Should you Standardise?

There is a line of thought that says standardise your processes.

  • Get everybody to follow the same process
  • The one designed to give you the best outcome
  • Minimise variation

After all without standardisation you just have anarchy.

But every customer is different

There is another line of though that every customer is different:

  • Every customer has different needs
  • Every customer has different perspectives
  • Every customer has different requirements

So no customer wants a standard outcome.  If you insist in giving cookie cutter service all you will do is create cookie cutter dissatisfaction.

So which is it going to be?

Anarchy or Bureaucracy?  Staff who do what they like when they like for every different customer creating a maelström of confusion?  Or staff who follow the letter of the law, regardless of what the customer wants, like regimented unthinking fools?

How about a little discretion?

  • Be clear what your purpose is, what good looks like, what you are here to do
  • Provide a standard process, decide what the best known way is
  • Ask your employees to follow the process, until it stops meeting your purpose.  Then let them run rough shod all over it

That way you might just end up with happy customers and engaged employees.

Processes make good servants but poor masters ~ Maz Iqbal

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  1. James,

    This is like a chicken-and-egg dilemma. There is a need for standards and processes, and yet there is a need to treat different customers differently and to personalize the experience. Perhaps one is an inside-out view, while the other is an outside-in view?

    Or does it all just really boil down to common sense? :-)

    Annette :-)

  2. Hi James,

    Could you not give the customer the option: standard or bespoke with clear explanations as to what each entails and costs?

    That would work, right? Or, is your broader question with the customers that choose standard and then complain that they don’t get bespoke?


    • James Lawther says:

      An interesting thought Adrian, and I don’t know the answer. Is it best to give the customers options or none?

      I have been to restaurants where they have had too much on the menu, and others where they have had too little, and it all depends on the restaurant.


  3. if u have any literature on standardisation of process pls mail

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