My clients know that creating and fixing processes is an important part of the work we do together. It’s easy for me as an observer in your business to see what’s going on or not going on and seeing what needs some tweaking. You should probably have documented processes, too, where needed.
Why are processes so important? Processes ensure that
- Everything you want done is written down in a process
- Each step is done the same way every time by every person
- The customer experience should be the same if everyone does the same thing each time
- Therefore, customer service is improved
- No one forgets to do anything
- Those responsible for the job can often work faster because they don’t have to keep everything in their head. It’s written down, step-by-step on a piece of paper that they can follow.
- All of the options and contingencies are decided ahead of time and resolutions are right there for your team to follow
- If it’s documented, you can pass it along for someone else to do
- On-boarding and training may be easier and faster
How do you recognize when a process isn’t working well or you need to document a process? Symptoms include:
- Rework is required
- Personnel turnover
- Your customers aren’t happy
- The wrong products or services are delivered or things are missing
- Lagging sales
- The right hand doesn’t know what the left is doing
- Money is going out the door and you’re not sure why
- …Need me to go on?
Your challenge: Look at every job in your company and see if there are areas that need to be documented or systematized. Where are your processes breaking down? Are all the questions being asked every time of your prospects? Does everyone who needs to know something have fast, easy access to that information?
Here is a great example of processes. Have you ever built a home or had contractor work done in your home or office? Each step has to be done in a certain order and the work is a result of the conversations and questions on the front end.
- When you don’t get what you asked for, the process is broken.
- When delays happen, the process is broken.
- When you call to check on the status and someone doesn’t know the answer, the process is broken.
- If workmen are careless and that leads to rework, the process is broken.
- If communication isn’t clear and timely, the process is broken.
- If the business or home owner isn’t happy, the process is broken.
- If someone doesn’t know how to respond, or responds incorrectly or incompletely, a process is broken.
Translate all of this into what you are doing in your own business. Is there a set of questions you need to have at the ready to ask all your prospects or clients? Are your sales people asking all of the same questions? Are there steps you can write down that need to be done every time for particular tasks or functions? What are the communication touch points with your prospects and clients? Are they actually being done? Do all of the departments involved in each job know what’s going on? Are your clients complaining about the same thing?
Each of these is an opportunity to systematize a process. This makes your business stronger, gives you happier customers and gets your team all moving in the same direction, which ultimately is reflected in your bottom line.
If you’re not sure if your business has some areas that need processes, I’m glad to set aside 15 or 20 minutes to talk to you about it and explore. Click and let’s talk!