Friday, July 19, 2013

How to Improve Productivity for Your Business

You can increase your business' productivity by making just a few small changes in how you think about your business. An answering service, for example, can improve the productivity and profitability of your business. By taking the burden of answering calls off of your team, you can free up their time so that they can spend more time with customers, clients or patients. Other steps to improving productivity in your office or small business include documenting systems and common procedures, delegating tasks, improving training and listening to customers and staff.

Five Tips for Improving Business Productivity

1. Use an answering service to screen and direct calls. An answering service can help you screen and direct important calls 24/7. Instead of letting an impersonal voice mail system receive the call, a personal answering service functions as an intelligent extension of your business. You won't have to check your voice mail periodically but can instead rely upon a trained virtual phone 'assistant' to screen your calls and forward any urgent messages to you, while simultaneously providing a personal response to customer inquiries. In today's automated world, personal interactions with an answering service representative are a mark of distinction and differentiation for the small business, one which your customers are likely to remember positively.

2. Document systems. Most businesses excel at reinventing the wheel. A great deal of time and money is wasted recreating processes and procedures that have already proven effective in your business. Whether it's a system to order office supplies or update your company's website, having written systems, processes and procedures can greatly improve productivity. Just make sure that your entire staff knows where to find the documented systems and processes, or else your team will continue to spend fruitless hours trying to figure out how to find a service technician for the photocopier, request a new office chair, book car service for the CEO or whatever other systems are needed.

3. Delegate tasks. How much of your day is spent answering emails, responding to customer inquiries, or filing papers? Delegate, delegate, delegate! To determine which tasks you can delegate, note your daily tasks and what takes up the most time. If it is a repetitive task, and one which does not require your particular unique skill set, it may be a perfect task to delegate to another employee. If you don't have someone with enough time to tackle the task, consider hiring a virtual assistant for tasks that can be completed online, or an answering service to handle phone calls. Freeing up your time from completing tedious and repetitive tasks enables you to work on more interesting, creating and challenging projects - hopefully those that will add more income to your business' bottom line.

4. Improve training. Productive and profitable workplaces train their employees in the tasks expected of them. Make sure your employees are trained to do their jobs. This may include training on the use of computer systems, training on how you want your telephones answered or customers greeted, or product-specific training so that they're well versed on the intricacies of what your business sells. A productive, profitable business is one in which the entire team is on the same page and able to convey consist information to customers, and that starts with training.

5. Listen and learn. Productivity means saving time, but it can also mean improving your overall business. Your team may have suggestions - listen and learn from them. Solicit their input into areas to improve productivity.

With these five tips, you can start today to improve your business' productivity, and potentially, its profitability, too.

Sylviane Herzog is the Director and writer of Concorde Answering Service which has offices in Los Angeles, CA.

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