Think in terms of the customer experience, and what impression customers get from doing business with your company. There are a sequence of points of contact, the moments of truth, where you and the customer get to interact. At each moment, you have a chance to either wow or disappoint your customer.

Successful businesses map out this sequence of events, in as much detail as possible, to ensure a repeatable, positive outcome. For example, if you go on any particular ride at a theme park, you hear the same scripted dialog from the staff. At a lot of restaurants, after serving your food, they have to check in on you at least twice, to see that you are enjoying your meal.  A car service business calls up two days after the service to see how the car is running.

In sports I learned about the play book and the audibles. A play book is the mapped out sequence of events for each type of situation, which is like the procedure manual for a business. An audible is where the quarterback can call a change in the play, based on what is happening out on the field. It is a way to respond to the changing situations.

So in business, it is important to map out the process of interactions with the customer, and it is also important to give your staff some flexibility to adjust where necessary. If they have to deviate from the process frequently, it is a clue that you need to update your process.