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Help your employees help you by giving them the tools they need to work more efficiently.
If you manage a small business, you have a lot on your plate. You’re working to ensure that your business has value in the marketplace while striving to maintain superior customer service and employee satisfaction. There’s a lot on your mind and the minds of your employees, too. Sometimes you’re so busy that you spend most of your time just trying to stay afloat.
It’s easy to become overwhelmed. But with the right tools and mindset, you can move forward. Professional success is largely a mental game, after all. If you believe you are getting things done and doing good work, you probably are. Here’s how to ensure that your team is in the best possible position to effectively manage its time.
Provide tech tools. Give employees software solutions for organizing their projects and increasing efficiency. With the right system, employees can plug important data into their daily and monthly schedules, including meetings and reminders. Once workers complete a sale or address an issue, they can record the data from the interaction so that it is easily accessible the next time they need it.
Make sure there is clear communication. If employees are able to seamlessly share and communicate vital organizational and customer information, they will have a clearer understanding of the big picture. Whether dealing with a customer complaint, a partnership agreement or an internal process issue, getting the right information into the right hands is essential to a timely resolution.
Maintain an updated database of shared customer information, hold weekly team meetings and set the right tone by communicating directly with each member of your team on a regular basis. Do whatever it takes to ensure that there is an excellent stream of communication within your organization. A little extra effort now can save a lot of time in the long run.
Manage employee time with customers. Your employees are the faces and voices of your business. You want each experience they have with a customer to be beneficial and productive for your team and your patrons. Have a process in place that allows staff to route problems to the appropriate people—and make sure everyone knows who should handle what—in order to expedite service. The most efficient way to boost your customer experience is to decrease wait time. When one employee can’t address an issue, he or she should have the tools and information needed to promptly transfer the client to someone who can help.
Cross-train and delegate. Employees who are trained to serve multiple functions for the company can be moved around based on need as the business grows. If the popularity of your product is growing fast, you can reallocate cross-trained employees to help with sales or customer service. If you’ve just released a new product, you can put more people on customer service and training. It’s a great way to both increase efficiency and broaden your workers’ professional development. After all, the most important asset a small business has is its employees.
H. John Oechsle is president and chief executive officer of Swiftpage.
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