Simplifying Your Processes Means Limiting Your Inputs

Decreased online registrations. High levels of customer complaints. Increasing training expenses. All warning signs that led one of my clients to conclude that their registration process was crying out for simplification.

Are your processes too complicated? It may be that youve created too many inputs.

Take, for example, a typical event registration process. A typical registration will ask who you are, which meeting you are registering for, and how you will pay for the registration fee. But beyond this, the event registration process will also ask questions like:

  • Do you have any dietary restrictions?
  • Will you be attending the following umpteen free sessions?
  • Is this your first meeting?
  • And so on

Unfortunately, when we ask additional questions (i.e., inputs), we are increasing the complexity of the process. In order to make a process less complex, you have to limit the variables. To limit variables, you have to limit inputs.

So taking this same example, how do we reduce the number of inputs? By reducing the number of questions we ask. In the case of an event registration, what is the information we absolutely need to have? The only information we must absolutely have is information that affects the final price. So for most event registration processes, that would be:

  • Which event the individual is registering for
  • the persons name (which will also tell us if they receive the member or non-member price)
  • the date of the transaction (for early bird pricing)
  • and how they are paying.

Everything that is unrelated to fees is, in a sense, superfluous to the sale. Yes, the other information is important in terms of how we treat the customer (e.g., is this your first event?), but they have no bearing on the sale itself.

When we add additional variables to any process, we increase the likelihood of confusing the customer, creating more work for staff, and depressing response (i.e., sales will be lower).

Take a look at all of your processes; do you have too many variables? Are you making it too difficult for your customers to buy from you? Are you making it overly difficult for staff to process data for different transactions?

If you want to simplify your processes, minimize the variables by minimizing the inputs.


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