As published in No More Practice’s Reality Check on 5 April 2016.
A significant amount of time, effort and resources are devoted to documenting processes and procedures with the intention of improving business efficiency. However, the success rate of achieving results based on this activity has been limited and in some cases, has actually held back potential growth.
Why? Because most attempts at process re-engineering have neglected to incorporate a number of key factors, including:
Thinking about everything you do from the clients’ perspective
The majority of businesses continue to be inwardly focused and capture or re-design processes from their perspective. They neglect to consider that there is a client on the other end experiencing everything you do.
Even the most streamlined, systemised client engagement machine will not produce an uplift in results if it is not focused on delivering value to clients through an enjoyable and rewarding experience.
Even with compliance you can be creative and find ways to make signing documents or completing paperwork a satisfying event in itself.
Tailoring your processes to suit the needs of your different client groups
Inefficiency can come about with a ‘one-size-fits-all’ approach to doing business, as resources are not allocated according to their value potential. As a result you can end up spending too much time or effort on clients of lesser value at the expense of those who deserve it more.
The best results come when the advice and service needs of each client group are considered and the engagement process is tailored for each different segment. Your clients and your bottom line will benefit.
Creating a culture of constant improvement
Another common denominator that stagnates business growth is documenting the way things are done currently, without considering how they could be improved.
This can be as simple as asking, “could it be done differently?” Ask yourself: “Could it be automated?” “Is outsourcing (domestically or offshore) an option?” “Could it be delegated to someone else? or “Could technology replace a manual task?”
From enticing prospects to nurturing ongoing relationships, there are a multitude of tools, apps and resources available today to improve the way you deliver advice and service or enhance your client experience. It is a worthy investment to explore what options would work for you at each step across your engagement process.
Re-programming your people
People are creatures of habit so most change, no matter how small, is often seen as uncomfortable. If you are reconstructing your processes it is critical to ensure everyone (including your clients) understands why the change is necessary, the underlying benefits of the change as well as “what’s in it for me?” from all perspectives (team, business and client).
Provide the appropriate tools, training and guidance so your team genuinely buy-in and adapt their behaviour (and attitude) to the ‘new way’ of doing business.
Seeking regular feedback (formal and informal) from your team and your clients, and making adjustments along the way is essential to the success of any process re-engineering.
Enhancing your processes and business efficiency can be a smart investment in your future growth, but only if it is done properly. Like the saying by Vince Lombardi, “Practice does not make perfect. Only perfect practice makes perfect.”
My top three tips for re-engineering business processes:
- Consider processes and their effectiveness from a client’s perspective
- Your clients are unique so client processes should be too
- Involve your team and get their feedback
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