20 SOP Examples You Can Steal From Today

By
Lauren Funaro
May 18, 2022
31
min read
Updated
January 23, 2024
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Use these 20 standard operating procedure examples to build your own effective SOPs.
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Introduction

sop_examples
Standard operating procedures (SOPs) can free up a few hours per week for every employee — adding to more productivity, stronger performance and less burnout.

Not sure where to start? We’ve collected twenty SOP examples for procedures your teams have to deal with most often. Use them as templates to build your own standard operating procedures.  

Wh‎‎at is an SOP?

‎A standard operating procedure (SOP) is a set of step-by-step visual instructions for performing a hands-on or desktop task that establishes uniformity of repetitive processes.

SOPs help to achieve workflow consistency and ensure predictable outcomes.

💡 Scribe tip: In simple terms, an SOP is a go-to for why, when, by whom, and how things should be done.

Here's what an SOP looks like:

Why are SOPs important?

SOPs are more than just important — they're necessary. Some of the major benefits of building SOPs are:

  • Reduced variability and mistakes — Cut the guesswork out of day-to-day tasks for consistent outcomes.
  • Clear roles and responsibilities — Unclear expectations cause twenty-two percent of conflicts in the workplace. Make sure your SOPs specify stakeholders responsible for certain procedures
  • Faster turnaround — Prevent project delays and improve efficiency while freeing up your go-to people to focus on the work that matters most.
  • Knowledge preservation — Losing even one employee (approximately 25 percent of workers quit their jobs every year) can have a massive impact on your team. With an SOP and leave management process in place, you won’t need to rebuild everything from scratch.
  • Seamless onboarding — SOPs can guide your onboarding process and reduce the number of people-hours spent on in-person training. 

These five benefits and more lead to one major important business outcome: cost savings.

With written SOPs, you won’t lose money to inconsistent results, failed deadlines, a lack of clarity, lost knowledge or ineffective onboarding.

Wh‎at are some examples of SOPs?

Here are a few of the most common types of SOP templates.

SOP format example

Soon we’ll dive into the examples of SOP documents you want to implement across your organization.

But first, let’s list the components making a perfect SOP format:

  • Title: Each SOP starts with a clear, descriptive title. It’s good to include a department name, a brief summary of the document's purpose, and a date when you last updated the SOP.
  • Identification: This section describes who collaborated on the document.
  • Scope: This is where it’s explained where the procedure starts and when it’s considered complete.
  • Purpose: The main objective of the procedure is highlighted here.
  • Glossary: If terminology or abbreviations are used, they should be explained in the glossary.
  • Procedure: Use this section to feature all the steps that should be taken to perform the procedure successfully.
  • References: Helpful links to relevant resources should be included in the reference section.

📌 Related Resource: SOPs vs. Work Instructions

20‎ Examples of effective SOPs

Ready to enjoy the benefits of SOPs? Here are twenty SOP examples based on the most common processes faced by companies today.

All the SOPs below are built upon unified, step-by-step SOP format examples, making it easy for you to customize and implement them into your organization.

Keep in mind that the procedure and scope of your SOP will vary depending on the process and objectives.

SO‎P Example #1: New software training (example, Salesforce) feat. Scribe

Title: IT - Streamlined Software Training (using Salesforce as an example) [Updated 08/23/2023]

Identification: Introduced on August 23, 2023, by Alex M.

Scope: This SOP covers the process of training employees on a new software solution (with Salesforce as an example) using Scribe's visual documentation tool.

Purpose: To ensure employees can quickly, effectively, and confidently navigate and utilize new software tools, boosting operational efficiency and software ROI.

Glossary:

  • Scribe - a popular AI-powered tool for digital process documentation and the creation of visual how-to guides.
  • Visual workflow - a graphical representation of sequential steps to achieve a particular outcome.

Procedure

Step 1: List the essential workflows within the new software, Salesforce, in this instance, that require documentation. This forms the foundation for precise training.

For example, for Salesforce, we identified the following workflows to be documented.

Step 2: Turn on the Scribe Chrome extension or use the desktop or mobile tool to complete each identified process in the software one by one. You will end up with visual guides with automatic screenshots, guiding text and click targets without needing to do anything extra.

Step 3: Further customize the guides to your liking using Scribe’s robust set of customization tools like information blurring, custom branding, screenshot annotations and more. You will end up with visual guides (Scribes) like the ones below:

Step 4: Share the guides with relevant team members using links, embeds or custom export options. You can also organize multiple Scribes in a single document with Scribe Pages like this sales training guide page.

