Business efficiency is so important because an efficient business is considerably more likely to be a successful business. Organisations running at maximum efficiency have lower operating costs, better-outlined business processes, higher revenue per employee and essentially, make more money! By improving organisational efficiency, company leaders can also make the recruitment process smoother, reduce employee turnover, grow and scale more quickly and offer better customer service overall, making your organisation a better place to work.
There are a few different types of business efficiency. Some common types you might hear about as a small business owner include employee efficiency, financial efficiency, operational efficiency, inventory turnover ratio, asset turnover and many more.
In this post, we’ll be taking a look at employee efficiency and operational efficiency first and foremost, with our tips categorised into four key areas:
By looking at these four areas and following some of our tips, you can work towards an increase in efficiency, improve your customer service and increase the percentage of revenue going back into the business or to stakeholders to expand business growth.
There are thousands of different ways to improve business efficiency, and different companies will have different methods that work for them. It’s all dependent on the kind of work you do, the budget you have, the way your team is structured, the personality of your employees, the size of your business, the sectors and industries you work in – the list goes on!
Meetings that get off track are a huge culprit in stealing chunks of the day from both business owners and employees. Meetings are sometimes necessary and are often the quickest way to solve a problem, but only if they are efficient meetings.
Having an agenda in place for all meetings ensures that you have a framework for discussion and that nothing that needs to be brought to the table gets forgotten. It also makes sure you don’t veer off course when it comes to talking about less important issues, or issues that need their own points of discussion too.
In-person communication was historically the preferred way to speak to our co-workers, but the COVID-19 pandemic and the rise in remote and hybrid working showed millions of businesses that this isn’t always the most efficient way of doing things.
While there is some debate over the effectiveness of meetings via Zoom, Google Hangouts, FaceTime and other video-calling software when it comes to creative brainstorming, evidence also shows that decision-making might actually be improved by working online.
Meeting online also massively cuts down on travel time for employees, increasing the amount of time they can spend using their skill sets, rather than driving or sitting on buses, trains, and planes. For sales teams, in particular, being able to do their work from a central location, rather than travelling regionally, nationally, or even internationally, massively improves their efficiency.
The Pomodoro Technique is a time-management and productivity technique that breaks up the work day into smaller, more manageable chunks, with mandatory breaks in between. Using the Pomodoro technique, you break your workday into 25-minute blocks, followed by short five to ten-minute breaks. These half-hour intervals are called pomodoros, and after four of them (or three or five, depending on how you’re feeling), you take a break of 15 to 20 minutes to decompress a bit more before starting the cycle all over again.
The Pomodoro technique is so effective as it gives you short intervals in which you can completely focus, without distractions. As the chunks are quite short, it is easier to delay distractions like picking up your phone, grabbing a coffee or chatting to your neighbour until your set breaks, where this kind of thing is encouraged!
Lovers of the Pomodoro technique say it gives them much more clarity and focus when they are working, and helps them feel less tired after having completed a work day, while still accomplishing a lot more than they would independently.
It might make sense on the surface for a business to have its employees always be available to their colleagues. After all, being available all the time allows everyone to get their questions answered quickly, which must be more efficient, right?
In reality, being unable to “switch off” from others in the office can hinder productivity much more than it can help it! If your team are always being asked questions and interrupted, it can be almost impossible to get into a flow and make any headway on the big projects they’ve been trying to get cracking on for days. This results in longer deadlines, delays and inefficiencies within individual employees’ workdays.
By having a Do Not Disturb system in place, team members can sit down and properly focus on the task at hand, without other, less urgent requests coming through all the time. Setting out a schedule of time when team members need to be available and time when they can switch off and get their heads down helps to better plan work and increase efficiency on an individual and organisational level.
Multitasking is a key part of many roles, but it isn’t very conducive to efficiency. When you or your team members multitask, you’re only giving part of your mental energy to each thing, which means that both (or more) of the tasks you’re working on will take longer. While multitasking is inevitable in the modern workplace at times, if you have big tasks that need your focus, try to remove any distractions and work on just that task before switching to something else.
