The value of re-engineering your practice
The value of re-engineering your practice
If you were starting your business again tomorrow, what would you do differently?
This is a question we asked ourselves recently. We effectively started the process of re-engineering our business to prepare ourselves for future business challenges.
We didn't sit down and review our current processes or templates, instead we made the conscious decision to look at everything as if starting from scratch. If we made reference to our current process, we stopped then resumed by asking the original question - we wanted to avoid distraction and concentrate on moving forward.
Let's map it
In this stage we started developing our ideas on what we thought was the 'best-practice' method of engaging and introducing a client to our business. It included how many touch points we believed were ideal, the method and timing of delivery, if any aspects could be automated and ultimately was there some benefit or value to the client by doing it. We also assumed that most of our new clients would have a mobile phone, a tablet/computer and an e-mail address. We wanted to design for the majority and have redundancy for the minority.
Let's question it
Innovation stems simply from one's mindset and the realisation that something is amiss. As a result, we questioned every single part of our business in regards to its relevancy to the present and to the future. This was initiated to develop the best client experience that we could. It allowed us to simplify, remove or combine aspects of our business for optimal efficiency and value.
Let's build it
To build something, you need the right skills and the right tools to allow you do so, and having access to the best tools makes the job even easier.
Regardless of which software you are using, make sure you are aware of its full capabilities. Many people don't take the time to discover what their software is truly capable of doing and risk choosing a less efficient or less effective product or add-on.
In terms of the right skills, we were fortunate enough that we had team members who had experience with building threads and another with some coding skills. If you don't have access to similar resources, don't be afraid to source them from outside of your business.
When re-building our practice, we felt it was important to include video and linked website content into our electronic communications for a few reasons.
We wanted to make sure our clients started to develop a relationship with our team from the very first point of contact and every major step. The first time the prospective client arrives for their first meeting, they would instantly recognise the face and voice of our client service representative.
The linked website content helps our clients with any questions they may have initially. If you get asked a question more than once then you should have an answer on your website or somewhere easily accessed. The other benefit of using linked website content is using it in your PDF documents and marketing material. It is a simple and classy touch as a client can click on an image or hyperlink and be directed to the specific content on your website.
Once we had built the basic process and the content it was time to test it. Think about every scenario that could apply to your business. For example, we see most of our clients at our office; however, on occasion we meet at an alternate place, and we needed to make sure our automated appointment confirmation e-mail catered for this variable.
If you don't feel comfortable that your process meets most scenarios that could apply to your business, and there is no way to resolve it, don't be afraid to simplify or remove it. It is better to know and control the limitations than risk the process failing.
Make it happen
After completing your testing, it is now a case of introducing the processes into your business. There are multiple ways to do so, from being selective and testing it with a certain segment of your client base to introducing it on a larger scale if you are really confident.
It is not uncommon to have teething issues or refinements being required. One of the best ways to find these is by frequently asking your team for feedback and suggestions on improving your processes and the client experience. We do this on a fortnightly basis at our team meetings.
The term "If it isn't broken, don't fix it" is one that is very common. But do you want to stay comfortable and be a forced follower? Or become an innovator and start building a more prosperous future?
Andrew Brooks is the practice manager of Integra Financial Services.
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