The Benefits of Process Standardization

Melanie
3rd February 2020

What would happen if the customer service representatives and other support employees at your company had no standard operating procedure in place to handle questions or concerns? Do you really think it is possible for them to do a great job and represent your firm properly if they all use different methods for getting the job done?

When you skip standardizing processes, these are the outcomes you get. A variety of different tasks must work in the best way possible for your company to function properly. This is true in both the long-term and on and everyday schedule. Without organization and guidance, chaos reigns.

Each activity requires a set of instructions that tell all employees the necessary methods for ensuring top-quality results. Not only does standardizing processes help streamline everything workers do, it helps you oversee quality and handle customer or client issues more effectively.

What Does It Mean to Standardize Processes?

Your company need something done. Therefore, you create a set of rules clearly describing how it needs to happen. Every person involved gets a set task list that outlines their responsibilities and the desired outcome. Standardizing processes helps with tasks as varied as phone-based customer support, processing payroll, and shipping out orders.

Advantages of Standardizing Processes

To generalize, creating an SOP for every task ensures that everyone knows what to do, how to do it, and when. More precise benefits include the following:

  1. Create Clarity – A set process takes away confusion and wasted time involved with guessing or trying to figure out what they should do next.
  2. Boosts Productivity – Less wasted time equals more tasks completed.
  3. Promote Top Quality – Every project is done in the same way that has been established as the best option in advance.
  4. Increases Employee Satisfaction – High morale comes from accomplishments that do not include confusion, doubt, or insufficient skill usage.
  5. Maximizes Customer Service – Consumers appreciate the best possible responses in a friendly and professional manner they can come to trust.

Standard Processes Erase Confusion and Guesswork

The first benefit of standardizing processes listed above is one of the most important for the overall function and efficiency of your company. When you take confusing processes or the need to guess what to do next, employees are able to tackle a job with increased speed, quality, and positive attitude. Trying to figure out how to do something can waste a lot of time.

Have you ever been in a position to train new workers or current ones in a new task? Think about how long it took for the training process before any actual work got done. Even after all of your efforts, how many of these employees made a mistake when they started to take care of the tasks on their own?

If you already know how to do a particular thing, it makes so much more sense to create a standard operating procedure that everyone can follow. Yes, some training will still be necessary. However, with an organized and clear instruction sheet, the entire process will go much faster and have a more positive outcome.

This is especially important when the process being standardized directly impacts the safety of others. For example a pilot's flight checklist, or a surgeon's safety checklist.

Expect High Quality Results with Standardized Processes

Not only will tasks fail due to misunderstandings and errors as described above, but end result will lack consistent quality, too. Different methods of doing a specific task will result in different outcomes unless you have taken the time to standardize the process. Some methods simply work better than others, and your set process should include only the best.

Maximize quality results with standard processes that reduce the opportunity for mistakes and skipped details. If everything is clearly written out in front of the employee, the chance of these things happening goes down quite a lot. Quality will remain consistent as long as managers or project leaders enforce the standards.

Productivity Increases with Process Standardization

Things like guesswork and mistakes make everything take a longer amount of time. When you standardize operating procedures and processes, more things get done in less time. You minimize waste of time, energy, and resources. Not only does the initial task go more smoothly because employees have a detailed list of what to do, but you also save money on the backend because you will not have to redo anything or correct mistakes as you go.

Standardizing processes also eliminates inter-office competition. Sometimes, employees with grand ideas about how to get things done may decrease productivity because they are more interested in getting heard and accepted than they are at doing the task efficiently.

Boost Morale and Employee Satisfaction

Besides minimizing conflict as mentioned above, workers simply feel better when they accomplish their tasks in a productive and efficient manner. Also, anxiety diminishes when they know they have followed a standard process correctly. Just because there is an SOP in place does not mean every person will feel like an automaton performing assembly line work. Standardizing processes still allows for personality to shine through. A set task, performed correctly, with a sense of pride always wins when it comes to employee morale.

Processes Improve Customer Service

No matter what type of company you run or help manage, customer service remains one of the most important factors in overall success. Standardizing processes there increase not only the efficiency of answering questions and fielding concerns but also allows for increased personalization and customization of responses.

First of all, efficient, productive, and satisfied employees are more likely to have appropriate answers for customers and share them with a positive attitude. When you come up with standard processes to respond as quickly and effectively as possible, everyone wins.

Customer service process standardization includes everything from when to make the initial response to how to handle repeat queries from a disgruntled client or customer. This is not about creating set scripts that every customer service worker follows no matter what. Instead, each type of approach should have its own SOP in place. As with any other aspect of business, company representatives must know how to handle different situations efficiently to satisfy customers and maintain their own sense of high morale as a benefit to the overall company success.

Some Concerns About Standardizing Processes

The benefits for the creation of standard processes include a whole list of things any company wants to incorporate into their regular practices. However, you may have some concerns and doubts about how the standardization really works once incorporated into the office or other workplace. One of the most common questions about adopting SOPs stems from the belief that they are boring and monotonous.

All of these concerns have solutions that should further convince you that standardizing processes is the right way forward for your business.

Standard Processes Equal Monotony

Doing something the same way all the time does present a potential issue for some employees. However, getting rid of guesswork and confusion from any process boosts productivity and a sense of accomplishment so much that monotony or boredom will not have a chance to enter the picture. Despite conformity to a particular process, the end results offer a much greater reward than how things were done in the past. Accomplishment equals positivity.

Creativity Suffers with Standardization

Some job-related tasks are more open to creativity and interpretation than others. For example, you cannot standardize one set process for designing a graphics package for a corporate client. There is no checklist that says use blue, curved lines, and organic symbolism. However, a process that defines the steps of how the project gets handled by the group maximizes efficiency and productivity while leaving plenty of room for innovation and creative thought.

Just because one process is created for everyone to follow does not mean that individuals must curtail any good ideas or reject change sometime in the future. If you are the one coming up with the standardized processes, remain open to suggestions and possibilities at appropriate times. When the day-to-day tasks are efficiently handled with an SOP in place, and wasted time disappears, you may find your workers have more time for innovation than they had in the past.

Order allows for creative expansion much more than chaos does. Confusion, error correction, and a constant battle to get ordinary tasks complete will not help anyone come up with a fresh thought. Even while standardizing processes, remember that you always retain the ability to further streamline or improve processes themselves as necessary in the future.