What is a process sheet?
A non-technical process sheet, or the “Our Process” section of your website, is a one or two-page overview that shows your customer how you get from A to Z. It’s an outline of the steps that go into creating and delivering a service or product, and it can help you:
• Set and manage customer expectations
• Show your value
• Establish trust in your professionalism
• Explain your timeline for delivery
• Differentiate your product or service from your competition’s
• Answer common questions
Who can benefit by explaining their process?
Almost every company can benefit from being clear about their customer’s next steps when they engage with them – whether it’s an ordering process, a return process, or the steps in a service call. People tend to trust open, communicative brands that make their process clear. In this article, however, we’re talking specifically about content that explains the work, or thinking process, that adds value to what you’re selling.
“Our Process” content is commonly created by companies that build complex projects, or engage in a creative process with clients over time: homebuilders, interior designers, website designers, financial planners, training companies – any industry in which part of what your client is buying is your tried and true method, knowledge, or thinking process for getting from A to Z.
Explanations around process are also used to establish the value of a product or service, and to differentiate it from the competition. Artisans, craftspeople, food and drink manufacturers, and other companies that create products in a unique, high-value, or thoughtful way illustrate their process to show the work, skill, quality, and time that goes into production. Often, it’s their process that justifies the price point.
Businesses that repeatedly answer questions about “next steps” or delivery times – whether it’s an explanation of their hiring process, or how a customer goes from a phone call to having new blinds in their home – free up resources by uploading an explanation of their process to their website, or by giving their salespeople print material to hand out.
An explanation of your process sets realistic client expectations and builds trust
Information about your process shines a light on what it is you do, and helps your client understand how you get from that first meeting to, say, a finished logo or website. When it comes to any kind of creative work they may not know – and why should they? – how much research is involved, how many ideas you discard before you show them your concepts, and what their role is from concept to completion.
At Indalma, we created an outline of our process for website design and content because most clients underestimate what’s involved, both on our side and theirs. Our process sheet is a way to set and manage client expectations, so that clients can see what the steps are, what’s needed from them, and why a quality website isn’t created in a month.
Similarly, homebuilders often give process sheets to their clients to show them the steps involved in building a custom home, which may take up to a year or more to complete. An established process inspires confidence in the builder’s budgeting and scheduling abilities, and tells clients that their project is in capable hands.
You can turn the explanation of your process into an experience for your customer
When a non-technical client is looking at your process, they’re generally not looking for a deep explanation of how your product or service is created – they’re looking for next steps, reassurance that you know what you’re doing, answers to basic questions, the story behind your product, or a sense of what you’re like to work with.
If you address their curiosity, you can turn your process into a story that supports your brand. Instead of just talking about what you do, talk about what you do for your customer – that’s the story they’re really interested in. It’s a small shift in point-of-view that turns your process into their experience of working with you.
Similarly, if you make a fabulous handmade shoe, explain what goes into making that shoe in a way that makes your customer “feel” the story – as though they’re standing beside you at the workbench, smelling the leather and touching its softly burnished surface. When customers have a positive emotional reaction to a brand’s story, they’re more likely to purchase the product, even if it’s at a higher price point.
What makes a good process sheet?
It’s pitched appropriately for your target audience: Unless your audience is technical, you’re likely explaining your process to people who just need an overview of your main steps and why they matter. If there are points in your process where their participation is required, let them know. If clients are always asking about your timelines and you can predict them, fill them in. If you can briefly point out the benefits of your approach during your explanation, even better. Think of your process as another opportunity to have a conversation with your market.
It’s clear and easy to follow: Whether you design it as an infographic, a flow chart, or a step-by-step list, your process should answer questions – especially the ones your clients ask repeatedly – not raise them.
It gives a sense, not just of the process, but of the experience: Don’t let your steps sound robotic – this is a process sheet, not an instruction manual. Your tone, voice, and descriptions all help to create a “feel” for what it would be like to work with you, or watch you create.
Describing your process is another way to build customer relationships
When you anticipate and answer your customers’ needs, you build trust and confidence – and trust is the foundation of all great relationships. Transparency about your process says, “We got this”, or even better, “We got you”.
Wondering how to create an effective process sheet that’s more than just a series of steps? Give us a call – we’d love to talk!