If you want to deliver products and services like a master, here are some notable points:
Consistency is critical to success because profit – the purpose of being in business - comes from repeat customers.
People and processes are the two sides to achieving delivery mastery.
Fine details matter because sorting out the small things allows the more significant things to take care of themselves.
There are four areas to master to build a successful business – one that is commercial, profitable and can work without the owner being there every day. Time, direction, and money are the first three, but no business will achieve its true potential without consistent delivery excellence.
Delivery mastery – meeting and exceeding customer expectations every time with the same high quality of product or service regardless of outside factors – sets apart great businesses from merely good ones. In a world disrupted by supply issues, staff shortages and rising inflation, mastering delivery is a business survival essential.
The first key to mastering delivery is to be consistent because referrals rely on it. Imagine going into your local hairdresser and coming out the first time with a great cut, having had a coffee while in the salon and loving the great experience. Then, the second time, no coffee and a rushed cut with a jagged fringe. There’d be no third time, and you’d likely tell your friends about it. Much better to under-promise and over-deliver than to be inconsistent and unpredictable.
Learn to love feedback
If you are the salon owner, embrace feedback! We all love compliments, less so complaints, but that’s shortsighted because complaints are a great source of things to fix. As the business owner, one of your essential tasks is finding and eliminating bottlenecks in your operations (anything that throttles your business and leads to poorer customer experiences). Having a customer complain gives you immediate insights into a bottleneck that needs fixing. Most times, customers who complain are trying to help you, rather than having a whinge, so next time you get feedback, grab it with both hands and quickly sort out the root cause.
Flowchart your operations
Of course, it’s even better to sort out bottlenecks before they cause complaints and slow down your business. To do that, get right down into the “brass tacks” and flowchart your operations. Create a visual map of every part of your business, starting at the highest level and working your way down. That means starting with the end in mind, with the customer as your reference point, not your business. Once you’ve created a detailed flowchart, measure each step of the process – how long does it take to respond to a quote, get out to the site, or get supplies to get the job started? Going back to the salon example, how long does each type of service take? If you’re running a business that sends invoices once the job is done, how long after completion do you invoice and how long does it take to get paid? Where in your process do you ask customers for feedback?
Use checklists to standardise
Here is where things get interesting. Having done the flowchart, it’s time to make checklists of all the tasks, starting with the most routine. Some people are inclined to say: “I don’t need checklists. I know this stuff, and it’s just routine.” No matter how good you are, you will forget things from time to time. To build a business that works without you, systems and processes must be consistent and deliver excellent service even when you’re away with friends and family. That isn’t possible when your “system” is only in your head!
So, get out a pen and paper and write down the checklists. Have the person responsible for that part of the operation review it because responsibility and authority are best delegated to the point of delivery. Once you’ve done the flowchart and the checklists, ask yourself: “How can we improve by 10 percent in each step of the process?” Set yourself and your team goals to improve each of the steps. Make a game of it, with prizes for the winner of the best performance improvement suggestion.
Invest in training
Good systems and processes are only one half of delivery mastery. Good systems are run by well-trained, skilled and customer-focused people. People are your greatest asset, but only if you invest in them and empower them to fulfil their potential. It starts with finding, attracting and hiring the best people you can, but it doesn’t stop there. People only perform to the level they’ve been trained, so if you want success, invest in training, coaching and mentoring to get the best performance.
One of the best questions you can ask yourself is whether each of your team knows where they fit into the bigger picture and how they affect the overall customer experience. That means right from the back of house to the person speaking to customers directly. A restaurant’s waiter can’t deliver excellent customer satisfaction without the cleaning staff, prep staff, or the person who ordered the ingredients, even though the customer might never get to interact with those people.
Do a simple 10-point exercise. Starting with yourself, get each person to write down the 10 things they believe make up their job. At the same time, you write down what you think their jobs are. Start with your team leaders (then get them to do the same with their direct reports) and compare what each of you believes their jobs are. If the two 10-pointers don’t match up (and they won’t), it’s hard for your team to work to your expectations.
Remember, if you grow your people, they will grow your business. By speaking to them, you will learn things about your business you never knew or took for granted. You will get the chance to give them the best opportunity to exceed customer expectations. Consistent, high-quality delivery is good delivery.
If you want to have a business that works so you can live life to the fullest, if you want greater clarity and certainty to understand the future and are ready to take action, give Chris a call (0222 332 669) or email: firstname.lastname@example.org
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