Effective Ways of Mapping Out Highly Complex Business Processes

reduce churn rate business
How to Use Customer Experience to Reduce Churn Rate
17 August 2019
mapping out business processes

No matter what size business you have, do your customers know how you feel about them? Do they feel important? Let’s take a look at how your business processes can help you share the love with your customers.

Every business has customers, and what makes or breaks a business is how those customers feel about dealing with the company. 

It is important that your customers feel that you care about them, and feel that you want to give them the best experience possible. For some businesses, the customer experience is simple.

They walk into a store, make a purchase, and walk out, then because the item was smaller and consumable, they are unlikely to need to contact the store again about that purchase.

For other items, though, there are far more complex needs, and multiple touchpoints, including:

  • The website
  • The brand’s app
  • Stores/Outlets
  • Contact centres
  • Email
  • Sales agents
  • Repair/service technicians

For the needs of the consumer, it is important that the workflow that the business goes through is clearly documented and that everyone involved with the business understands it. 

If your employees do not understand how things work, then the business can become chaotic.

Let’s take a simple example of a coffee shop. If the shop has several staff members, all of whom are trying to do their own thing, serving customers at the tills, making coffees and serving food, then that might work fairly well when the flow of customers is slow. 

As the shop gets busier around peak hours, though, this kind of system can become incredibly chaotic. 

It could well be more efficient to have one staff member on a till passing orders back to others who make the coffee and prepare the food. You have probably noticed that the bigger coffee shops do exactly that.

Some smaller stores, however, do not have a clear process and at peak times staff members get in each other’s way, and it can take a very long time to get your drinks brought to your table!

business processes for coffee shop

How Business Process Mapping Can Help

Business process mapping is a technique which helps people visualise the process that should be followed. It lets each stakeholder in the business see not just their role but how their role interacts with others in the business.

Business process mapping shows:

  • The tasks in the process
  • Who is responsible for each task
  • When each task occurs
  • Important deadlines and SLAs

Mapping Versus Modeling

Business process modelling is a more sophisticated form of mapping that allows people to map out long sequences, complex processes and even processes that interact with each other.

Business process modelling relies on Business Process Modeling Notation to make sequence flows that are clear and easy to read.

The notation uses flow objects (to denote events, activities and control points), connecting objects for messages and task transfers, and ‘swim lanes’ which show which person or department is responsible for a specific job. 

In some very complex maps, there are also artefacts which can be used to add extra information to the map.

Understanding Your Business Challenges

One challenge that a lot of people face is that while business process modelling is useful if you are not approaching it with the right mindset you run the risk of ending up with little more than a pretty picture. 

To truly make the most out of business process mapping and modelling you need to make sure that you think about exactly what challenges your business faces.

There are a number of different approaches to process management, such as Total Quality Management, Lean Management, Workflow Management, etc. Not every strategy or approach is worthwhile for every business. 

Supply chain management is going to have a huge impact on the customer experience of a mail-order company, and of a restaurant, since if the goods are not there at the right time they cannot be delivered to the customer, or the food won’t be there for the customer to enjoy.

The same is not true for a consulting service. Consultants need to prioritise workflow and consistency to ensure that they do the job that the customer asked for on time and to the best level. 

There are fewer ‘supply chain’ things that can go wrong, but the human element still matters.

These Are Living Documents

Whatever strategy you choose to manage your business it is important to understand that the maps you use are living documents. 

At High Velocity Business Improvement Training, we always emphasise that your processes are living documents. 

There are many things that can affect them. Your company may grow or shrink, and with it, the demands that it faces will evolve. 

You might get new tools that will speed up certain aspects of delivery, but that have their own demands for maintenance or supply. 

You might find that the staff members you are working with change, or that the conditions in the market change and that your customers are taking a lot of interest in one specific product.

These are all things that you need to think about. You should be constantly re-evaluating your business plan and the processes that you follow. 

You should document everything, and talk to your employees at every level to find out what is really happening in the contact centre and on the shop floor.

Try not to fall into the trap of mapping out ‘the ideal scenario’ if that scenario rarely works out like that. 

Look at what is really happening, and then look at practical ways of improving that so your business works smoothly and efficiently without chaos or confusion about whose job it is to do what part of the business.

The right strategy will:

  • Provide people with operational norms to fall back on when it is busy
  • Eliminate redundancies and potentially save a lot of money
  • Make it easier to train new employees
  • Maintain quality at every step of the customer experience
  • Make it easier to scale the business

Mapping out complex processes requires buy-in from all of the stakeholders, and it may be met with some resistance if you are a smaller, informal business. 

Once people see the benefits, however, they will embrace the stability that a good map provides.

Is your business lacking a continuous improvement framework and constantly adding extra costs into your business without showing any real customer benefit?

Then you need to speak to us at High Velocity Business Improvement CoachingWe coach your business to understand your problems, the size of the problems and how to solve the true root cause of the problems.

This means you can fix minor issues before they become major problems and deliver a better overall customer experience for your customers.

Please contact us today to book a free consultation or for more information.

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