May 9, 2016

The Power of Procedures

What happens in your business if more than one staff member does not show up for work? What would happen if you or a key member of staff couldn’t work for a day or even a week? Would your business be in trouble? Could others on the staff cover for them? Do you even know what each person does all day? Even more importantly, do you know how they do it or what passwords they use?
It’s not the sort of nightmare that happens regularly but it underlines the need to have processes and procedures in place so your business can keep running. Not just job descriptions but an actual step-by-step procedure or checklist for even the most mundane but vitally important tasks.
If you have these processes and procedures documented, you can co-opt different staff member or even a temp to undertake the tasks that are required to have your business actually service your customers and, in the worst possible scenario, survive!
Here are two quick tips to get you started on documenting your business operations:

Key People in Customer Service
Look at how your business operates and identify the key roles that you need to have functioning for your business to service its customers. Get each of these employees thinking ‘the business couldn’t run if we didn’t do…’ and get them to write it down. Give them 20-30 minutes each day for a week to write down the step-by-step process of how they do it and the procedures surrounding it. When writing the standard operating procedure (SOP), it’s important to assume the person who will be reading the document knows nothing about your business.

Key People in the Back Office
It might be processing payroll, doing the banking, calling customers on a schedule or producing invoices. No matter how well your customer service team operates, if the back office isn’t functioning properly things won’t stay positive for long. Would your employees still be cheerful if their pay was wrong or didn’t get processed because someone was off sick? How long could your cash flow cope if customers weren’t being invoiced and money being banked? It is just as important to get your back office procedures in line. Have these staff members thinking the same and ask them to take time out each day for a week to write down their key tasks and how they are done.
Taking time to write and update your processes and procedures gives your business a powerful tool for success. It ensure customers get a consistent quality of service, provides clear direction to staff on a daily basis, makes staff accountable for their actions when deviating from procedure and gives peace-of-mind that your business can operate in any circumstance.

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