When was the last time you took at long hard look at your operational efficiency and its impact on your sales success? We all talk with our clients about the fact that “engaged” employees are more “productive” and lead to “improved bottom-line results.” The benefit programs we deliver are tools enabling that success. However, when are we, if ever, put under the same looking glass? Internal and external resources in our own organizations impact our ability to be productive, to achieve results, and financial success.
So let's start with some basics. Document all internal workflow procedures. What is your client on-boarding process? How seamless is it? Are each of your team members capable and willing to execute the tasks you require of them? A lack of consistency, clarity and cohesiveness can lead to confusion, lost time, and increased errors. That ultimately costs money and negatively impacts your client relationships. As part of this exercise, best practices will surface, which will make the whole team more effective and efficient. And don't forget the positive impact that streamlined, standardized procedures can have on the customer's experience and therefore retention.
Consider automating as many procedures as possible. Leveraging technology solutions to gain efficiencies is a great way to improve customer service levels while simultaneously improving profitability.
You may decide to create your own proprietary software solutions in-house, or you may license or purchase solutions created by a third-party vendor. Regardless, make sure you USE the technology once you have it in place. I cannot tell you the number of firms that have spent thousands on technology solutions, only to allow them to sit un-used while old ingrained operational habits continue to rule. And, any change must begin at the top and be all encompassing. Every person in the organization must embrace change; otherwise it will never truly take hold and benefit the organization. As a business owner, you will see positive results: improved response time, a reduction in errors, more complete client and customer data, and more cross-selling opportunities. If done correctly, the application of technology should pay for itself several times over, and put you and your team more in control of your business.
I am interested in how many of you have gone through any type of efficiency analysis in your organization? What was the end result? In what areas were you able to achieve the most success? Which may have failed, even given the realization that your process was not optimal? Share in the comments.
Beattie is president and chief executive of South Miami, Fla.-based Selden Beattie Benefit Advisors. She can be reached at 305-661-9090 or email@example.com.
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