Last month, we talked about the importance of having clarity on your business vision. This month we will look at the importance of clarity on your actual business policies and processes, which might include cancellation/refund policy, payment process, communication between team members and establishing expectations—yours, and your client’s.
Making sure your policies and processes are documented and communicated effectively to your client is vital to your brand reputation, growth, and sustainability. Clarity also lends to a better experience, for you as the business owner and the client. You may communicate things verbally; however, it’s best to also provide them in writing on your website and through email correspondence.
Let’s look at what you need clarity on:
Your cancellation/refund policy – This allows your client to be aware of your policy upfront. You should provide in detail what happens if service is cancelled, if the cancellation is not made within the guidelines and the timeframe in which cancellations are accepted. You want to also provide clear information on what your refund policy is by including the timeframe allowed to receive a refund, whether a full or partial refund is available or if payment is nonrefundable, non-transferrable or transferable. Communicating these policies in advance can help you avoid lost revenue.
Customer expectation – You can’t succeed in business without connecting with your target audience. This starts with clear communication—from beginning to end. From the first touch point, your customer should feel important and valued. Set the expectation with your client as to what they can expect when they work with you, what services you will provide (a scope of work agreement is perfect for this) and your process for communication (such as preferred contact method, turnaround time, etc.).
Here are a few tips to help you establish your policies and processes.
Walk through each business process by writing down each step needed to complete the process. This does not have to be complicated but should be detailed. Take the time to walk through the customer experience and how your business will operate. This will allow you to see any gaps that may exist and correct them upfront.
Ask for help. Get someone who is not involved in your business to read over your policies and processes. They should be able to clearly understand your business policy, procedures, and expectations. Note: Your processes are not written for the business owner. They are written for your clients so they are aware of what will happen as they do business with you.
Consider everything needed to provide service to your client. Set expectations for communication timeframes. When can your client expect to hear back from you? Your client should also know the timeframe in which they are expected to respond to your correspondence. For example, completed documents may need to be returned within 24 hours.
To continually provide clear details, review your policies and procedures on a regular basis, as things may have changed. Your business practices should be clear, simple, easy to understand and up to date.
I’ve found that my clients appreciate clear policies and communication as it shows my desire to have a pleasant experience and my professionalism and organization.
Need assistance mapping out your business policies and procedures? Let’s chat, schedule a complimentary discovery call!