If there is one area that frustrates most businesses regardless of size it’s business process.
There’s plenty of research that shows improved processes positively impact your ability to deliver the right customer outcomes. Regardless of where you’re focusing – sales, marketing, operations or service - there’s plenty of benefits to be derived across the business.
Most people don’t realise they have a problem until something happens to trigger their awareness, such as a customer complaint or a missed deadline. It’s this ‘cause and effect’ situation that can be tricky to handle; for example a customer complaint is the effect element, not the cause. Most often the cause is a lack of a strong process in the lead up to the complaint happening.
The value of building good processes
There are many reasons why having strong business processes will benefit your business.
Firstly, building processes is a great productivity and consistency driver. One of the biggest challenges we all face is keeping things consistent, to making sure everything you do is repeatable, in a way that is both productive and profitable. Strong processes help you find consistency in what you do.
Once you have consistency you have the right platform to start measuring your progress. The advantage of being able to measure process is simple: By measuring the effectiveness of a process you have the ability to improve it over time and this is crucial to being able to adapt to whatever the future throws at you.
Ultimately the biggest benefit comes on the people side of your business: Your clients and your employees. Great business processes don’t only allow you to deliver exactly what your clients wants, but make you far more flexible in dealing with exceptions as they arise. It works the same way with your employees. By involving them in building strong processes you’re ensuring they’re personally invested in the business outcome. It becomes more than process; it becomes a core component of your culture.
The biggest challenge may be you
By far the biggest roadblock I see to changing your approach to business processes comes when someone says “But we’ve always done it this way”. It’s this type of response that can often hold you back from making any real improvement.
It takes time and focus to build good business processes; it’s not a simple case of doing it once and forgetting about it. You need to continually evolve.
If you’re a business owner reading this and think you don’t have time, here’s something to consider: If you’re not improving the way you deliver for your clients, there’s a good chance your competitors are. Those businesses that do are the ones that will thrive in todays challenging market conditions where competition is ferocious and margins are under pressure.
It will deliver real results
BTS started with a simple goal; to become the most efficient operation of it’s kind in Geelong, Bellarine and the Surf Coast. We knew if we achieved that goal we’d also be providing the best customer service available. That journey around improving our process is core to what we do and continues to this day.
Our service processes are a great example, specifically those around how we monitor and maintain our client’s devices. Focusing on the business processes around our service delivery means we’re able to consistently meet and exceed expectations. Everyone in the team is involved in developing and ultimately owning our processes.
The best advice I can give you is to be flexible in your approach. If you’re too rigid, you’ll limit the potential to grow and evolve. The best way to stop this from occurring is to be collaborative in designing your processes: Get your people involved with the process to work collaboratively with you in improving it. They’re the one’s doing it, you’ll find they’re also your best source for how to make it all work.