Operations are all the actions that take place regularly to facilitate maintenance and progress in your business or organization. Operations are the human engagements of system design and processes. Customers are on the receiving end of operations. When these operations are carried out efficiently we say things are going well; but toward what end? Operations may go smoothly yet be ineffective, or they may not be the best investment of time or money. Think of it this way: operations must flow from a planning process that flows from accurate, wise and strategic thinking about where the business or organization has been, is now, and desires to be in the future. Concerning operations, leadership expert Mike Myatt says, “…the best leaders always start with why followed very closely by who. Then, and only then, do they work on the design of what and how.”
Why Update Operations?
Should businesses and organizations update operations regularly? The old cliché, “That’s the way we’ve always done it” comes to mind often when discussing operations. But don’t roll your eyes just yet; people may say this simply because it is a statement of fact, and not a hard line against change. Maybe they’ve not ever been encouraged to think about changing the way things are done in order to accommodate a fluctuating economy or business environment. So give them the benefit of the doubt and begin to introduce the real value and advantage of designing operations that work well. Eamonn Kelly, Chief Marketing Officer, Strategy & Operations Deloitte Consulting LLP, shares his insights into 9 global trends that affect how businesses and organizations must consider operations in the coming years: “The next wave of globalization will bring fresh challenges on many levels for businesses and the people who manage them.” Our world is more connected than ever before, with global issues influencing businesses of every size.
Do Good Operations Make a Difference to Customers?
When operations work, businesses and organizations produce the results that satisfy customers. Remarkable customer experience means more repeat business and positive word of mouth referrals. In short, consistently growing revenue. The cost of dissatisfied customers? According to recent research, $537,030,000,000 is lost in revenue to US business due to poor customer experience. Fifty-one percent of customers switched businesses due to dissatisfaction and 81% said the company could have prevented it.
How Not to Waste Time and Money on Operations
In order to improve operations there are some quick wins that you can achieve:
- Ask your employees what systems and processes help them serve customers the best. Find ways to leverage this success within you company. Think about other areas of your business that might benefit from a similar approach and implement your successful processes and systems there.
- Listen carefully for operations that draw the complaints of your customers and employees: fix, replace, or eliminate these operations.
In the long-term, identify specifically how each operational process or system helps your employees deliver a better experience to your customers or makes your company a better place to work for your employees. When operations do not clearly deliver customer or employee satisfaction: fix, replace or eliminate these operations. When seeking consistent revenue through remarkable customer experience delivered by enthusiastic employees, creating operations that work is worth the time and effort.
About the Author
Dr. Renée N. Hale is Lead Consultant at WellSpirit Consulting Group, Inc. WellSpirit Management Consulting provides custom company/organizational management solutions, individual leadership coaching and stand alone workshops. Located on the 84th floor of the Willis Tower, Chicago. Call (312) 283-8020 to schedule an appointment today. To join the Business Worth Living community, use the sign-up form on this page to receive our weekly Business Worth Living newsletter.