I’ve coached many smart business people, and this is one thing that they all have in common: They get out of the way.

That doesn’t mean they go on vacation and leave all the work for their employees to figure out. Quite the contrary — these business owners have created processes that will run their businesses, whether they are present or not.


Your call center

Let’s look at how your call center is running. But before I go on: Your “call center” is the most important operational function in your business.

Does your call center answer the phone the exact same way every time? The call center is the first impression a customer has of your company. You certainly don’t want a customer to get a different experience each time they call.

For example:  

Jim answers the phone with, “Thanks for calling, can you hold please?”

Bill answers the phone with, “How can I help you?”

Mary answers the phone with, “Hello, this is the greatest service company in the world! How can I help you?”

You see with just those three examples the experience variance for a customer is different and unpredictable. It’s not that Jim, Bill or Mary are good or bad at their job. It’s that the owner has not set up a process for their customer service representative (CSR) to follow. Implementing a process that can be replicated will give your CSRs the tools they need to give your customers a predictable but world class experience.

You should want every customer to receive the exact experience each and every time they call in. McDonald’s is a great example of setting up operational processes for a business. You can go to into any McDonald’s in the world and the French fries taste the same. That’s what you’re looking for in your business processes. Your customer is looking for the consistency (your processes) they can rely on every time.

Ask yourself, do all of your customers receive the same experience on every call? If they do, congratulations! You have set up a simple process that anybody can duplicate. When I mean anybody can duplicate it, I mean that any employee you hire can succeed at their job. Every process should be set up so that the least skilled person in that position can excel.


Your technicians

Another process would be for your service technicians. What is your service technicians’ process? To be more specific, how does your service technician interact with your customer? Do all customers receive the same service experience, whether Joe went out and serviced Mr. and Mrs. Jones or if Bob went out and serviced Mr. and Mrs. Jones? Said differently, will Mr. and Mrs. Jones receive the exact same experience?

Creating the process to deliver the same experience for all your customers gives you predictability for revenue, customer satisfaction and customer retention. Also, the predictability can now be measured for any variance. These variances will allow you to pinpoint exactly where the service system process broke down. Your business is built with processes that you create for all areas of your business. A great book to read up on this would be “The E Myth,” by Michael Gerber.


Your process as owner

Now let’s focus on one of the owner’s processes: Budgeting. 

The budget is the owner’s responsibility, but that doesn’t mean the owner is the only one who should be part of this process. Your budget should be an accumulation of all your managers’ beliefs and thoughts so that they are in line with the owner’s vision.

One of the processes for the owner every year is to create the budget for next year. Great companies involve in their frontline managers in this process. By allowing the frontline managers to give their input in this process, you end up with a budget that they buy into.

Here’s how it works: Managers give you their solutions for how their departments will improve. By giving your managers the platform to create their own path, they will easily buy into solutions for how they will improve. Telling your managers what their budget is going to be is not a best practice because you don’t get their buy-in; instead, you get their silence, and you create fear.

In the budgeting process, it is important that the leader of the process — you — listens to manager plans for 2018 and question their answers. This is important: Make sure that you question their answers rather than dictate solutions for them. When the owner questions and the manager answers, it only means that the managers have not yet connected all the dots.

The owner understands that by asking the right question, they are helping the manager to see the piece they missed. Keep asking follow-up questions until you can steer your manager into your thought process. If at any time the manager and you are not on the same page, stop and ask another question to help them see the solution you are trying to communicate. This is an art. You will need to practice yourself.

Telling your managers the solution is not the best solution for your company, nor is it the best solution for your managers. There should also be healthy dialogue between managers and owners in the daily routine of business. The owner’s job is to verify that the processes that have been implemented are being carried out the way that the owner intended.