Step 5: Encourage team members to leave feedback on the guide for further improvement.

Step 6: Update existing guides based on user feedback and changes in the software.

Step 7: Identify new software workflows to document periodically and create them with Scribe.

‎Try Scribe's free Salesforce Training Generator to build comprehensive Salesforce training SOPs in minutes!

SOP Example #2: Recruitment

Title: HR – Recruitment Process [Updated 01/22/2024]

Identification: The document was introduced on May 12, 2022, by Emma S. Updates: February 7, 2023 (Emma S.), January 22, 2024 (John R.).

Scope: This Standard Operating Procedure will be used by HR representatives from the moment of identifying a hiring need to signing an employment agreement.

Purpose: To guide HR representatives on the hiring process.

Glossary: 

  • Subject matter expert – a person with experience in the role an HR representative is looking to fill.
  • DocuSign – an electronic signature app.

Procedure

Step 1: A human resource representative receives a request from a department willing to fill in a specific role.

Step 2: With assistance from a subject matter expert, the HR representative creates a job description outlining the company description, new hire’s responsibilities, experience and benefits.

Step 3: A vacancy is submitted to job boards on LinkedIn and Glassdoor. 

Step 4: To run paid promotion, request funds from a finance manager and include a staffing administrator in the email copy.

Step 5: Applications are being collected for two weeks. Then a list of applicants is reviewed and 20 candidates that meet the criteria are shortlisted. Check the guide on how to manage job listings on LinkedIn for reference.

Step 6: The HR representative runs the first-round interviews on Zoom. 

Step 7: The shortlisted candidates are interviewed by the head of the team or department that is looking to fill an open position. The HR representative should find time slots working for candidates and interviewers and arrange meetings.

Step 8: Remaining candidates receive job knowledge and personality tests from the HR representative by email. The deadline, as well as requirements, should be clearly articulated. 

Step 9: The head of the team or department looking to fill a position reviews candidates’ knowledge tests while the HR representative reviews personality tests. Based on the results, the HR representative makes an offer to the best candidate.

Step 10: Once the offer is accepted, the HR representative prepares an employment contract and sends it to the candidate via DocuSign.

SOP Example #3: New hire’s first day 

Title: HR – New Hire Onboarding [Updated 09/20/2023]

Identification: The document was introduced on August 14, 2021, by Emily K. Updated on September 20, 2023, by Alex L.

Scope: These are the guidelines for HR representatives and people managers to follow on a new hire’s first day at work. All the related materials should be prepared in advance.

Purpose: Following an effective onboarding process allows to provide a seamless onboarding experience for a new employee. 

Glossary:

  • Onboarding buddy – an employee from any department serving as a new hire's peer coach, helping them through their onboarding experience.
  • Direct Deposit – an authorization form authorizing an employer to send money to an employee’s bank account.
  • NDA – a non-disclosure agreement.

Procedure

Step 1: An HR representative welcomes a new hire in the office at 9 a.m., introduces them to coworkers, and assigns an onboarding buddy.

Step 2: The HR representative shares an employee handbook with a new employee, discusses policies and procedures and asks them to sign Direct Deposit and NDA.

Step 3: A people manager introduces a new hire to their first-day agenda and gives them access to the company intranet.

Step 4: The people manager arranges a welcome lunch.

Step 5: A new hire goes through their first-day checklist and requests access to the tools they need to perform work successfully.

Step 6: A new hire has a one-on-one with their direct manager.

SOP Example #4: Sales prospecting

Standardizing sales processes is probably the most challenging task. Different customer personas demand different approaches – this is where SOPs will benefit from a certain extent of flexibility. Therefore, we’ll outline only the most critical aspects of sales prospecting in the following SOP.

Title: Sales – Sales prospecting [Updated 04/25/2023]

Identification: The document was introduced on April 12, 2021, by Edward S. Updates: April 25, 2023 (Edward S.).

Scope: This procedure starts when a sales representative wants to build a prospecting plan for the quarter and ends when prospects turn into opportunities.

Purpose: The procedure explains the key steps towards successful sales prospecting on LinkedIn.

Glossary: 

  • Prospect – a person that matches your buyer persona and might eventually become your customer.
  • Opportunity – a prospect who is most likely to become a customer based on their behavior.
  • Sales Navigator – a sales tool built by LinkedIn.

