As a business owner, you likely brainstorm on a regular basis about how to save your company money. But have you ever thought about making a plan to save time?
Money and time go hand in hand. The more free time your employees have, the more productive they can be. And no one can deny relationship between productivity and profitability.
Of course, you don’t want to remove every semblance of what you might call “time wasters”. Water-cooled chats, brief text messaging with colleagues, and story sharing make work life easier and more fun. However, if you want to increase your profit margin, reducing the time spent on routine tasks can be very beneficial.
Where to begin? Below are four areas of your business where some “time saver” techniques can be useful.
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1. Your sales stream.
No matter what sales environment you’re in, the faster you close deals, the better. Unfortunately, too many sales channels are clogged with friction points. If you can eliminate friction points, your sales flow will improve and your time to close will be reduced.
Take, for example, financial lenders. A big problem for clients is waiting for approval. The more time that passes between their statement and response, the more likely they are to move on to another location. Even if they like their seller, they may start looking at them.
One way to solve this problem would be to use digital solution such as Truework to provide instant or near instant pre-approvals. Fast pre-approval will shorten the time it takes for a prospect to go from “maybe” to “yes.”
Where can you similarly reduce time in the sales process? Develop a typical shopping roadmap for customers. Include an estimate of the time between important moments. You should start to see opportunities to cut down on extra time. Shortening the sales process by as little as 5% or 10% can help increase your sales.
2. Your customer support.
Consumers are becoming more and less demanding when it comes to service expectations. On the one hand, 88% want a response from a customer service representative. 15 minutes after application. However, nearly three-quarters of retail shoppers said they were happy with the self-service option. In other words, you can save your employees and customers time by giving consumers ways to help themselves.
A great way to start is by investing in a chatbot built to display conversational AI. According to provider of automated customer communications Commbox, more than half of most support calls are from chatbots. Generally speaking, chatbots serve as helpers for support agents.
Chatbots can search for customer information, make recommendations, and get content. Some may even interpret the mood behind what users say or type. Many also provide fluency in multiple languages.
Another strategy to encourage greater consumer self-sufficiency includes publishing a library of how-to and self-development articles, videos, and infographics. People can head to your library first before interacting with your staff, saving your staff time to deal with more complex issues.
3. Your routine operating processes.
Routine manual processes take up countless hours each week. For example, you can spend about five hours of work with payroll taxes before each paycheck. With 26 pay periods per year, that adds up to 130 hours—more than three work weeks.
Chances are your organization will get bogged down in a lot of other manual processes. Hence, if you can identify most of them, you can optimize them with automated solutions.
Automation is becoming one of the most reliable ways to save time in the workplace. Thanks to digital technologies, many procedures performed by human hands can be performed by a program. Posting on social media comes to mind.
Posting to social sites can be time-consuming, especially with all logins. The right social media management software can post on demand. While you still have to write messages, your software can publish and even track what you have written. Everyone on your team wins when they don’t have to worry about not having enough posts on your corporate page.
4. Your onboarding process.
When you bring new employees into your business, do you re-create the wheel every time? Creating an entire onboarding experience from scratch can provide personalization, but will likely require a lot of time from your team members.
Standardizing onboarding can help you ensure that all of your new hires have the same starting point. While you may need to slightly modify some aspects of your training depending on the positions you fill, you certainly have some information that applies to everyone.
Ask your hiring managers how they approach training now. After talking to them in detail, look for ways to give your new hires a great experience without requiring a lot of employee time.
An example would be creating a series of videos that can be viewed during onboarding. While you’ll spend time making videos, your staff won’t have to repeat the same thing over and over again. Alternatively, you can set aside specific training times throughout the year to teach all relatively new people all at once rather than piecemeal. This method works particularly well for training seasonal employees in call centers and retail stores.
No matter how hard you try, you can never stop the passage of time. However, with some tactical planning, you can reclaim many hours that would have been wasted.