When implementing new business efficiency measures, you have to be ready for some of them not to work. What works for some individuals, teams and organisations, will not work for all of them. Making changes on the grounds of business efficiency without then looking at how the changes affect the individuals in your business is a recipe for disaster!
Before making any changes to your business processes, take stock of your current efficiency levels, techniques and models. This will allow you to track progress and understand where efficiency gains come from when they appear. By measuring efficiency and checking in on progress, you’ll also be able to understand which aspects of efficiency you need to improve on further, and which business functions are working well for you.
When it comes to improving business efficiency, individual levels of productivity is an excellent place to start. If your team are struggling to self-motivate, are coming up against organisational roadblocks that mean they can’t do their work, are being micromanaged, are being treated poorly, or don’t have a sense of purpose, their productivity will naturally be lower. If this is happening on an individual level, the chances are it is also happening team-wide, so as a business owner, removing these barriers to your team’s productivity is absolutely essential.
Motivated employees are productive employees, and productive employees make an efficient business, so it’s important to take into account the human aspects of your organisation as well as the operational aspects when examining efficiency.
One of the key motivators for employees doing their best work is simple: Do they enjoy coming to work?
Job satisfaction can come in many different forms, including:
This is, of course, not an exhaustive list, and it’s worth thinking about what a positive working environment looks like for your team. Is it a pleasant physical office space? Is it a wide scope of work, or opportunities to become highly specialised? Is it a friendly, chatty, extroverted team environment? Is it an environment where team members can put their heads down and focus? Are team members getting enough recognition for their efforts?
Hybrid working and flexible working have become exceptionally popular in recent years. As a huge number of businesses were forced to work in a hybrid or remote fashion due to the COVID-19 pandemic, organisations began to realise the ways flexible working can improve productivity and efficiency.
Flexible working patterns allow individual team members to work when and where is best for them – we all have our own natural patterns and times that work best for us, so why not let people work with them, instead of against them?
It can be really hard to give up control, especially as a small business owner. This is your baby after all!
However, one of the best things you can do for efficiency is teaching your team to self-manage, and then letting them do it. Nothing slows productivity – for both employees and leaders – like micromanagement does. When you micromanage, you demotivate your team. They feel like they can’t grow and aren’t trusted with their basic job functions. They feel their skills are underestimated and undervalued. They leave their role and you have to spend time finding, hiring, and training their replacement.
Not to mention, you’re spending huge amounts of time checking on team members, monitoring their work and doing things outside your job remit, which you really don’t need to be doing.
It can be hard, but letting go and letting your employees do their jobs independently and self-sufficiently (or helping them get the skills they need to do so), will save everyone a massive amount of time.
If team members are able to be self-sufficient, in a lot of cases this can also prevent the need for additional employees within middle management, saving you money on additional staff members.
Nothing feels worse than a completely unattainable goal.
If your team are looking at a goal with no possible win in sight, they’re likely to give up before they’ve even started. And for good reason! If there is no possible way they can win, why should they put in the effort to try?
Using SMART objectives (or one of many other goal-setting models) and collaborating with your team on what realistic and feasible targets are will save you a lot of hassle in the long run, as well as motivate your team to do their best work in order to reach those targets.
Something that can easily be lost in the day-to-day hustle and bustle of work in a small business is the all-important question:
“Why are we doing this?”
Especially when you’re building a team around you, having values and purpose is one of the best motivators around. Your values can be almost anything, from “being the biggest seller of X in the world” to “helping Y feel a little bit better” to “building a community around Z”.
But having these values isn’t enough. You need to communicate them. And you need to communicate them consistently. Every single person in your business should know about your values and your mission and subscribe to them. Without these values, what are they working for?
As a business owner, you’re putting your heart and soul into your company, but your staff aren’t. It’s not their capital or their reputation on the line, it’s yours. If that is what motivates you, brilliant! But if you’re building a team around as you grow your business, they need motivation too.
So, think about your values and your mission as a team, and then make sure everyone knows them, understands them, and believes in them.
