What is Process Improvement and why should I worry about it?

Process improvement is really simple, it’s making the most of what you have and creating a system that you can follow which benefits both your business and the customer or client. Sounds easy doesn’t it? So many businesses grow organically but give little thought to how efficient they are, or the service being offered to clients or customers. In the end poor processes can cost you business, either by creating a poor impression with customers and losing customers, or by having increased costs in your business.

There are some really simple things you can do which don’t cost much and then there are longer term strategies which take a bit longer and require an investment.
Here’s a really simple example of how a good process would benefit a company and their customers. I bought something from a gardening website recently. They sent me the wrong item and I called their customer service team to tell them. There was a voicemail service active and I left a message asking them to call me. A day later I called again and my call was answered by a human this time. When I said that I had left a message, they told me that they don’t listen to the messages when they are busy! That didn’t fill me with confidence about their business. If you are going to have a voicemail service at least check the messages and respond to them. How could this be improved? There are a number of easy solutions:

  • Turn off the voicemail. If you have no intention of responding to messages then don’t let people leave any!
  • Put more staff onto answering calls in the morning and clearing the voicemails.
  • Change the voicemail message so that it says it may take x hours to respond to a voicemail you may want to email instead.
  • Get an outside call answering service to support the business at busy times.

From a customer’s perspective this was really frustrating and time consuming to keep calling. It’s an easy fix to get answering the phone right.