Procedure

Step 1: A sales manager sets a goal for quarterly sales prospecting. 

Step 2: A sales rep analyzes performance from the previous quarter’s sales prospecting.

Step 3: With the help of Sales Navigator, the sales rep searches for job titles and companies similar to the ones that have shown the best results within the previous campaign. 

Step 4: The sales rep connects with prospects and exports the contacts (see how to export LinkedIn contacts).

Step 5: The sales rep imports contacts into Salesforce (see: how to import accounts into Salesforce).

Step 6: The sales rep starts a nurturing campaign through Salesforce.

Step 7: Based on the campaign results, the sales rep qualifies prospects and turns the qualified ones into opportunities (see: how to create an opportunity in Salesforce).

References:

SOP Example #5: Customer complaint handling

Title: CS – Customer Complaint Handling [Updated 03/15/2023]

Identification: The document was introduced on June 12, 2021, by Ryan N. Updates: March 15, 2023 (Emma S.).

Scope: The document covers all types of complaints coming through the live chat, help desk, community forum, social media, and review websites.

Purpose: This SOP provides guidelines for managing customer complaints and maintaining a positive customer experience.

Glossary: 

  • CS – Customer Support
  • FIN – Finance department
  • BDD – Business Development department

Procedure

Step 1: As soon as a complaint is received, a customer support rep records it in the complaints

register. The record should be kept for four years or until it’s resolved.

Step 2: Any complaint should be acknowledged within three working days, regardless of whether a rep can resolve it immediately or not.

Step 3: A CS rep reviews compliant records to reveal trends and see how the problem was solved previously.

  • Step 3.1.: If they find a successful precedent, they should follow the same procedure. 
  • Step 3.2.: If the complaint is unique and relates to product functionality issues, a CS rep reaches out to the development department for clarification.
  • Step 3.2.: If the complaint is related to legal issues or payments, a CS rep contacts BDD and FIN.

Step 4: If the complaint is found to be correct, the CS rep takes appropriate corrective action to recover the customer experience. 

Step 5: If the complaint is made public, the CS rep apologizes publicly to restore the brand's reputation.

SOP Example #6: Incident management

Title: IT – Incident Management [07/22/2020]

Identification: The document was introduced on June 12, 2020, by Jim F.

Scope: The SOP's scope includes the activities required to diagnose the causes of incidents and identify solutions to those problems. Incident management also involves maintaining information about issues and the appropriate resolutions.

Purpose: The SOP aims to restore normal operation as fast as possible. The final goal of the procedure is to reduce the number of incidents over time.

Glossary:

  • Incident managementthe process of responding to IT service disruptions.

Procedure

Step 1: An incident is identified and reported via any communication channel.

Step 2: An incident manager logs the incident and communicates the problem to a tech lead.

Step 3: The tech lead categorizes and prioritizes the incident. They mark it as critical, high, medium or low.

Step 4: A tech team with relevant expertise is assigned. They get down to the incident-resolving process. 

Step 5: The incident is considered resolved and can be closed when the tech team has come up with a workaround or a solution for the issue and the incident manager has approved it.

Step 6: A communications manager informs everyone affected that the incident has been resolved.

SOP Example #7: Freelancer onboarding

Title: HR – Freelancer Onboarding [Updated 09/19/2023]

Identification: Document introduced on September 19, 2023, by Jane D.

Scope: The process from receiving a requirement for a freelancer to their successful onboarding and integration into the project or team.

Purpose: To efficiently and effectively identify, vet, and onboard freelancers who match the team's requirements and align with the company's standards.

Glossary:

  • Portfolio - a collection of previous works to assess skill and style.
  • NDA (Non-Disclosure Agreement) - a legal document ensuring confidentiality.
  • Scope of work - detailed description of the tasks the freelancer is expected to perform.

Procedure

Step 1: Receive and analyze the requirement for a freelancer from the team. Understand the specific skills, experience, and deliverables expected.

Step 2: Draft a comprehensive job description based on the team's needs, specifying deliverables, project duration, and any tools or platforms the freelancer should be proficient in.

Step 3: Share the job on freelancer platforms or niche job boards tailored to specific digital skills.

Step 4: As freelancers apply, request their portfolios and relevant work experiences to gauge their expertise in relation to the team's needs.