There is no shame in asking for help when you need it. If you feel like you’ve been making changes to improve efficiency and nothing is sticking, it might be time to seek the advice of an expert. This might involve hiring someone internally to take hold of your operations, finances and/or HR to improve efficiency, or working with a consultant, freelancer or outsourcing company to get advice.
It might seem like a counterintuitive approach to structure the problem-solving process, as every problem is different! Often, when we encounter a problem, we work to solve it as quickly as possible but this can mean that we miss the actual root of the issue. While the immediate problem is solved, it’s likely the same issue will come up again and you’ll have to spend more time and energy sorting the same problem another time!
Implementing structured problem-solving means that your problems get solved not just in the short term, but going forward as well. Some key elements of a structured problem-solving process include:
By working on problems this way, you can clear the air the first time, and improve business efficiency overall, regardless of where your problem might lie.
It’s very easy, even in the modern world of remote and hybrid working, to get stuck in unnecessary meetings. This is a massive time-eater and a real hit to personal and organisational efficiency in many cases.
One of the best things you can do is encourage your team (and yourself) to push back on meetings and ask if your presence is really needed. A lot of the time, people will send meeting invites as a failsafe, or to make sure you feel included, when your input might well not be needed!
This isn’t to say meetings are a bad thing! Sometimes the best way to solve an issue or work through a project is through a face-to-face meeting. When looking at business efficiency, however, finding ways to cut down on the amount of time you spend in meetings can be a godsend.
It’s easy to solve problems when they are clearly communicated by your team. However, you can’t always count on this being the case. There are many reasons that employees might not feel comfortable raising certain issues, such as:
Through doing anonymous surveys, you can quickly see the ways that different areas of your business operate, where issues may be arising more frequently, understand overall employee satisfaction and engagement levels and much more. As the survey is anonymous, respondents can feel much more confident when writing their responses and are far more likely to be truthful in their answers.
This rule is a simple one and one that can be implemented company-wide pretty easily! If a task, request, chat or piece of admin can be completed in under two minutes, do it straight away.
This won’t work for every business and every employee, as it can validate distractions and take people away from their core tasks. However, if you have a role that requires you to be nimble, agile and to jump between tasks regularly, the two-minute rule can help prevent things from being lost, forgotten, or piling up into an unmanageable pile!
Individual workflows can offer a lot of insight into productivity and where efficiency bottlenecks lie. By having individuals track their tasks using task tracking or project management software, you can instantly see where time is being spent most, any areas where more time is being taken up than it should, as well as identify bottlenecks where work falls behind schedule.
For example, if you were finding that your creatives or developers are regularly missing deadlines, you might be inclined to push those teams harder. However, the root of the issue might actually be that they are not getting the information they need to deliver their work on time, pushing everything else back. Workflow and task management software will tell you this instantly, so you’re better able to identify the root of the issue.
Outsourcing is sometimes seen as a quick fix or less effective alternative to carrying out tasks in-house, but this really isn’t the case. Particularly in small businesses, all of your team members will need to wear different hats, including some they don’t feel particularly confident in. This can lead to poor performance in some areas through no fault of the employee – it’s simply not what they were hired to do!
Customer service is a great example of where outsourcing can be done incredibly effectively. Marketing managers, salespeople, project managers and other roles all often find themselves in the position of customer service rep in smaller organisations, when this isn’t the role they signed up for and isn’t the best use of their skills. Outsourcing business functions like customer service allows your team to get on with the work you hired them to do and make the best possible impact on your business as a whole.
At alldayPA we’ve been helping UK-based small businesses with their customer service for over 20 years. We’re specialists in working with SMEs and act as the front line of your customer service team when it is difficult for you to do it in-house. From call answering, appointment booking and virtual switchboard services to complete outsourced customer service with social media management and online chat support included, we’re on hand to help you, whatever your needs are.
The saying goes that “you have to spend money to make money”, and this has never been more true than when examining business efficiency. Investing in the tools your business and your team need in order to work effectively will almost always help to make them more efficient in the long run.
