What makes a business profitable and successful? Is it hiring the right employees? Focusing on your most profitable products and services?
What about productivity?
In today’s digital world, we have tools at our fingertips that allow us to do more in our workday, making our people and ultimately our businesses more productive. But where do you start?
Here, we cover why improving productivity is key to your business performance and how you can use technology to increase productivity, efficiency, and profitability.
Why is productivity essential to your business?
Productivity refers to how efficient your personal, team, or business output is. Poor productivity, especially in service businesses, can lead to poor profitability because the cost of delivering your services is higher.
A OnePoll survey found that over a quarter of an employees’ working day is taken up with avoidable administrative tasks. Based on an average workweek of 36.1 hours, eliminating these tasks can give workers over nine hours a week back.
Not only is productivity key to your business, but it’s also important to your employees. If your ability to do your job is hindered by unnecessary processes, outdated technology, or repetitive queries that you have to deal with, you’ll find yourself frustrated and lacking motivation.
Employee satisfaction and productivity are intrinsically linked. Happy workers are more productive, but workers who are given the necessary tools to be productive are also happier. Slow or outdated technology affects worker productivity and morale, with one in five saying they lose focus as a result.
The good news is that technology can also be used to increase employee productivity and morale. Here are three digital tools you can implement to improve your employees’ efficiency.
1. Utilise cloud technology for documents
Have you ever worked collaboratively on a document with colleagues only to end up with multiple versions, not knowing which one is correct? Not only is this hugely frustrating, but it also wastes a lot of valuable time. A public sector employee survey found that 15% of employees say this is their biggest frustration with collaborative working.
As recently as a few years, collaborating on a document was difficult – you’d email it out to the relevant people, and they’d all send back a different version with their own amends. But that doesn’t need to be the case any longer.
With solutions like OneDrive, you can store key documents in a shared cloud location and work on the same version either simultaneously with your colleagues, or separately. These tools also come with version control, so if something goes wrong, you can always roll back those changes.
2. Give your people the power of automation
One of the biggest barriers to productivity is manual, repetitive tasks that get in the way of the really valuable work that requires a human touch. If your business processes contact or application forms from customers for example, manual reviews and approvals can take a lot of unnecessary time.
A tool like Microsoft Power Apps allows your end users to create automation workflows without the need for coding. Once, any sort of automation would either require an expensive plugin solution or coding from your developers, but this is no longer the case. This means your IT team can create automated workflows to reduce manual tasks that are regularly impacting your workforce. Your employees could also create their own solutions, so you can empower them to make their role-specific tasks more productive.
You can create anything from small workflows that automatically assign new leads to the relevant salesperson to larger-scale end-to-end solutions that approve a customer’s housing application and automatically generate the legal documentation. Think about how much time all of this would save and what your people could do with that time.
3. Give your people time back with customer self-service
Human interaction is still critical to customer service. As the use of chatbots has risen, we’ve seen a backlash from customers who want the option to speak to a human. 85% of customer interactions online are now answered by a robot, highlighting the massive increase in chatbot usage. However, it’s key that you balance customer demands with business resources.
Many businesses have jumped in with two feet and implemented chatbots on their websites with no option to speak to a human operator, and that’s one of the most frustrating things for customers. But it doesn’t mean chatbots and automation don’t have a role to play in customer services.
Your approach to customer service should be blended in order to provide your clients with the right support at the right time. Implementing self-service options, like the ability to log a support ticket and chatbots with multiple options for routine queries, will help take repetitive tasks off your customer service team. This, in turn, will allow them to focus on the customers who really do need to speak to someone.
You could start off online enquiries with a chatbot that guides customers through common queries. Then, if their query isn’t on this list, you can transfer them instantly to a human operative. A huge 73% of people find it difficult to continue their query when switching from one channel to another, so this allows you to meet their needs seamlessly.
Productivity is a buzzword that’s thrown about a lot, and its meaning can get lost in the surrounding jargon. Ultimately, it’s about giving your people the tools they need to be able to do their job in a timely and efficient manner. Not only will these productivity tools improve your employees’ output, but they’ll also make your business more efficient and profitable.
By Chris Shields, Sales & Marketing Director at Perfect Image.