‘The one right way gives your customers the consistency they love and increases profit, which you’ll love.’
For years, I labelled myself as a ‘process’ person when really I’m a ‘making life easier’ person. I’ve lost count of the number of times I’d use the word ‘process’ at network meetings, and see the shutters go down. I’d try ‘systems’ and they’d think I was a techie, into software and IT. I’d used language that put me in a box that no-one wanted to open ‘except in emergency!’
You know what I mean. You’re a ‘get on and do it’ person, and the people who love process are the ‘Rule-Bound Reggies’ of this world, paralysed by the need to analyse, lacking creativity, shackled by the need to ‘follow the system’ – right? Well, sometimes! The truth is, we all need to get past the language.
The only reason a process or a system exists is to make life easier for you, your managers, your team, your customers. There is no other reason for them. But if like many people ‘a process’ brings you out in a rash then try replacing it with ‘a how to’.
At McDonald’s there is a system, a ‘one right way’ a ‘how to’ for everything, from toasting buns to taking on a new supplier; from mopping the floor to assessing franchisee performance. Yet I don’t remember ever really talking about having systems. They weren’t something we did in addition to the day job; we worked with them every single day, unconsciously. It was just the way things got done.
So I want you to stop thinking about process; I want you to stop fretting about developing systems; and I want you to focus on making ‘the way we do things round here’
SIMPLE LOGICAL REPEATABLE.
At Macs, these were three key ingredients of each and every system that are imprinted on my mind. Three words that encapsulate why McDonald’s systems work:
That’s what makes business systems effective.
The other block I find some people have is that somehow the ‘one right way’ is not for creatives. So I’d like you to think about Masterchef. You’ll recall the episodes when the creative contestants have to go into Michelin star restaurants and cook the chef’s dishes to exactly the same demanding standards of content, taste and presentation. I’ve never heard those chefs go, ‘Oh I’m gonna do it my way’ or ‘I feel hidebound by having to produce this in exactly the same way’. No, they use their skills to deliver the same excellent standards and consistency and take pride in achieving them.
If you don’t watch Masterchef what about Bakeoff. A baker will follow tried and tested methodology, the one right way, for baking the cake to free up their time to try new flavours or to focus on decorating their showstopper. It just makes sense.
Think about an author who has a system for plot outline and development, research, character development, and a schedule to work on certain aspects of the story. A disciplined approach to the basics creates time for the creative story-telling.
And so in business, systems keep the nuts and bolts of your business; your invoicing, purchasing, marketing, recruiting etc in motion, and form a platform for the creative people to ‘do their stuff’. The one right way gives your customers the consistency they love and increases profit, which you’ll love.
And the one right way is always evolving as part of your improvement cycle. So your team come up with a better way as circumstances change and that becomes your new ‘one right way’. So you establish the ‘one right way’, the ‘how to’ with the people doing the work then you regularly review it together, improve it, train it in and off you go again. Your team can then work independently, taking ownership of the task and pride in what they do. And you have the trust in them to get on with driving your business(es) forward or spending more time with your family.
‘Systems are not chains to tie you down, they are wings to help you fly’.
Do one thing: Our Business Efficiency Test will give you an insight into how each of the key systems in your business is operating, and will give you strategies for improving them in a .pdf report. Take the test now, to see how you measure up: https://scorecard.mariannepage.co.uk
An effective Customer Journey Map gives you a clear and detailed picture of how your customer uses your product or services, and how customers and potential customers go through the buying process. It gives you and your team an overview of your customers’ experience and shows how they move through your sales funnel, which in turn helps you to identify opportunities to improve their experience.
To make it effective, you need to rethink what you believe you know, and fully understand every touch point a customer has with your business. There’s no one template that fits all businesses when it comes to mapping your customer journey, but there is a system, what a surprise! So here it is.
If this is your first attempt at mapping, then the most important thing is to keep it as simple as possible, but make sure it gives you all the vital information that you need. Remember that to make it effective you need to step out of your own shoes, and into your customers’ shoes. Take off those rose-tinted specs and see your operation as the customer sees it… as it is, not as you want it to be, or as it should be.
