BLOG #3 Check the pulse in these 5 business areas to ensure you’re leveraging the new normal

Are you missing a domino in your business process architecture?

Process, schmosess… we all got a process right? Whether it’s formal or informal, habitual or happy go lucky… we have processes that we follow in our personal and business lives. Business however requires a bit more thought because it usually involves multiple parties and the impact is always on the customer (i.e. your bottom line). Yes, that’s right, even your internal HR processes affect your customers. So, have you relooked at your process architecture – run any simulations? Included any new connections? Asked your customers and your employees if your processes are still effective? If not have a read on and let’s see if any of the practical advice below can avoid disconnection.

Process, Process, Process (a.k.a. procedure, operations, how-to, step-by-step, rules of engagement, mapping)

Break it down – no I don’t mean get your groove on, although that would be hilarious or super cool depending on whether you have two left feet (please send me your videos, I promise not to share!)

What I mean is agree, and then outline your top 10 processes and how they currently flow, you can add a few more than 10 but too many and you will lose focus on the ones that make the most impact. Then take each process and put on your employee, partner, supplier, and customer shoes to ensure that each step is relevant and that you aren’t missing any new steps that have come about as a result of remote working, or new communication channels, and automation or new safety requirements. You can even nominate different people to take on the role of the process stakeholders – so someone can be a customer and it’s their job to think and act like a customer, someone else can be a partner and it’s their job to contribute in that regard, etc. etc.

I love the description of ‘moments of truth’ from MyCustomer, “In customer experience management, moments of truth represent the points in a customer’s journey with a brand when a key event occurs and an opinion about that brand is formed.”

Have you considered your moments of truth and what they look and feel like to your customers? When you’re stepping through your processes make sure you highlight the moments of truth. Of course, these can be different for every person depending on what they value, but it’s important to familiarize yourself with as many of these points on the customer journey as possible. Spend some time on them and then validate them with your customers and improve/change them with your team. Confidence in your moments of truth and their impact on your customers will give your team a sense of pride and will go a long way in helping you build a positive sales culture. It’s not a bad idea to get your customers to shout about their moments of truth either – ask for references from them on the moments that made a difference to further validate this with your team and with new customers.

Inclusion – the beginning, middle, and end of all process ideation, creation, implementation, and refinement. Do your business a favour, call a huddle with your team, partners, and key customers – separately first and then together if you can – and ask some hard questions about what is and what isn’t working. You need the input and as a leader, manager, or team player you can’t make, offer or influence the right change without including input from all the relevant stakeholders. Not only will it give you the info you need to make an effective change it will make your stakeholders feel good about being part of the process and will ensure they adopt the changes more readily.

Process mapping – you’ve done the research; you’ve got the input now you need to make sure everyone sings off the same hymn sheet. It’s a little tedious but it’s worth mapping out each process end-to-end – this is serious IP and adds a ton of value to new hires, new customers, new partners and it saves a heck of a lot of time giving your team more time to create, innovate and serve. Most importantly, in my opinion, it quickly allows you to figure out why and where a process has gone wrong, needs refinement, or has something missing. There are a lot of project management tools that can create process maps or you can use good old PowerPoint – whichever way you go make sure you can show any process, for example onboarding a customer, when requested.

Validate & Promote – finally, do a validation. Go back to your key customers and talk through the processes with them to ensure you’ve not missed anything. Once you’re happy, encourage your sales and delivery teams to vocalise your processes (not all, that’s boring and some of it is IP) but the ones that make your brand stand out for putting the customer first or show that you have considered every possible eventuality, for example, incident response in the cybersecurity industry. This will give new customers a sense of comfort knowing you have a plan and that there are specific people responsible for that plan all the way along.

To summarise: 5 things you need to refresh your processes, break them down, highlight the moments of truth, include all stakeholders, map each one, validate, and then promote. Of course, these steps should be repeated either annually or when a major market change affects your business, processes can last a decade or become redundant overnight so it’s always a good idea to schedule in a regular check on how they are faring.

Get in touch to find out about the program I run to help realign your processes and ensure they are efficiently and effectively facilitating your business growth.

In area 4 we look at your ideation and the importance of creating a business-wide culture of invention and innovation.

Photo credit: Miguel Á. Padriñán from Pixabay

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