Some tools can be expensive, and for small businesses where every penny counts, this can be a tough pill to swallow. It might seem like you’re adding too much to the “input” side of the business efficiency equation. However, the results of investing in tools that really work for your team can’t be underestimated, and you’ll likely see the “output” side of the scale balance your investment out, and then some!
We’re exceptionally lucky to be living and working in a time when technology is growing and changing so rapidly. Today’s technological developments allow organisations to automate a huge number of business functions, which saves you time and, in turn, money.
Like outsourcing, automation allows your team to spend more time on the key functions of their role, without wasting time on additional tasks that can be carried out more quickly and more effectively by a machine.
Cloud-based tools are a godsend for productivity and efficiency. They allow users to easily share and collaborate on documents and work, as well as share files company-wide quickly and easily. There is a reduced risk of loss of files or data, and your files can be organised both individually and collaboratively online. In addition, your files are accessible from any device, reducing the amount you may need to spend on hardware or IT.
Cloud-based applications and software are also more secure than ever, with a huge number of organisations trusting cloud applications with their files, data and operations. Even organisations dealing with sensitive data can utilise cloud technologies to improve their business efficiency.
The advantage of project management software is that it can give you an incredibly transparent view of your real efficiency at a high level using all-important efficiency metrics, as well as more granular metrics.
As well as being able to check in with individual workflows, these softwares will show you the efficiency of full teams, allow you to identify themes across projects and better compare your organisational input vs. organisational output.
Understanding the demand for your products and services can help you better predict your workload, and therefore improve your business efficiency. When you’re better able to forecast for your business, you’re also better able to manage your input resources.
Forecasting tools can be created in-house for many businesses, but this does require an investment of time. You can also work with third-party tools
Staffing, outsourcing budgets, overtime budgets, tools and other capacity-based metrics are input metrics that can be over or under-utilised, resulting in reduced business efficiency each time. By accurately predicting demand, you can minimise these budget discrepancies and ensure you’re using the resources available to you as effectively as possible.
At alldayPA, we’ve been helping small businesses all over the UK improve their business efficiency for over 20 years. We’re passionate about customer service and have a range of skills that small businesses can utilise to improve their business efficiency and optimise input vs output. To find out more please don’t hesitate to get in touch with our team!
If you are looking for a comprehensive guide on how to use, develop, and optimise social media for business, you have come to the right place.
This guide comes to you from our social media experts, who will cover all you need to know about:
Even better, alldayPA can take over managing your social media profiles and responding to your messages, making it as hassle-free as possible for all small businesses and sole traders.
Social media marketing is a crucial aspect of every business’s digital marketing strategy. Business profiles will be set up on the most popular social media channels to support your overall marketing strategy, helping you to achieve your every business goal. However, by no means is it just a case of setting up profiles on social media platforms and calling it a day – you must have an effective social media marketing strategy.
The best social media marketing strategy involves updating, maintaining, and optimising your image and content, making sure your content is consistent with your branding, being responsive to comments and messages, and ensuring that you are engaging with your audience.
The success of your social media strategy can be measured using specific metrics and analytics, which look at your follower count, interactions, engagement, and how well your content is performing in comparison to previous content. This allows you to measure and track quantifiable data to optimise your profiles and increase your reach.
Now that you know exactly what social media marketing is, let us move on to why social media for business is so important – whether you are a business owner of a B2B company or B2C company inclusively. As social media is so flexible and versatile – and, even more importantly, free to use! – the range of benefits social media brings to businesses is seemingly endless.
With this in mind, the team here at alldayPA has selected just a few examples of the most important advantages of using social media marketing for your business.
Whether it is academic engagement or customer engagement, your social media content has the opportunity to increase your audience engagement. It can be used alongside other types – such as blog posts and landing pages – to drive engagement of current customers, and potential customers, as well as increase your customer base.
Following on from the above, business social media can be used to support long-form content, driving traffic to your website. Whether you use a funky graphic to advertise your latest blog post or produce content to support a new product launch, you can include a link back to the appropriate page on your website. Making the customer journey as easy as possible can not only drive traffic to your website but also increase conversions.