Step 5: Review applications, focusing on past work quality, client feedback, and alignment with the team's requirements.

Step 6: Schedule and conduct interviews, possibly including a test task, to further evaluate both their technical expertise and collaboration aptitude.

Step 7: Once the right fit is found, provide them with an NDA to sign if they'll be working with sensitive or proprietary company information.

Step 8: Finalize contract terms that outline the scope of work, payment schedule, deadlines, and other relevant details.

Step 9: Equip the freelancer with any tools, resources, or data essential for the project, ensuring they have everything they need to succeed.

Step 10: Foster open communication channels throughout their engagement.

Step 11: Review and provide feedback on their performance after project completion. If the experience was positive, keep them in mind for future collaborations or recommend them within your network.

📌 ‎Related resource: How To Craft a Tailored Onboarding Experience for Independent Contractors

SOP Example #8: Processing customer refunds

Title: Customer Support – Processing Customer Refunds [Updated 09/20/2023]

Identification: Originally introduced on February 05, 2023, by Samuel P. Updated on September 20, 2023, by Alex L.

Scope: This SOP outlines the steps from when a customer initiates a refund request to the final processing and communication of the decision to the customer.

Purpose: To ensure timely, accurate, and consistent management of all refund requests, fostering customer trust and upholding brand integrity.

Glossary:

  • Refund ticket - a formal customer request or notification for a refund.
  • Transaction ID - a unique identifier for each transaction.

Procedure

Step 1: Log the refund request. Enter all pertinent details (customer's name, purchase specifics, refund reason) into the CRM upon receiving it.

Step 2: Authenticate the transaction. Cross-check the transaction ID within the payment gateway or system to validate the transaction.

Step 3: Cross-reference the refund policy. Ascertain the request complies with the company's refund criteria regarding timing, product status, etc.

Step 4: Engage the customer. If further details are required, or the refund isn't clear-cut, establish communication with the customer.

Step 5: Decide on the refund. Based on policy alignment and the stated reason, conclude. If rejected, offer a transparent explanation.

Step 6: Execute the refund. If sanctioned, kick off the refund through the payment gateway or finance team, ensuring the correct amount is returned.

Step 7: Update the CRM. Tag the refund ticket as 'completed' and add any relevant remarks or details.

Step 8: Inform the customer. Send a communication to notify the customer of their refund status. If approved, offer a refund receipt timeline.

Step 9: Oversight and feedback. Track refunds and their reasons to identify trends, potentially indicating broader product or service concerns. Regularly reevaluate and, if need be, adjust the refund guidelines.

SOP Example #9: Website content updates

Title: Marketing – Website Content Updates [Updated 09/21/2023]

Identification: Originally introduced on March 15, 2023, by Rachel M. Updated on September 21, 2023, by Liam K.

Scope: This SOP pertains to the systematic update and management of website content to ensure its relevance, accuracy, and alignment with the brand's latest messaging.

Purpose: To facilitate timely content revisions on the website, ensuring that visitors and potential customers always encounter fresh, relevant, and engaging information.

Glossary:

  • CMS (Content Management System) - a software used to manage digital content.
  • Staging environment - a clone of the live website to test changes.

Procedure

Step 1: Initiate website content review. Periodically or when needed, inspect the content, especially on high-traffic pages.

Step 2: Document requested changes or additions from departments or stakeholders.

Step 3: Create or modify the content, ensuring alignment with the brand voice and SEO optimization.

Step 4: Upload and preview the new content in a staging environment to ensure it displays correctly.

Step 5: Get approval. Review the content with the necessary stakeholders, typically the marketing and/or brand team.

Step 6: Implement the updates on the actual website via the CMS.

Step 7: Review the site across browsers and devices once live to ensure proper display and responsiveness.

Step 8: After some time, collect analytics and user feedback on the changes. Adjust if necessary.

Step 9: Log details of the content change, the date, and responsible parties in a centralized website content update tracker.

SOP Example #10: Processing vendor invoices

Title: Finance – Processing Vendor Invoices [Updated 09/21/2023]

Identification: Originally introduced on February 8, 2023, by Aisha L. Updated on September 21, 2023, by Carlos V.

Scope: This SOP outlines the precise steps to handle, check, and pay invoices from vendors.

Purpose: To make sure we always pay vendors correctly and on time. This helps keep a good relationship with them.

