat you well.

Thanks Rami!

Thanks Eduard - unfortunately too many such cases exist in all service industries.

Thanks so much for the kind words, Lori - it is a sad situation when we know that demonstrating respect for each other's time is such a rare commodity!

Thanks for sharing. Transparency not only builds trust and increases team/customer satisfaction, but also helps motivate the team and keep everyone on task and on time! I ensure each of my project workplans are available to my team and dashboards showing progress, next steps, and outstanding decisions are available to outside partners as needed. Transparency is critical to Integration Management!

Kiron,

An excellent description of the medical professional here too. A few years back a coworker, was tired of this overbooking from his Doctor. At the next appointment he show-up late, the doctor asks why? "I also overbook my agenda!" he answered.

I have seen some clinics use a pager system, to inform patients to be on-site in the next 30 minutes to meet the doctor, which was for not schedule appointments. Now a text message or email can be sent to warn of the expected delay.

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