Another benefit of linking back to your website is that it can generate new leads and customers, making it one of the most enticing business strategies. Including a call to action (CTA), contact button, a link to book an appointment, or a link back to your products is simple, easy, and cost effective; it is a particularly savvy way to generate leads as a sole trader, startup, or small company due to its high return on investment (ROI) and little time or capital cost.
Yet another benefit of improving the customer journey is increased customer satisfaction. Instead of having to search through multiple channels to find what they need, if you have links back to your other profiles, products, services, contact page, landing pages, and so on, you will have saved them time and stress. This shows that you value them and are committed to giving them the best experience possible.
Social media also gives you the opportunity to increase customer satisfaction by addressing their concerns, fixing their problems, and generally improving your processes and customer services. Again, this is another way that you can evidence prioritising customer experience and satisfaction above all else.
Social media will give your business a voice and, more importantly, a face. This will humanise your brand, making it more relatable. By having the opportunity to give your opinions and interact with your audience, you will become more approachable and familiar, as customers will find it easier to connect and build a relationship with you. As you can connect on a personal level with your customers this way, building a relationship will lead to increased trust in your brand – which brings us to our next point: customer loyalty.
By building trust with your customers, and a personal relationship, customers are more likely to take your recommendations and respond to your CTAs. As customers trust you, they are also more likely to be loyal to your company and recommend you to their friends and family. In fact, brands that have an emotional connection with their audience typically receive three times more recommendations than those that do not.
Word of mouth is one of the most effective tools in your arsenal: 92% of people trust recommendations from friends, and 74% are likely to purchase from a brand recommended by an influencer. Thus, fostering a sense of trust and loyalty can have a huge impact on your sales.
Social media can also be utilised as a customer service platform – an extension of your email, telephone, and live chat customer services. Research has shown that 33% of customers want to get their issue resolved in one interaction, no matter how long it takes, and 31% value a knowledgeable customer service representative.
Unlike phone calls and instant messaging, answering customer queries over social media gives the customer service agent more time to understand the problem at hand, as there are few time constraints. This allows the agent to answer the questions in one interaction, or ask another agent more qualified to answer the message, in a single interaction without the customer having to be transferred from one representative to the next.
In 2019, around 72% of online consumers used social media to discover new products, and 36% made a purchase directly from social media. As social media users are steadily growing, predicted to increase worldwide from 3.6 billion in 2020 to almost 4.41 billion by 2025, it is only logical that the number of people finding and buying products on social media will increase too.
As of 2022, social media users also spent an average of 147 minutes per day on social network platforms. With all of these statistics in mind, it is clear that social media for business has the potential to rapidly increase brand awareness, and increase conversion rates.
Social media allows you to cement your brand as a thought leader in your industry. A thought leader is an expert in the field and the person that people go to for advice and the most up-to-date accurate information. Thus, by sharing your expertise on social media, you have the opportunity to further build trust in your brand.
Whether you like it or not, whether it’s good or bad, the likelihood is that people are already talking about you on social media. Creating your own business social media accounts allows you to take back control of how your brand is portrayed on social media, enhancing the impact of the positive comments, and giving you the opportunity to address any negative feedback.
This will allow you to fully manage your reputation online, responding to everyone in a calm, polite manner, no matter how positive or negative the comments may be. Even if you are getting poor reviews, showing that you address customer concerns and fix the issue will only be an advantage to your business’ reputation, as it shows that you are attentive to your customers’ needs and value their feedback.
One thing the coronavirus pandemic – and the last few years in general – has taught us is how important it is to be responsive and adaptive when faced with a crisis. Social media can be utilised to inform your audience about the measures you have in place to ensure your business runs smoothly in the event of any disaster.
In addition to this, 71% of consumers place a large amount of emphasis on buying from companies that share the same values as them. In the case of political crises or issues surrounding global warming, this means it is important to speak up about what you believe in. Being vocal about your beliefs, and aligning them with the values your target audience shares, has the opportunity to increase loyalty and trust in the brand.