Glossary:

  • Invoice - a bill from the vendor that shows what they provided and how much it costs.
  • PO (Purchase Order) - an official order to the vendor. It tells them what we want to buy and at what price.

Procedure

Step 1: Get the invoice. We can receive invoices by email or mail.

Step 2: Match the invoice. Check the invoice against the PO to see if the items, amounts, and prices are correct.

Step 3: Look for mistakes. If the PO and invoice don't match, contact the vendor to sort it out.

Step 4: Put in the details. Once everything is correct, enter the invoice info into the ERP or accounting system.

Step 5: Choose a date to pay based on when we usually pay or what we agreed with the vendor.

Step 6: Pay by bank transfer, check, or any other method we use.

Step 7: Save a copy of the invoice with notes about when and how we paid.

Step 8: Let the vendor know we've paid and share any proof of payment if needed.

Step 9: Ensure the ERP or accounting records match our bank statements periodically.

SOP Example #11: Office equipment maintenance

Title: Facilities – Office Equipment Maintenance [Updated 09/21/2023]

Identification: Created by Karen M. on March 15, 2023. Later refined by Steven J. on September 21, 2023.

Scope: This SOP provides a structured approach to regularly maintain and inspect office equipment, ensuring that everything runs efficiently and reduces unexpected downtimes.

Purpose: To outline a clear and systematic procedure for the maintenance and inspection of office equipment, ensuring minimized downtimes, extended equipment lifespan, and a safe working environment for all team members.

Glossary:

  • PM (Preventive Maintenance) - regularly scheduled maintenance to prevent equipment failure.
  • Logbook - a record where all equipment checks and maintenance tasks are noted.

Procedure

Step 1: Inventory all equipment, noting model, serial number, and purchase date.

Step 2: Set a regular preventive inspection schedule based on manufacturer guidelines and usage.

Step 3: Train staff on basic equipment care and preventive maintenance.

Step 4: Follow manufacturer guidelines for cleaning and essential maintenance.

Step 5: Calibrate equipment needing precision, like printers or scanners.

Step 6: Address minor issues immediately; report significant problems to the repair team.

Step 7: Ensure a suitable environment - appropriate temperature, no direct sunlight, and good ventilation.

Step 8: Keep a maintenance logbook for each item, recording service dates and parts replaced.

Step 9: Periodically review logs to spot patterns or equipment that might need replacement.

Step 10: Conduct an annual evaluation of the maintenance process for improvements.

Step 11: Encourage staff to report equipment issues promptly.

SOP Example #12: Employee expense reimbursement

Title: Finance – Employee Expense Reimbursement [Updated 09/19/2023]

Identification: Document introduced on September 19, 2023, by Alex R.

Scope: Covers the entire process of employees submitting their business-related expenses for reimbursement.

Purpose: To provide a seamless, transparent, and standardized method for employees to get reimbursed for official expenditures, ensuring financial integrity and accountability.

Glossary:

  • Receipt - a proof of purchase or payment.
  • Claim form - a document used by employees to list their expenses.

Procedure

Step 1: Ensure the expense incurred is aligned with the company's expense policy.

Step 2: Collect and safely store all related receipts or proofs of purchase.

Step 3: Complete the claim form with detailed information about each expense.

Step 4: Attach or scan all relevant receipts, ensuring their clarity and legibility.

Step 5: Submit the claim form and receipts through the designated expense management system or to the finance department.

Step 6: The finance team reviews and verifies the claim against the company's policy.

Step 7: If there are discrepancies or clarifications needed, the finance team contacts the employee.

Step 8: Once approved, the reimbursement amount is processed for payment.

Step 9: Payment is made through the preferred method, such as bank transfer or check.

Step 10: The finance team updates the ERP system, marking the claim as settled.

Step 11: The employee is notified about the payment, and a copy of the claim is stored for auditing purposes.

SOP Example #13: Employee appraisal

Title: HR – Employee Appraisal Process [Updated 09/20/2023]

Identification: Document introduced on September 20, 2023, by Sara P.

Scope: Covers the entire process of conducting an employee performance review from preparation to conclusion and follow-up.

Purpose: To systematically evaluate and provide feedback on an employee's performance over a specified period, fostering growth, alignment with organizational goals, and ensuring consistent standards.

Glossary:

  • Appraisal form - a document detailing employee achievements, areas of improvement, and goals.
  • Review period - the time frame for which the appraisal is being conducted, typically annually or semi-annually.