When you have your mindset right, follow these 6 steps…
Make sure that you know your customers intimately
You may have been told about the importance of building your customer avatars (a picture of your ideal customer). For customer journey mapping, these avatars are essential, giving you insights into your customers’ motivations, their buying habits, what they think, how they make buying decisions, what they want to achieve and so on. To get the best possible results, you’ll create a customer journey map for each avatar.
Work out the phases in your customer journey
How do potential customers hear about you? What are their first interactions with you?
What is their step by step experience with you? Your customer phases may include things like: Research, Purchase, Discovery, Recommend, Choice. For your first map, keep it simple and don’t over-think things.
Know what your customers want to achieve
In customer journey mapping, it’s crucial to keep in mind that this is not about you, it’s all about your customers. It’s all about what they need, what they want, their pain, their goals.
Go through each phase of your map and think about what your customer wants and needs when they’re in this phase, so that you can give them what they are looking for.
For example, if they are looking to put a toe in the water and try your products out before they commit to a purchase, but you don’t have any free resources, then you are not helping them to accomplish their goal. Or if they are trying to find you online, but your website is not ranked on Google, then again you have stopped them from accomplishing their goal. You have put an insurmountable hurdle in their way.
List your customers’ goals clearly under each of the phases in the journey map, because you can only accomplish your goals if your customers accomplish theirs.
Identify the touch-points and Moments of Truth on your customer journey.
For each phase, identify the interaction points between you and your customer, and the opportunities you have to connect and engage with your them as they try to reach their goals. These will include interactions that you have off site and onsite, through marketing, in person, and over the phone.
Some of these touch-points are more critical than others, e.g. when they try to call you does someone answer the phone, and how do they answer the phone?
These are your Moments of Truth. Map them out too as you will need to pay particular attention to them when you come to take action.
Understand your time-frames
Work out the time it takes for a customer to move through each phase of their journey with you. Is there more that you could do to help your customer achieve their goal for that phase, or speed up their journey?
Assess the team members/external support involved in each interaction
Look at who you have involved in supporting the customer journey. Do you have ‘aces in their places’? Are your best people looking after and monitoring the Moments of Truth? Do they have the support they need?
Are they following simple, logical and repeatable systems to get the job done? Have they had enough training? The right training?
For your customers to accomplish their goals in each phase of their journey through your business, there must be effective systems in place, and well-trained people owning and running those systems.
Walk through every step of the customer journey with your team, and at each step ask ‘Why? Why do we have this step, do we really need it, does it add value for our customers? Why do we do it this way, could we make it easier?’
As it sounds, the customer journey is the route your customer takes through your business from first deciding that they want what you have, to choosing to buy what they want from you, through every step of your sales process, to receiving and paying for their goods or services, and hopefully leaving you good feedback. It’s well worth the investment.
Do one thing: Our Business Efficiency Test will give you an insight into how each of the key systems in your business is operating - including your customer experience system - and will give you strategies for improving them in a pdf report. Take the test now, to see how you measure up: https://scorecard.mariannepage.co.uk
Like many business owners, I used to make the mistake of thinking that what was crystal clear and obvious to me would be crystal clear to my ideal client. That they would take the time to jump through my hoops, understand my jargon or click more than once, to find out more about me and my products.
Like many business owners, I’d over-complicated my very simple business.
I’d made myself difficult to do business with, forgetting the key lessons I’d learned at McDonald’s:
Visibility – make sure that you’re somewhere that your ideal clients can see you. Then have great branding – your equivalent of the Golden Arches sky sign.
Accessibility – be available when and where they need you to be, easy to reach and easy to understand.
Simplicity – be easy to do business with; straightforward; no hoops, no added complications, no unnecessary steps in your process.
As a Restaurant Manager at McDonald’s, I was tasked with walking my customer journey (or doing a ‘Travel Path’ as it was called), every hour. This meant walking about 100 yards (old school) up the street and back, looking for what my customers might see and notice, - litter, cleanliness, etc. And on my return what about first impressions seen from the Customers’ eyes, - tables and floor clean, team smart and busy, no queues - you get the idea.