In the digital age, all the major social media platforms have in-built metrics and analytics for businesses that allow you to gather and analyse real-time data. This data can then be used to better understand buyer behaviour, likes, dislikes, activity, frequency, and much more about your target audience. With all of this in mind, you will be able to see what works, what doesn’t, and how you might improve, giving you the opportunity to optimise your profiles and content accordingly.
If you are a smaller business or startup, researching what your target market desires can be quite time consuming and costly. So, it is important to keep up with your competitors. Take a look at their profiles, their mentions, replies, topics they discuss, and so on. This will show you what it is that your target market responds to, as well as potentially highlight knowledge gaps in the industry that you can take advantage of.
Nowadays, advertisements saturate our day-to-day lives. So, it is more important than ever before that we ensure ads are relevant to those who view them; if they aren’t, it is only going to make people feel frustrated that their viewing habits have been interrupted.
All the major social media platforms have finely-tuned algorithms that identify people in your target demographic, only showing your ad to them. Due to this, you can optimise and maximise your ad revenue and ROI, ensuring that your ads are specifically targeted to your prime demographic.
One study found that 94% of customers are more likely to use a business with positive reviews, whereas negative reviews make 92% less likely to use a business. In fact, 79% of respondents stated they trusted online reviews as much as recommendations from their family and friends.
As many social media platforms nowadays also have the functionality to support reviews, feedback, and comments, this can help you to collect and collate real reviews and case studies from real customers, which can then be used to foster and develop increased trust in your business.
With all of the various social media platforms out there, it can be tricky to decide which one will work best for your small business. Below, we’ve taken a deep dive into some of the most popular ones – why they work and don’t.
Facebook, as of January 2022, is the most popular social networking platform, with upwards of 2,910 million active users every month worldwide. Interestingly, the same study found that both the third and fourth most popular platforms are also from the same family of platforms – Facebook Meta’s WhatsApp and Instagram – with 2,000 million and 1,478 million monthly users respectively.
Instagram can create fantastic opportunities as a platform for business. Though it is not one of those platforms for business that is utilised all that much, this can be of your benefit. As Instagram is predicted to only grow in the future, using this social media platform for your business now will allow you to get a foot in the door before the market becomes overly saturated.
Twitter is a popular way for brands to become part of the conversation. Often used reactively, and even cheekily, Twitter’s conversational nature offers many opportunities for small businesses to get involved with trending topics.
The most corporate of social media platforms – with ‘Connecting the world’s professionals’ being the core part of the brand’s slogan – LinkedIn is an obvious choice for B2B focused small businesses trying to keep in the loop with a professional network.
The newest kid on the block, launching back in 2016, TikTok was a runaway hit with the younger generation. Beyond this, the social media platform quickly began to amass a broader demographic as influencers adopted and pushed viral content.
TikTok is perhaps not an obvious choice for most small businesses; however, the platform does offer a number of advantages.
Social media, in general, has escalated in the last few years, with countless billions of people on different platforms. Now more than ever, in the wake of the Covid-19 pandemic, businesses have joined social media in greater numbers as they recognise the benefits that come with having an online presence.
As a business joining or expanding their use of social media, there are several important considerations to think about:
Quantifiable industry insights will help to inform your strategy including who you’re reaching, whether you’re reaching your target audience or not, the right content to share and important information regarding the best times to post.
Use each platform’s analytics to identify which posts generate the highest engagement rates, your general audience demographics, and much more information regarding followers and engagement.
Without tracking data, you won’t be able to determine the success of your social media marketing strategies. One example of an effective social media marketing tool that will help you to measure your techniques and figure out which strategies you’re probably better off without is Google Analytics.
With this tool, you can attach tracking tags to your social media campaigns so you can monitor them properly. Further than this though, make sure you use the analytics within each social media platform you use to gain even more of an insight into which content is performing best with your target audiences.
There’s no denying that things move fast and, when it comes to the internet, you can’t afford to be left behind – especially as an up-and-coming business. If you want your business team to be recognised as a group of industry experts, make sure you stay informed about current trends and industry news.
To best learn about what trends are working best in your industry, you’ll need to commit to spending a good amount of your time doing research work. Although certain trends won’t apply directly to your business, your research can be used for ideas to help your business grow. One particularly common trend that can prove useful for almost any type of business is automation, for example. Automation can be used for data entry, email marketing, and can target other time-consuming jobs so you can focus on more important things.