Procedure

Step 1: HR announces the appraisal schedule, providing a timeline for each phase.

Step 2: Employees are provided with appraisal forms to complete a self-assessment detailing their achievements and setting future goals.

Step 3: Managers review their respective team members' performance metrics and accomplishments.

Step 4: Employees submit the self-assessment form to their direct supervisor.

Step 5: Managers conduct one-on-one appraisal discussions with each team member, discussing the past year's performance and aligning on future expectations.

Step 6: Feedback from peers or cross-functional teams, if applicable, is incorporated into the appraisal.

Step 7: Managers complete the appraisal form, noting areas of improvement and setting future goals in agreement with the employee.

Step 8: The finalized appraisal form is submitted to the HR department for documentation and processing.

Step 9: Based on appraisal outcomes, HR, in consultation with department heads, determines promotions, bonuses, or training needs.

Step 10: Employees are informed about their appraisal results, salary increments, and potential career growth opportunities.

Step 11: HR documents the appraisal for record-keeping and tracks any follow-up actions such as training sessions or mentorship programs.

SOP Example #14: Handling new sales lead

Title: Sales – Managing New Sales Lead [Updated 09/20/2023]

Identification: Document introduced on September 20, 2023, by Alex R.

Scope: From receiving a new sales lead's information to establishing the first meaningful contact with them.

Purpose: To ensure that every new sales lead is approached consistently, efficiently, and effectively.

Glossary:

  • Lead - an individual or entity showing interest in the product or service.
  • Acknowledgment - the initial response sent to a lead after they've shown interest.

Procedure

Step 1: Record the new lead's details in the CRM as soon as received.

Step 2: Assess the lead's information to check its alignment with the ideal customer profile.

Step 3: Send a thank-you or acknowledgment email within 24 hours to confirm the receipt of their interest.

Step 4: Assign the lead to a sales representative best suited to handle their specific requirements or queries.

Step 5: The assigned sales representative should conduct a quick research on the lead (if applicable) to understand their needs better.

Step 6: Within 48 hours of receiving the lead, the sales representative should make the first contact through a phone call or a personalized email.

Step 7: Document all interactions and details discussed during this first contact in the CRM.

Step 8: If the lead shows a keen interest during this first contact, schedule a follow-up discussion to delve deeper into their needs and how the product or service can cater to them.

💡 ‎Check out our list of the best Standard Operating Procedure Software for sales

SOP Example #15: Conducting an all-hands meeting

Title: Operations – Conducting an All-Hands Meeting [Updated 09/20/2023]

Identification: Document introduced on September 20, 2023, by Alex R.

Scope: The process from planning an all-hands meeting to its successful execution.

Purpose: To ensure all-hands meetings are organized and conducted in a structured manner, enabling clear communication and fostering team alignment.

Glossary:

  • All-hands meeting - a company-wide gathering where leadership shares business updates, achievements, and future goals.
  • Agenda - a list of topics or activities in the order in which they will be addressed or performed.
  • Minutes - a record of the proceedings of a meeting.

Procedure

Step 1: Determine the need for an all-hands meeting. Whether it's quarterly updates or crucial changes, pinpoint why everyone needs to come together.

Step 2: Lock in a date and time that works for the majority. Avoid clashes with other key events or holidays.

Step 3: Secure an appropriate venue or virtual platform. Ensure it can accommodate everyone, whether they're in the office or working remotely.

Step 4: Craft a relevant agenda. Distribute it a week in advance, allowing team members to contribute topics or questions.

Step 5: Handle logistics. Test all technical equipment, like projectors or microphones, beforehand to avoid last-minute hiccups.

Step 6: Kick off the meeting promptly. Lead with a brief introduction before diving into the agenda items.

Step 7: Make room for a Q&A session towards the end to address team queries or concerns directly.

Step 8: Assign someone the task of taking minutes. Capture the key outcomes, decisions, and future action items.

Step 9: Share the minutes with the team, including those who couldn't make it. Collect feedback for future refinement.

SOP Example #16: Data backup and recovery

Title: IT – Data Backup and Recovery [Updated 09/20/2023]

Identification: Document introduced on September 20, 2023, by John L.

Scope: The process from identifying data for backup to restoring data after an unexpected event or failure.

Purpose: To ensure that vital company data is regularly backed up, securely stored, and can be quickly restored to maintain business continuity.

