Once the committee has explored the results of the existing processes, it’s time for members to get an understanding of the cognitive and emotional experience of being an applicant. There are several ways to gain such insight, but these are among our favourites:
The “Eat-Your-Own-Cooking” approach.
Each committee member goes through the process of applying for a loan. To systematize this process, the committee should supply one sample business case for them to use as they apply for a loan.
The “Avatar” approach.
This involves a bit of up-front work to create three sample applicants. Three committee members are assigned the role of one of the sample applicants. Each of the three then proceed through the funding application using only the information supplied. This process should be taped so that the rest of the team can watch later; alternatively, it can be done in real-time while committee members observe the experience.
The “Watch-Some-Real-Applicants” approach.
This also involves up-front work to recruit existing or potential customers who would be willing to be videotaped as they fill out an application form. Explain that your organization is interested in the customer experience applying for loans. Obtain their consent to be recorded. Afterwards, committee members review the recordings.
Questions for applicants and observers:
- What parts of this process were confusing or unclear?
- What parts of this process increased frustration or anxiety?
- Which questions seemed unnecessary, intrusive or irrelevant?
- What was the most difficult part of this application?
- Was it clear how to get help when difficulties were encountered?
- What aspects of this application would you recommend we keep? Discard?
- What should we consider adding in order to make this a better experience?
- How long did it take to complete the form? Do you have suggestions for speeding up the process?
The information gathered through this part of the process will direct you to possible sources of sludge as you move on to the last part of the process: