By Kristen Hayer
Lately I’ve been thinking about processes, probably because we’ve been doing a lot of process design work to help our clients prepare for 2019. Maintaining documentation over time is something that many companies struggle with. This makes sense: When you first design a process, it is a great fit for your team, but as it ages your team and your company change. Unless you’re regularly auditing and updating your team procedures, they will quickly become outdated.
The end of the year is a good time to review your processes and edit them as needed to make sure that they are still a good fit. Here are some tips and ideas on what to look for:
As you review your documentation look for gaps. Maybe there are processes you’ve never written down. Maybe there are new procedures you’d like to introduce. Think about your customer journey and look for places where a new touch point might make sense. If you don’t have anything documented, choose a handful of processes to start with and start writing.
Does your sales team hand off customers to your CSMs? Or, does your CSM team transfer tickets to your support team? These are cross-functional processes you need to work on together with the other group. If you have documented a cross-functional procedure, now is a good time to check in with the other team to see if the process is still working for them.
Sometimes, processes have been around for a long time and added to over the years. After a while, these procedures can feel less effective and more like red tape. Can you streamline? Is there duplicate data entry that can be eliminated? Can the number of systems and tools be reduced? Try to condense over-engineered processes to make them more efficient.
As things change over time, sometimes entire processes need to be scrapped. Ask yourself why you’re following each process. What is the outcome you were hoping to achieve? How does the procedure benefit your customers or your company? Is the process still valuable, or are you just doing it because, “We’ve always done it that way.”?
Keep It Simple
Most people don’t read the fine print. Nobody is going to actually use your documentation unless each process is a page or less. Write your procedures like a recipe, and use bullets and numbers to simplify. If a process is really long, break it up into smaller steps to make it easier to read and follow. It doesn’t do you any good to document your processes if nobody reads what you’ve written.
If you want to turn your processes into a playbook for your team, here’s an article I wrote about designing that type of tool. Taking the time to audit your team’s processes and make any necessary changes means you’ll be ready to review them with your group after the holidays and they will be able to hit the ground running in 2019. Happy planning!
The Success League is a customer success consulting firm that helps leaders build processes that align with best practices and drive team performance. If you’re interested in more information about our consulting engagements, please visit the consulting page on our website - TheSuccessLeague.io
Kristen Hayer - Kristen believes that customer success is the key to driving revenue, client retention and exceptional customer experiences. Her areas of expertise include developing success goals and metrics, designing the optimal customer journey, selecting technology, training teams, and building playbooks. Prior to founding The Success League, Kristen built and led several award-winning customer success teams. Over the past 20 years she has been a success, sales, and marketing executive, primarily working with growth-stage tech companies. Kristen has her BA from Seattle Pacific University and her MBA from the University of Washington.