Glossary:

  • Backup schedule - predetermined times at which data is backed up.
  • Data restoration - the process of retrieving backed-up data from storage and restoring it to its original or new location.
  • On-site storage - physical storage devices located within the company's premises.

Procedure

Step 1: Identify all critical data that requires regular backup. This includes databases, documents, emails, and application configurations.

Step 2: Determine the appropriate backup frequency (daily, weekly, monthly) based on data criticality and changes made to it.

Step 3: Choose a combination of backup storage solutions. It's best to have both on-site storage for quick access and cloud storage for disaster recovery.

Step 4: Implement encryption and security measures to protect backed-up data from unauthorized access.

Step 5: Schedule automated backups based on the decided frequency. Ensure that the backups are taken during off-peak hours to minimize disruptions.

Step 6: Regularly verify the integrity of the backups. This can be done by performing test restorations to ensure data is retrievable and intact.

Step 7: Maintain a record of all backup activities, including dates, data size, storage location, and any issues encountered.

Step 8: In case of data loss, evaluate the cause and extent of the failure before initiating the recovery process.

Step 9: Choose the most recent and relevant backup version for recovery, considering the cause of data loss.

Step 10: Restore the data to its original location or a new location if necessary. Once restored, verify the integrity and completeness of the data.

Step 11: After a successful recovery, analyze the event's cause and take preventive measures to avoid similar incidents in the future.

SOP Example #17: Product returns and exchanges

Title: Customer Service – Product Returns and Exchanges [Updated 09/21/2023]

Identification: Document introduced on September 21, 2023, by Alex M.

Scope: The process from a customer initiating a return or exchange request to successfully completing the request.

Purpose: To ensure a smooth, efficient, and customer-friendly approach to handling product returns and exchanges, enhancing customer trust and loyalty.

Glossary:

  • Return Merchandise Authorization (RMA) - a system for tracking product returns and ensuring the right items are returned.
  • Restocking fee - a fee charged to the customer, often deducted from the refund amount, if the returned item shows signs of use.
  • Exchange window - the period during which a product can be exchanged after purchase.

Procedure

Step 1: Receive and log the customer's return/exchange request.

Step 2: Verify purchase details and check if it is within the exchange window.

Step 3: Determine the return reason; notify the customer of any fees.

Step 4: Provide the RMA number and return instructions.

Step 5: Inspect the returned product for damage or use upon receipt.

Step 6: If exchanging, check stock. If unavailable, inform the customer or suggest alternatives.

Step 7: Process refund or ship the exchanged item.

Step 8: Update inventory or sales records post-transaction.

Step 9: Confirm completion to the customer, ensuring satisfaction.

Step 10: Gather and assess any feedback for improvements.

Step 11: Monitor return/exchange trends to identify potential product issues.

SOP Example #18: Feedback on design deliverables

Title: Marketing Team – Feedback on Design Deliverables [Updated 09/21/2023]

Identification: Document introduced on September 21, 2023, by Taylor L.

Scope: From the submission of design deliverables to the provision and integration of feedback.

Purpose: To provide structured, constructive, and actionable feedback to designers, ensuring consistent, high-quality design outcomes that meet project objectives.

Glossary:

  • Design deliverables - submitted design works ready for review.
  • Annotations - notes or comments added to specific areas of the design.
  • Iteration - a revised version based on feedback.

Procedure

Step 1: Receive submitted design deliverables from the designer or design team.

Step 2: Allocate a set time for the initial review to avoid rush judgments.

Step 3: Review the design in context, considering project goals and user requirements.

Step 4: Use annotations for specific feedback points on the design to provide clarity.

Step 5: Ensure feedback is actionable, constructive, and transparent. Avoid subjective statements without explanations.

Step 6: Include visual examples or references to support feedback if possible.

Step 7: Arrange a feedback session with the designer or design team to discuss notes and ensure mutual understanding if required.

Step 8: Allow designers to ask questions, clarify doubts, or suggest alternative solutions during the session.

Step 9: Agree on a timeline for the next iteration based on the scope of revisions.

Step 10: Upon receipt of revised designs, review changes against feedback points.

Step 11: Recognize and appreciate improvements and continue collaboration till the final design meets the project objectives.

SOP Example #19: Remote team communication

Title: All - Effective Communication for Remote Teams [Updated 09/20/2023]

Identification: Document introduced on September 20, 2023, by Alex P.

