It almost goes without saying that one of the keys to a successful business is being good at what you do. When a business develops a reputation for being proficient and professional, word-of-mouth recommendations follow. It also increases our opportunities to become more profitable. This is especially important in a specialist IT industry like Point of Sale. Of course, there are a number key factors that go toward our developing a good reputation, such as promoting reliable products and providing effective ongoing support. But how can we go about demonstrating our professionalism?
One very effective way to show our client that we ‘know what we are doing’ is by demonstrating ‘best practice’ procedures in our approach to our work. Our industry experience will no doubt have led us to understand the best order to do things, or the appropriate questions to ask a client that helps establish that we understand their requirements. But do we recognise the benefits of documenting some of these procedures that we develop, enabling us to repeat the process with every installation we perform – in other words, do we understand the advantage of being ‘Process Driven’?
POSLynx endeavours to be ‘process driven’ in its approach to Lynx Software installations, upgrades, training and support. Here are some positive benefits we have found in developing written procedures that we can follow through with during our Lynx Software installations:
- More thorough – There is nothing worse than finishing an upgrade, and later remembering that you didn’t customise the icon for the end-user, or that you forgot to re-enter the label printing settings. Having a checklist jogs your memory so you don’t forget ‘little’ things that can make the difference between a good installation and an excellent one.
- Increased efficiency – When you take the time to develop and document a procedure, it is then set up for you to repeat… again and again. So the level of thought that goes into the process the first time the first time we perform it does not need to be repeated. This kind of standardisation is also beneficial when providing software training. Having a documented list of subjects to cover in training saves a lot of time – both in the preparation and delivery of the training, but also in the time saved in ongoing support because you forgot to cover a subject the end-user will undoubtedly need to know.
- Builds confidence – As you develop and follow your ‘best practice’ procedures, your confidence in your system grows. This is contagious – your client will sense your confidence and their trust in your advice and support will increase. This definitely adds to your business reputation, and you will be more likely to get positive recommendations.
- Improves your troubleshooting ability – When you understand the reasons for developing procedures in a certain order, you have a better chance of quickly finding and fixing a problem when a system breaks down for some reason. Troubleshooting in itself involves ‘process’ – so being methodical in your approach to problem-solving saves you from unnecessarily wasting your most precious resource – time.
- Allows you to work on niche markets – Once you see the benefits of being process driven, you can further increase the detail of your procedures specific to niche markets that you see an opportunity with. For instance, if you gain insight into what works for one hotel stock control system, you can take your specialised approach and promote it to other similar sites. Effectively, you become an expert in tailoring your product mix to a specific market, and can use a ‘cookie-cutter’ approach when demonstrating to similar sites.
But does being ‘process driven’ allow for the fact that every POS installation is subtly different?
Of course! Processes can obviously be adjusted to suit an individual site’s specific requirements. That in itself shows a level of professionalism and a desire to understand each individual client’s needs. Additionally, working with computers involves a number of variables that no amount of documentation can account for – differing hardware components, operating systems, installed software. So the processes we create are an effort to systemise the things that are within our control. And remember, no procedure should be ‘set in stone’ – if you see a way to improve the process, change the document. Refining your ‘best practice’ based on further experience demonstrates continual growth and saves you from becoming stuck in your ways.
It may take time to develop and document your processes, but the effort is definitely worth it. Don’t underestimate the value of developing and refining your business systems – your efficiency will improve, your reputation will be enhanced and, as a result, your business will grow.
POSLynx has developed procedure documents that aid in preparing for and performing Lynx Software installations, providing needed end-user advice and training. We are happy to pass on these processes to Lynx Software resellers, allowing you to use our documentation, and even adjust it to your own specifications. Please check out our procedure documents here: poslynx.net.au/tutorials-for-support-providers/