Of course, we don’t all have bricks and mortar businesses. For many of us that first impression is online, and very often will begin with a Google search, followed by our website, maybe followed by a phone call, and so on. Very different businesses but they all have one thing in common: every customer goes on a journey through them.
To give Customers the best possible experience, we need to understand the key phases of that journey, the ‘Moments of Truth’ along the way, and any opportunities for improvement. It’s vital that we view it through our customers’ eyes; through their very real experience; not what the experience should be, or what you want it to be, but what it actually is, day-to-day. Ask those in your team who work with the journey every day, how simple and straightforward it is; how many hoops you’re making your customers jump through; how much unnecessary information you’re asking your customer to provide.
An effective Customer Journey Map gives you a clear and detailed picture of how your customer uses your product or services, and how customers and potential customers go through the buying process.
It gives you and your team an overview of your customers’ experience and shows how they move through your sales funnel, which in turn helps you to identify opportunities to improve their experience.
To make it effective, you need to rethink what you believe you know, and fully understand every touch point a customer has with your business.
There’s no one template that fits all businesses when it comes to mapping your customer journey, but there is a system, what a surprise!
Look out for next week’s blog where I’ll share our customer journey mapping system with you.
So, you have a big Vision that gives you goosebumps and it’s plastered on your wall in huge letters. You’ve started to plan with your team about how together you’ll make that Vision a reality. And you’re all buzzing about the future and cracking on. Great stuff! I can feel the energy from here.
Now, all that’s missing is an effective Personal Management System. Not the sexiest title I’ve come across but even the most inspiring vision, and the smartest of plans will be wasted if you don't have the means to keep yourself on track.
A Personal Management System
Your daily routine is the cornerstone of your personal management system, and should be crammed full of habits that will maximise your productivity, and move you closer to your Vision.
1. Get into the habit of planning your day the evening before (and your week on a Sunday evening). At the end of the day, you’re usually very clear about what still needs to done, what the priorities are, what tomorrow’s frog* will be. Advanced planning like this makes sure that you hit the ground running.
2. Chunk your work into 90 minute segments. This is a good timeframe for focus, and FOCUS is the key word - don’t multi-task - if you’re going to work on a sales letter, work on it for the full 90 minutes, or until it’s done, if you can do it within the 90.
3. Peak Practice - Work out which part of the day you’re at your peak - for me it’s first thing in the morning - and use that 90 minutes to ‘eat your frog’ - *do the thing that you don't necessarily want to do, but that’s weighing you down mentally, because you know you really need to get it done.
Just get focused and eat the damn frog! It’s a really good success habit to get into.
4. Set yourself mini deadlines - always good for those of us who like a bit of last minute pressure - make them ‘drop-dead’-lines too! Absolute must delivers! Breaks are always a good deadline. Holidays are also excellent. Ever noticed how much more you get done in the days leading up to a holiday, or the minutes leading up to any deadline.
5. Switch Off. Both breaks and holidays are essential for your long-term productivity too - refreshing and re-energising your mind and body. The most successful businessmen and women really get this, and have made breaks long and short, a habit they will always keep.
6. Daily Exercise. Other daily routines and success habits that are good for your mind and body, include taking at least 30 minutes exercise a day - even if it’s just a walk down the road and back - and drinking plenty of water - two litres is the recommended amount isn’t it? I’m no scientist, but I can testify to the power of a lunchtime walk for clearing your head and setting you up for a productive afternoon.
For budding entrepreneurs, there are three other personal management essentials:
A Personal Management System takes discipline and time to develop, but when you learn to manage yourself, the business will be a piece of cake!
Do one thing: look back over today/yesterday. Did your work take you towards your Vision? Did you have frog for breakfast? If not, look to adopt these good habits and improve your routines.
For more information on how MPL can help you, contact us here: firstname.lastname@example.org
Marianne is the author of three books, and is currently working on her fourth, whilst regularly writing her blog, we hope you enjoy it :-)