It only works if you look at it. And update it. Then revise it based on reality. And let’s face it, that rarely happens.
I have a love/hate relationship with documentation. I love reviewing it when it gives me real information. Give me a process map and I’m happy. Leave me alone with a few information architecture flows or wireframes and I can really go to town. Love.
Then I fall a little too in love. I find a documented process about how customers are to be treated. And I believe it. I quickly feel a fool for considering I actually know what’s happening. Hate.
But when was the last time you reviewed your sales process documentation? Oh, sure, it might live in Salesforce somewhere or be written on the white board at your sales retreats, but is it followed? And what if it is? Does that equal success? An even better question – what if it’s ignored? Does anyone care?
I’ve found processes involving humans (that is, ALL of them) require lots and lots of reminders, revisions and revamping. That is the crux of the problem with documenting the customer experience.
Processes are outlined, expanded and asterisked. But your humans, those employees, partners and customers, change the rules willy-nilly.
They change things for the better:
- Customer service representatives spend “too much time” helping a customer in distress.
- Your collections people have pity on the real people in real situations and allow them to push out their payments a little longer.
- Your sales people realize that the hand-off to account management is bumpy without their involvement – going against the org chart and process map acknowledged as “the way.”
They also change things for the worse:
- Your sales and marketing folks get in a territory war and change the rules accordingly.
- Your temporary web developers don’t know the rules – so they create their own error messages for YOUR customers. EEK!
- “It’s better this way” mindset wins when it shouldn’t.
Documentation is great! But make sure you occasionally look behind the curtain and ensure the way your customers are treated is the way you want. If documentation was created as the ideal, walk through the process and see if it’s close.
And if you don’t have any documentation. It’s time to start. Just so you know what the ideal should be. That exercise alone will help your organization and your customers more than CRM systems, surveys or focus groups.
How do you feel about documentation? Love or hate?