I’m a huge fan of standardization and process development. It’s no secret. Building a reusable system for completing tasks is one of my favorite parts of business operations. Setting a framework for expected project length , defining measurable and expected results and crafting a standard procedure for operations goes a long way in streamlining the work you do.
Everyone Benefits from Standardization
Standardization makes project managers happy because they can track the efficiency of a project. Business owners love it because they can spend less time training new employees. Finally, customers love standardization because they can rely on a consistent level of quality and service.
A Standard Process Makes Life Easier
What does this have to do with client work? Kicking off each project by gathering the same basic level of information from each and every client makes sure you have the tools you need to handle the project.
Consistency lets you expand your work scope and scale because you aren’t going back and forth with a client after the project has begun. Here are a few ways to add value to your client work flow:
Figure Out Your Process
You won’t be able to help anyone else if you aren’t able to help yourself. The first thing you want to do for your business is figure out exactly what works and what doesn’t work when you offer your service. Write down these things when reviewing all of your current client relationships:
- What business expectations should you set right off the bat?
- How often do you need to communicate with your client, on average?
- What preparatory and preliminary information do you need from the client to do your job effectively?
- How long does it typically take to complete this process under normal circumstances?
- Who needs to be involved at various steps in the project?
- Are there any points at which this process must be aborted to save time and money?
Doing Your Clients’ Work For Them
Here’s where the power of process standardization shines. Clients may be resistant when they hear they have to put in extra effort to make the relationship work and for you to do your job effectively. Take that hesitation out of the equation by doing their work for them. Provide a starter packet filled with samples of all the materials they will need to provide you. Include a blank sheet or online form for potential customers to fill in the information you need from them to get started.
Ask things like:
- What are your primary business goals for this fiscal year? For the next 5 years?
- How large is your estimated average audience size when promoting your business?
- Where is your business website located?
- Is your brand on social media? (Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, Google+)
- What sort of branded materials do you currently produce in house?
- What is your total budget for this service?
- Upload your logo and relevant branded imagery
Now, let’s take this information and plug it into a total service packet for content marketing. If we’ve done our work and standardized our processes beforehand, for example, we should be able to easily graft this information into existing templates. With a bit of tweaking and word-crafting, we’ll be able to quickly provide the client with high-quality samples or drafts of marketing materials such as:
- Press Releases for local media
- Informational Emails
- Newsletters for subscribers
The process of streamlining your service offerings is a two-way street. You have to put the time in upfront to map out, optimize and implement your processes before you can add value to both your company and your clients. Once you’ve laid the groundwork, it’s up to your customers to finish the equation by offering the information you need. The most successful companies have both sides of the coin figured out.
Do you have standardized processes for your business? How have they helped you be more efficient?