Users sometimes mistakenly believe that to deliver a consistent customer experience, workflow task lists must be long and all-encompassing. In fact, in our time working with our users we've come across 15+ step, multi-month workflows far too many times.
Contrarily, we've also seen that the opposite often occurs. Over-engineered workflows quickly become overbearing, especially when completing routine or high-volume client work.
Well designed workflows should help you and your team:
Stay on top of your work, being able to effectively bookmark where you left off
Facilitate a smooth hand-over between team members, minimizing the need for peripheral communication via email or chat
Have access to all of the right resources with email templates, bookmarked links, and a detailed description configured for tasks that need them
When planning your workflows, it's often tempting to document every single step — especially when it comes to complicated projects or account work.
Instead, ask yourself these questions when planning a process:
Is this going to occur frequently, at a high volume (surges) throughout the year?
Are there steps that are dependent on the input of external stakeholders (clients included) to complete?
Are there common pitfalls or known stumbling blocks that need to be avoided?
Identifying these tasks first will allow you to naturally document the guiding steps that will lead you through the workflow.
You should keep tasks for surge workflows concise, opting to leave documentation in each task's description instead. You should indicate which steps are likely to hold you up due to a need to wait on external actions. And you should help your future self (and your team) anticipate common issues with helpful steps such as a sequential task reminder for a follow-up on a client task.
At the end of the day, create workflows that people will love to use. Don't aim for perfection, instead draw up a plan, try it with a first client, and build upon it as you go.
You will find yourself iterating on your workflow naturally as long as you take the time to reflect regularly and make adjustments as you encounter opportunities to improve.
Now, what are you waiting for? Start off by focusing on workflows that will let you capture the client work that is currently in progress.
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