Service businesses are “people” businesses – they depend on their staff to deliver the service – whether it is a meal, a haircut, accounting services or a car service.
The challenge of a service business is consistency of service delivery.
If you go to the same restaurant or hairdresser, you won’t receive the same service every time – if the restaurant is very busy, short-staffed, with problems in the kitchen and the manager away on holiday, you’ll get a less than wonderful experience. Accounting firms depend on the training they give their staff to ensure that similar transactions are handled the same way in the clients’ books, every time – but accountants spend a significant part of their time on each job checking and re-checking the quality of work done.
The secret in providing consistently good service is to develop a system, write it down, train your staff and monitor delivery. Sounds easy? It’s anything but!
First, there’s the problem of developing a system – actually taking apart the service itself so you can see the elements that make it up. The more experienced you are at providing the service, the harder it is to explain what you do – try this experiment: explain what you do when you are changing gear (up or down, it doesn’t matter) in a car.
When we become good at performing a service, we take it for granted, and no longer see the steps involved. But, if you can break down your service into its elements, and document them, then you can begin to train your staff in how to provide the service – and how to provide it better.
Training should be an integral part of a service business – you can never be “too good” and, once trained, staff need to be monitored to ensure that the system delivers what the customers want, in the way they want, when they want.
Systematising service delivery is an essential step if you have ambitions to employ people or sell your business. If you can’t show someone else how to run your business, you’ll find it difficult to delegate work or sell it on and walk away. But it’s also important for keeping customers. Reducing the variability of service delivery is a keyway to get customers coming back again and again. That favourite restaurant of yours is your favourite in large part because of its consistency, and it rarely disappoints.
To systematise your business, you need to go through this process:
Step 1 Work out which specific roles you perform in each area
Step 2 Work out what percentage of your time you spend in each
Step 3 Put a system in place
Step 4 Employ people or outsource
Step 5 Put reporting systems/KPIs in place to manage/monitor each task
You’ll probably need some help to do the job – and we are well equipped to provide the expertise to you, gained from the more than 300 business owners we’ve worked with to date. Call us today for a complimentary review of your business and to explore how systematisation can not only reduce the hours you currently work in your business but also increase your profits with the customer satisfaction and efficiency gains that flow from having solid, consistent systems in place.
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