Have You Reviewed Your Business Processes Lately?
When a customer calls your business with a question about your product or service, or a problem that needs to be resolved, what happens? Who fields that call? How is the call routed based on the customer’s question? What information should be collected? How is that information recorded and reported? Or does the person who answers the phone just do what they feel is best?
Without an overriding process to ensure all calls are handled consistently, you risk damaging or even ending the customer relationship. Of course, customer service is just one of many business processes. There are processes for accounting, manufacturing, onboarding new clients and employees, paying bills and many other areas of the business.
Most businesses set up a process and never look at it again. Eventually, gaps in the process are discovered because something isn’t working properly. Employees look for shortcuts or figure out workarounds.
You could end up with a shadow IT situation in which employees download free applications and services without IT’s knowledge or approval. This might help employees do their jobs better, but it creates serious security and compliance risks.
Why Yearly Process Reviews Are a Must
Every business, regardless of size, needs to take stock of what’s happening in their business. The business needs to examine its processes and make sure everything is working the way it was originally designed to work.
Businesses change. Customer needs change. Employees change. Technology changes. Rules and regulations change. By periodically reviewing your processes and updating them as necessary, you can reduce risk and ensure that each process produces a consistent, reliable result. You can also maximize efficiency and productivity.
For example, if you’ve been doing things the same way for 20 years, you probably aren’t taking full advantage of technology. That means employees are likely wasting time on manual, error-prone tasks that could be automated instead of focusing on higher value, strategic tasks.
At the same time, if you’re using old technology and you handle the personally identifiable information of your clients, you could be at risk of a compliance violation if those tools don’t meet minimum regulatory requirements.
The Intersection of Business and Process
It’s easy to get caught up in getting more people in the door, generating more website traffic, producing more products, and increasing sales. These things are all very important, but they’re also the result of many different activities that take place across your organization. If you don’t have a process in place to govern those activities, you’re not maximizing what your business can do.
Here at LFL Veritas, process review is something we take very seriously. We review our processes at least once a year. A sweeping tax overhaul was just passed by Congress, so we need to redesign our processes to implement these new changes for our clients. Accounting software is constantly changing, so we’re always looking for ways to operate more efficiently and with less risk. Regulations concerning the management and protection of sensitive data are always changing, so we must make sure our processes and technology are compliant.
Ultimately, a business is nothing more than an interconnected set of processes that happen to create the desired result. If you’re not following and evaluating these processes, you’re not effectively managing or controlling your business. That’s why yearly business process reviews, at a minimum, should be a considered a standard best practice for any company.
At LFL Veritas, we help our clients evaluate various business processes, identify possible issues, recommend improvements, and implement changes. At the very least, we can make you aware of gaps in your processes, so you can engage with a third party if necessary to come up with the appropriate solution. If you haven’t reviewed your processes lately and aren’t sure where to start, please contact us for help.