Every organization has a culture, but not all of them are good cultures, and even fewer are great cultures.
Good cultures are customer centric; meaning, they put the customers above themselves. Great cultures do that with both the external customer (those that purchase the products and services) and the internal customer (those working within the organization).
When I ask leaders how they build and maintain their culture, the response I hear most often is, “We hire great people!” Don’t get me wrong, hiring great people is important, but it takes more than that to develop and sustain a great culture. This is where the right process can help.
Processes streamline the activity of an organization. If a manufacturer just hired great people to work on the assembly line and had no process that everyone followed, it would be a disaster! People would have their own ideas of how to get things done, and even if they figured out how to get the work done it wouldn’t be as productive as it could be.
That is exactly what we are doing when we create a culture by only hiring great people. Sure great people are essential to create a customer centric culture, but without a process to follow it will never be as great as it could be.
Here are four advantages the right process can bring to your culture:
Create A Consistent Customer “Touch”
The best organizations create an amazing customer experience by enabling the customer to have a similar experience no matter who they are talking to.
The right customer centric process will keep your people focused on the needs of your customer and solving the problems the customer wants solved. Without a concrete process your people are going to be giving inconsistent “touches” when customer’s engage them. The more often the engagement, the more inconsistent those “touches” become.
Knowing I will receive the same level of customer service every time keeps me going back to the same companies to do business.
When a culture is solely based on hiring good people, I will find a favorite associate to interact with. If I have too many bad experiences as I search for a favorite associate, I will quickly do business elsewhere.
Makes It Easy To Coach
It is extremely difficult to coach to every single employee’s personality as it relates to their job. A process enables the supervisor to see where the employee is doing well, and where they need improvement.
With a process the supervisor can more easily discover where the employee believes they excel and where they want to improve, and they are able to pinpoint these areas more quickly.
A process also makes it easier for the employee to assess themselves. Instead of them saying “I am not a good sales person,” they can point to a part of the process and say, “I need help on this area.”
A great process will never replace or mask an employee’s personality. In fact, it should enhance it. I often tell potential clients that our values based processes “help their people do what they do best more often, more consistently and more effectively.”
A great customer centric process capitalizes on a person’s strengths, enabling the person to use them more often. They can insert those areas of strength into the right process.
A great process will also enable someone to get back on track when they have veered off. Everyone has bad days, even the “great people” you hired! A great customer centric process will enable a person to recognize they are off track and self correct.
The right customer centric process can stand the test of time. Where great people will come and go, causing your culture to ebb and flow like the waves of the sea, a process will keep the waters calm through the chaos of change.
The greatest leaders rely on a process that will outlive them. The right process is what truly creates a legacy. It is dangerous to create a culture based on an individual, because once they are gone the culture they created slowly dies out.
If you have a values based, concrete process you can point at, hire to and coach to, you can also promote to it! In other words, don’t promote someone who isn’t bought into the process that had been sustaining your culture.
Processes should enhance the operations of any organization; creating and sustaining a great customer centric culture requires a process too.
If there is no process in place, your culture is at risk. If all of your people can’t easily describe the process, you don’t have one!