One thing that’s crucial in scaling your business is consistent delivery of service. It’ll promote stronger customer relations and loyalty. But to make all that happen, you first need SOPs.
Standard Operating Procedures or SOPs are systems that tell you how to run your business. Think of it as a step-by-step instruction that you and your team will carry out to deliver your service in a consistent way.
Now, some business owners think that having systems is hard. But upon close examination, you’ll see that those who complain about systems either don’t have them or they’re doing it all wrong.
The truth is, SOPs are good for your business – as long as you implement them correctly.
And in this article, you’ll know what SOPs really are and the important role they can play in growing your business. Not to mention some tips on creating them.
The Importance of Having SOPs
To illustrate the importance of SOPs, let me share a story.
I remember ordering a salmon salad at a restaurant. Now, I’m on a gluten-free diet so I asked the server not to add croutons to my salad. But when my order arrived, it was sprinkled with croutons!
So, I kindly reminded the server of my request, and they rushed to make another one. The restaurant gave my new order for free because of the inconvenience it caused. They also gave me a coupon to entice me to come back.
I was so impressed by the service that I decided I would go back.
Unfortunately, the same incident happened at a different time. But then I thought, “Awesome, I’ll get another free meal with a coupon!”
Not this time, however. You see, the server just apologized and delivered the right order to me 20 minutes later.
I’ll be honest. I was disappointed.
If you think about it, how the restaurant handled the incident the second time it happened wasn’t so bad. But it left a bad taste in my mouth (pun intended!) because I had such an incredible experience the first time.
My disappointment and bad experience could have been avoided if the restaurant had SOPs. After all, I’ll know what to expect in such instances.
But that’s not the only reason why you need to have SOPs in your business. Here are three key reasons:
Reason #1: It leads to referrals
According to Lunchbox.io, 94% of restaurant diners in the U.S. base their dining choices on online reviews. I’m sure this applies to other industries and businesses as well.
So, if you want to increase the referrals in your business, make sure your existing customers have a good time doing business with you. Their word-of-mouth or good reviews can help you get more new customers.
The key to making that happen is by ensuring you have SOPs that’ll allow you to deliver high-quality service every time.
Reason #2: It creates an emotional connection with customers
When you deliver impeccable service to your customers, it’s easy to establish an emotional connection with them.
After all, the consistency in the way you provide your service will make them trust you. And they’ll also appreciate the fact that you care enough to deliver high-quality service to them all the time.
Reason #3: It gives you freedom
I was a solo entrepreneur more than 20 years ago. While I had systems, they were all in my head.
But that backfired on me when I started hiring people
You see, I was a control freak who had a hard time trusting and delegating tasks. But when I documented the systems in my head, it increased my trust in my team that they’ll do things the way I wanted them to.
That’s what they did. And I was able to come and go in the business, to the point that it continued to run even without me.
The SOPs gave me my freedom.
3 Tips for Creating SOPs for Your Business
When you’re creating SOPs in your business, I don’t want you to overthink it. Remember that SOPs are just systems that document how you do business.
Admittedly, the work needed to create your SOPs can be tedious at first. That’s because you have to go through every process that makes your business run just so you can document them.
So, here are 3 tips that can help you make this task easier to do.
Tip #1: Set up systems for client delivery and fulfillment first
There’s no need to create a system for everything at once. But if you have to start somewhere, focus on the systems needed in client delivery and fulfillment.
Now, some business owners will think about setting up marketing systems first so they can get more new customers.
But I think it’s more important that you deal with your existing customers first. You have to make sure they’re getting the best customer experience before you focus on getting new ones.
A great way to do that is by asking, “What experience do I want the customer to have after buying our product/service?” Then, identify the journey you want them to pursue.
Tip #2: Create a referral system
It’s easier to get current customers to refer your business than for you to get new ones yourself. Not only that but doing the latter is also more costly.
Since you already have a system to impress your current customers (this is your client delivery and fulfillment systems), you can encourage them to refer you to others.
Setting up a referral system can make this happen. Give your customers a reason to stay loyal to you and rave about your business.
Tip #3: Set operations systems, but don’t overdo it
I usually advise business owners to put their operations systems last on the list. But if you feel like there’s a part of your operations that need improvement, by all means, work on that first.
But if there are no issues, put this last.
You should also keep yourself from overdoing it. After all, as your business grows, your business operations will change over time. You’ll have to break or tweak it eventually. So, let your operations systems be flexible.
Consistency is the Key to Business Success
SOPs provide incredible benefits that you shouldn’t ignore. And the truth is, it takes time to set up these SOPs.
This is why it’s important for you to work on it now.
Don’t let a bad customer experience happen first before you act on it. There might be a lot of opportunities missed if you delay establishing SOPs in your business.
If you think you need help in setting this up, book a free strategy session with one of our scale specialists so we can help.
Schedule a call here: www.stacytuschl.com/call.