When building a community with your customers and followers, it’s important to take into consideration how you’re presenting and sharing information. Sharing information and providing useful tips and ideas with your community is crucial, but going overboard can be just as damaging as not engaging at all.
To show yourself and your business as experts or leaders in an online space, you should share carefully curated content that is relevant to your audience, as well as content that you’ve generated yourself, and what you’re doing as a company.
alldayPA is a complete call handling service that offers a range of services including a telephone answering service, virtual receptionist, outsourced call centre and call handling. Having been in business for more than 20 years, we guarantee seamless call transfers and 100% reliability.
As social media addiction rates rise, social media has become one of the most popular communication tools for customers who want to get in touch with businesses. If you’re struggling to keep up with your social media presence and methods of communication, turn to alldayPA who can manage your social media enquiries by monitoring any incoming messages and responding to them.
If you find it hard to manage multiple social media accounts, turn to alldayPA for assistance.
For more information about packages tailored to you and guaranteed to boost employee engagement, speak to a member of our team on 0345 056 8888.
The way we work has changed.
Plain to see, especially with the emergence of new post-pandemic working environments, it’s important to acknowledge the ways businesses have shifted towards greater flexibility and adaptability. Because of this, our relationship with productivity has also changed, both at home and in the workplace.
Remote and hybrid workforces are the new norm and, even if you’re going into a physical workplace each day, it’s likely you still have to deal with remote employees, co-workers, or clients.
If you’re interested in learning how you can improve workplace productivity, keep reading. It’s possible to improve productivity, even when modern distractions are plentiful.
The word “productivity” has a general meaning – but also very individual meanings for different people too. Take a minute and think about what it means to you. It’s important to know exactly what you mean when you say productivity because, without a clear approach and meaning to improving workplace productivity, it’s unlikely you’ll be able to achieve it.
Also, you should work out how you can measure productivity so you can track whether or not it’s really improving.
A generic definition for the term “workplace productivity” is as follows: It’s the measure of the total business output (goods and services) versus the total input (labour and costs).
Unfortunately, there isn’t a one-size-fits-all solution when it comes to creating a productive workplace. Improving employee productivity and self-productivity in real time takes the application of a variety of strategies, tools, and data-driven tips. Looking at your engaged employees or an individual employee who performs especially well can often help when trying to create a more productive workplace in general.
When it comes to improving employee productivity within a company, it’s important to view it in a different way than improving self-productivity.
Dealing with employee productivity issues is often complicated. The problem has more than one source and some of these factors will be outside of your control. Despite this, there are still plenty of things you can do as a business owner to help you improve employee performance and employee satisfaction. For example, it always pays to invest in your team’s wellbeing. Encourage your team to monitor their activity levels and to stay mentally healthy. To show that you care and to maximise development, it’s important to work on your company culture too. Note that even before the pandemic 61% of teams reported that they were burned out at their current job.
The number one way to ensure productive employees is to track time for tasks. Business leaders should analyse how their teams are using their time. There are a few ways that this can be done as well as several metrics that can be tracked with automation software, such as the time it takes to complete tasks or how many daily tasks get done, for example. Studying this data reveals which employees are most productive and which take a longer period of time to achieve the same results.
Studies have shown that one of the keys to improving productivity is to set and commit to deadlines. Regularly meeting deadlines demonstrates the ability to stay focused, and part of running a company is taking responsibility for making sure that goals are met on schedule.
Self-productivity is a little different in that the only person to hold you accountable is yourself. There are steps you can take to eliminate workplace stress or the biggest workplace distraction but only you know what works for you on an individual level. In short, self-productivity is about becoming somewhat of a time management expert and being able to manage yourself when you’re working alone, no matter workplace conditions or repetitive tasks.
Creating a scheduling period each week where you take the time to plan and organise your productivity for the rest of the week is the best way to ensure no chunk of time goes wasted.
