Conducting a Process Audit on your Business
As an entrepreneur, you built your business from the ground up. And because of that, you have the unique opportunity of knowing every inch of your processes, and every facet of HOW you deliver on your promises to your clients.
But as you created your processes, your system, your secret sauce – did you think about how well they actually serve your clients?
Your processes are about more than what works best for you.
As busy business owners. it can be easy to put our blinders on and focus only on what makes our job easier. But as you’re refining your processes in an effort to save you time, it’s important to not lose sight of your clients and how each piece of your process impacts them.
Not sure if you’re user friendly? Take it for a test drive.
The best way to understand exactly what your clients are experiencing is to run through the front end of your business as if you were looking to partner with yourself. What are they seeing and doing at each step? Notice any annoyances or inconveniences, steps that are unclear or confusing, or pieces that feel like they take too long.
Better yet, run through your process with your best friend and your mom and pay attention to where they get stuck, and the questions they ask you throughout the process.
Ask yourself (and your tester client) these questions:
Re: the inquiry phase…
Are you giving your clients all the info they need to make a decision, when they need it?
What questions are you routinely asked that you could more proactively address?
How are you guiding your client to the best decision for them, (as opposed to being solely focused on booking them)?
Re: the booking phase…
Are you making this easy for your clients?
Are your fees (and what’s included in those fees) clearly communicated?
Are you sending them to one place to complete all of the steps in the booking process?
Is your contract clear, concise, thorough, and legally sound (to protect both you and your clients)?
Re: the onboarding and work in process phase…
Are you clearly communicating the immediate next steps and what to expect now that they’ve booked?
How are you communicating their responsibilities in the process, including any due dates they need to pay close attention to in order to keep the project on schedule?
Have you laid out checkpoints to make them feel served, even when there’s a lull in the process?
Have you been transparent regarding your responsibility and availability to them, including your preferred methods and times of communication?
Re: the offboarding phase…
Are you delivering within the timeframe you promised?
What could you do to overdeliver / surprise and delight?
Do you have a standard process for collecting testimonials or reviews?
How are you ensuring that your client feels your appreciation for their business?
The final gut check…
How does each step affect their experience?
And how easy is it all – not for you, but for your client?
At the end of the day, your client is paying you for a specific, tangible service.
But the reality is that their experience with you goes way beyond the photos, the pretty florals, the beautiful brand, the functional website, etc. that you’re obligated to deliver.
If the touch points between “hello” and “here’s your [insert deliverable here]” aren’t as sharp as the end product, your system is not working for your clients.
Once you have a clear picture of how your process works for your clients, then you can focus on the ease of repetition for you.
Within your repeatable process, give yourself a system of checks and balances to make sure the same steps are happening for every client. Assign due dates and accountability points for yourself and your team (if you have one) so that you'll know at a glance where your clients stand in the process, and if everything is happening on schedule.
The value of a positive client experience will repay you in dividends, and the continuous work you do to improve your processes will contribute to your future success in a big way. Keep tabs on how your systems are functioning. Don’t be afraid to adjust and restructure. And always, always, always think from your client’s perspective.
Not sure if your processes are client friendly? I took a deep dive into how processes relate to the client experience in a recent episode of the She Creates Business podcast. Click here to listen for all the details on why process audits are so vital to your success and how to make adjustments with your clients in mind!