Key Processes Should Create Value and Satisfy Customers


Key processes are most likely the things your business does every day.

  • How does your business get new customers?
  • How does your business manage inquiries from interested prospects?
  • How is your product or service built?
  • How is your product or service delivered?
  • How do you follow up after delivery?
  • How do you measure satisfaction?

This could go on. Depending on your business, these questions may matter more or less.

Key processes are the most important activities that produce a desired outcome.

The answer to each of these 'how' questions should include a fairly detailed description of the steps that are taken. Outstanding businesses describe their work processes with the expectation of standardization and replication. Ideally, these steps are intentional and linked to a measurement within your business process management system.

Let's look at one of the questions above. The question, "How does your business manage inquiries from interested prospects?", wants you to describe what happens when someone calls your business looking for information. There is a range of ways this can be done. Typical responses might look like this:
  1. The person who answers the phone responds to the caller's questions on the phone and hangs up.
  2. The person who answers the phone writes down the questions as they are asked. If the answer is known, it is provided. If it is not, the most appropriate person within the company is indentified. The caller is given that person's name and an expectation of when they should hear from that individual with the answer.
  3. A trained customer service representative answers the phone and assess the nature of the call. If it is a business inquiry, they solicit the caller's name and contact information. They call them by name during the call. Questions are answered in the way described in #2 above. The caller's name is then entered into a database and a reminder is placed on a calendar for follow-up at a later, standardized date. The number of inquiries are tracked. If a purchase was made the inquiry is highlighted. This information is used to modify the process and adjust the time between call and follow-up if a pattern develops.

The key process is defined- field inquiries from potential customers. The options of how to do it vary. Which business do you think is more successful at converting inquiries to customers?

Your business is doing this type of thing every day. If key processes are identified and standardized they can be improved. If they aren't, they are likely chaos. Chaos is a strong word, but it describes the absence of order.

Work processes are the building blocks of your business. Your product or service is important. But value can be created or destroyed long before the delivery is made. In the example above, you may never have been given the chance to provide it...and if it's not provided, payment is not collected.

Your business thrives or dies...on the back of how well you design and improve work processes.


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