As a business owner, you probably brainstorm regularly about ways to save your company money. But have you ever considered mapping out a plan to save time?
Money and time go hand in hand. The more time your employees have on their hands, the more productive they can be. And no one can deny the link between productivity and profitability.
Of course, you don’t want to remove all semblance of what can be called “time wasters.” Water cooler chats, brief coworker text exchanges, and story sharing keep work life lighter and fun. However, if you want to drive up your profit margins, whittling time off routine tasks can be a big help.
Where should you start? Below are four areas of your business that may benefit from some “time-shaving” techniques.
1. Your sales flow.
No matter what kind of selling environment you’re in, the faster you close deals, the better. Unfortunately, too many sales pipelines are clogged with friction points. If you can remove the friction points, your sales flow will improve and your time-to-close will get shorter.
Take the case of financial lenders, for example. A big friction point for customers is waiting for approvals. The more time that passes between their application and a response, the more likely they’ll be to go elsewhere. Even if they like their salesperson, they may start to shop around.
One way to solve this issue would be to leverage a digital solution like Truework to provide instant or near-instant pre-approvals. A speedy pre-approval would tighten the time it takes the prospect to go from “maybe” to “yes.”
Where can you trim some time off your sales process in a similar way? Design a typical customer buying roadmap. Include time estimates between important moments. You should start to see opportunities to trim away excess time. Shortening a sales process by just 5% or 10% could help your sales numbers soar.
2. Your customer support.
Consumers are becoming both more and less demanding when it comes to service expectations. On the one hand, 88% want to hear back from a support representative 15 minutes after making a request. Yet nearly three-quarters of retail buyers said they were fine with self-service options. In other words, you can save time for your employees and customers by providing ways for consumers to help themselves.
According to automated customer communications provider Commbox, over half of most support engagements can be tasked to chatbots. Generally speaking, chatbots serve as frontline assistants to support agents.
Chatbots have the ability to look up customer information, make recommendations, and fetch content. Some can even interpret the sentiment behind what users say or type. Many provide fluency in multiple languages, too.
Another strategy to encourage more consumer self-sufficiency involves publishing a library of how-to and self-help articles, videos, and infographics. People can head to your library first before engaging with your employees, saving your employees’ time for solving more complicated issues.
3. Your routine operational processes.
Routine manual processes chew up countless hours each week. For instance, you may be spending about five hours dealing with payroll taxes in the lead-up to each payday. With 26 pay periods in a year, that adds up to 130 hours—more than three work weeks’ worth of effort.
Chances are good that your organization gets bogged down with plenty of other manual processes as well. Consequently, if you’re able to identify most of them, you may be able to streamline them through the use of automated solutions.
Automation is becoming one of the most reliable ways to save time in the workplace. Thanks to digital technologies, lots of procedures done by human hands can be done by a program. Social media posting comes to mind.
Posting on social sites can be a time-consuming chore, particularly with all the logins. The right social media management software can deploy posts on demand. Though you’ll still have to write the posts, your software can post and even monitor what you’ve written. Everyone on your team wins when they don’t have to worry about not posting enough on your corporate page.
4. Your onboarding process.
When you bring new hires into your business, do you recreate the wheel every time? Creating all your onboarding experiences from scratch may deliver personalization but probably is costing you a lot of team member time.
Standardizing your onboarding can help you ensure that your newest employees all have the same starting point. Though you may need to tweak some aspects of training slightly depending upon the positions being filled, you no doubt have some information that pertains to everyone.
Ask your hiring managers how they approach training now. After speaking in depth with them, look for ways to give your incoming workers a great experience without requiring as much employee time.
An example could be to generate a series of videos that can be reviewed during onboarding. Though you’ll spend time making the videos, your onboarding staff won’t have to repeat the same thing again and again. Alternatively, you may want to set aside specific training times throughout the year to train all relatively new people at once rather than piecemeal. This technique works especially well for training seasonal hires at call centers and retail stores.
Try as you might, you’ll never be able to stop time from marching along. Nevertheless, with some tactical planning, you can take back many hours that would have been unnecessarily squandered.