Scope: This SOP covers the guidelines and procedures for ensuring effective communication among remote team members across different time zones.

Purpose: To maintain clarity, productivity, and team cohesion regardless of geographical boundaries and ensure that remote work does not hinder the team's efficiency or effectiveness.

Glossary:

  • Synchronous - communication happening in real-time, like video calls or chats.
  • Asynchronous - communication that doesn't require an immediate response, like emails or message boards.

Procedure

Step 1: Determine primary communication tools, categorizing them into synchronous and asynchronous.

Step 2: Set clear guidelines on the specific use of each tool.

Step 3: Establish a regular schedule for team meetings, accommodating different time zones.

Step 4: Encourage video usage during team calls to enhance connection.

Step 5: Maintain a central repository for all team documents and resources.

Step 6: Advocate for regular status updates on communication tools by team members.

Step 7: Implement a standard "response time" etiquette for asynchronous tools.

Step 8: Plan periodic virtual team-building activities.

Step 9: Foster an environment of feedback regarding communication processes.

Step 10: Regularly evaluate and consider new communication tools.

Step 11: Train new team members on communication protocols and tool access.

📌 ‎Read more: 3 Remote Team Collaboration Rules That Will Save Your Sanity

SOP Example #20: Customer data protection

Title: IT - Effective Management and Protection of Customer Data [Updated 09/21/2023]

Identification: Document introduced on September 21, 2023, by Alex M.

Scope: The process encompasses all measures taken to ensure the safe collection, storage, transfer, and disposal of customer data, keeping it protected from breaches and unauthorized access.

Purpose: To guarantee that all customer data handled by the company is stored securely and in compliance with relevant data protection laws, ensuring trust and building strong customer relationships.

Glossary:

  • Encryption - the process of converting data into code to prevent unauthorized access.
  • Two-factor authentication (2FA) - a security process where the user provides two different authentication factors to verify their identity.
  • GDPR (General Data Protection Regulation) - an EU regulation aiming to give control to individuals over their personal data.

Procedure

Step 1: Train all employees on responsible customer data handling and its significance.

Step 2: Obtain explicit customer permissions during data collection and clarify its purpose.

Step 3: Encrypt sensitive data and use updated security software to prevent potential threats.

Step 4: Activate two-factor authentication on systems containing customer data.

Step 5: Review and adjust the company's privacy policy to align with current regulations.

Step 6: Restrict internal data sharing, allowing access solely for legitimate business needs.

Step 7: Ensure secure data transfer processes, utilizing encryption during all data movements.

Step 8: Conduct regular security audits to identify and address potential vulnerabilities.

Step 9: Implement a prompt response plan for data breaches, including timely notifications to affected parties.

Wh‎en to write an SOP?

Ideally, whenever you spot a repetitive procedure carried out in the workplace, it’s best to standardize and document it right away. But since you and your colleagues have plenty of things to do, building SOP documentation on the go won’t work. 

“Every business is different and will have unique needs when it comes to SOPs. However, in my company, we use them for everything from sales to customer service to onboarding.” — Ronald Miller | Owner & Recruiter, MyCoffeeCity

To maintain an SOP system, allocate time quarterly or every six months to revisit your procedures and write SOPs.

🎓 Related resource: Who Should Write SOPs in Your Organization?

SOP Software

Writing SOPs can take months. With these free SOP software tools, you can speed up the process without breaking the bank.

  • Scribe. The screenshot Chrome extension turns any workflow you perform on your device (browser, mobile or desktop) into a step-by-step guide backed by captions and screenshots. All you need to do is to start the recording and carry out the process. You can turn the resulting guide into an SOP and embed it into your company intranet or knowledge base.
  • Method Grid. The product actually combines knowledge management, task management and process standardization tools under one interface. In its free plan, you can create basic process methodologies and collaborate on them with other team members. It’s a go-to solution for enterprises willing to build interactive SOPs.
  • Keeni. The company also offers a forever-free plan for small businesses looking to build simple SOPs. Free users can access unlimited procedure templates and checklists.

📌 Related resource: Check out 100+ Free SOP Templates That You Can Use Today!

Steal these SOP examples for your team today!

Want to build more productive teams? SOPs help you to standardize and streamline all internal processes. With these SOP examples and free tools, you can build a powerful SOP library that will assist your teams with any task.

Build your own powerful SOPs in half the time with Scribe. Sign up to generate visual SOPs for free!

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