It’s quite an innocuous question really, but what would your answer be?
A typical answer over the years has been “It depends on which bit of the business – each team has responsibility to looking after their own area. To make sure it is working as well it can, that it is timely and accurate, with a manager or partner overseeing of course”.
Again nothing particularly wrong with that, but the supplementary question is : How do they know that what they are doing is actually Best Practice?
Because what we can all appreciate and what we have all witnessed is that departments and services can often be run to benefit of itself, rather than those it is intended for.
To truly own Best Practice you need to know what it is, and this has to come from and also be completely understood by those that are engaged in its provision – and this include those at the receiving end!
Choose a department or service line and ask them:
- To define what best practice is as they see it.
- Is this what we actually do?
- How confident are we that clients think we are providing them with the best possible service?
Every single department should take the time, and have the time afforded to them to understand and if necessary create their own definitions of best practice. They need to know that what they are doing is in the very best interests of both the firm and the client over and above the functional or compliance driven.
External reference points should be sought out, and the best format is always with non competing firms that are happy to reciprocate detailed insight at a similar level of seniority (i.e. administrator, manager, partner) – more on this another time…
But fundamentally the context of your own practice – the location, client make up, service mix, size and culture will be the key things in colouring and translating this into practical and measurable best practice.
Best practice in these terms are standards, processes and satisfaction measures which are owned and make deep sense to everyone.