Again, peak focus times will differ with each individual in your entire company so find out which periods of the day your productivity level is at its best and work then.
The number one rule to remember is that everybody is different. Experiment and find which periods throughout the day are best for the kind of work you’re doing, whether this is in the morning, the afternoon or the evening.
When it comes to enhancing business productivity, the team at alldayPA are second to none. Our client base is quite expansive – no matter the size of the business or sector, we have a dedicated task force that is clued into the best practices for getting your team working at a level not to be scoffed at.
We’ve asked the experts here, and below are some of the best ways that you can improve your workplace productivity.
As technology continues to develop so do strategies and techniques for businesses, many of which can help them to streamline their services and operations. Automation has been a huge part of these developments – automating tasks involves minimising human input and saving employees time, maximising productivity and boosting efficiency within workplaces. An example: marketing campaigns.
Marketing automation can be implemented across multiple platforms to assist with your marketing efforts. Effective marketing automation might include email marketing, display and social ads as well as traffic tracking.
For example, automated reminders to customers are especially effective for businesses within the eCommerce industry. I’m sure you’ve experienced leaving something in your cart and being hit with a follow-up to remind you about your potential purchases. This can be easily automated across a number of platforms depending on a user’s behaviour.
There are several ways that you can create a more positive working environment. Offering career development opportunities builds a commitment and engagement cycle in office environments, habits that are crucial to business productivity. One study showed that 68% of millennial workers surveyed cited a clear path to growth in their role as the most important factor and motivator in keeping them engaged.
It’s clear that employees who feel that businesses who are willing to take an interest in their personal development are more likely to go the extra mile when needed, not to mention the positive employee retention that comes alongside this. Employee morale is bound to decrease if individuals feel that their time with a company has been a waste of time and doesn’t reflect their own business goals.
Creating a positive working environment also helps to attract new talent to an otherwise average office. By nurturing internal talent, you’ll be saving money on the costs of external hiring, and you’ll also be more likely to fill vacancies with current staff. However, if it’s necessary to recruit talent from elsewhere, it’s important to position your company as a desirable employer.
Whether you like it or not, people talk, and word will soon get around that your company values its employees and that its company goals align with that.
From time to time, it can feel like there aren’t enough hours in the day, especially as a small business. However, with effective time management, communication tools and collaboration tools, you can dedicate more time to the areas of your business that need it most.
Generic productivity tools aside, knowing when to delegate can be a daunting task. Even the most motivated employee needs to know when they don’t have the necessary skills or time to complete a task. Although most business owners like to take care of everything that needs doing, to ensure that the task gets done to the best standards, it’s important that your team knows when to delegate.
If you need to delegate your tasks and create more time for yourself and your employees, alldayPA offers the perfect solution. From starter packages for call answering to a virtual receptionist package and an outsourced call centre solution, alldayPA offer bespoke services to help your business reach its full potential.
To become a master of business administration, you’ll need to be able to commit to a challenging task and see it through to the end, no matter how many distractions or productivity stoppers come your way in the form of mobile phones, social media, or simply your own brain.
Plenty of research has shown that distractions don’t just take up time but degrade the overall quality of work. So if you’re working and need to take a break, consider getting some natural light and fresh air instead of heading into friends’ offices and getting completely sidetracked. Office room dividers are one way to avoid distractions without upsetting business relationships or decreasing employee satisfaction in general.
Using project management tools in times when you know you’re going to struggle is key to keeping your mind on the task at hand. Schedule in time to read the Harvard Business Review, to work on an employee recognition program, or for a business meeting if necessary, but ensure you stick to your schedule so you can get everything done.
With a hundred things to do and never enough time in the day, it can feel impossible to take time out to work on employee engagement or leadership development. Thankfully, alldayPA offers great packages to ensure your business never misses a call or message again.
At alldayPA, we help businesses offload the tasks that take more time and money than they return. We are a customer-centric call handling company that offers a wide range of services, including a telephone answering service, virtual receptionist, outsourced call centre and call handling.
Find out more about our business support packages here or call 0333 009 7963 for a bespoke quote today.
Side jobs are becoming an increasingly popular way for full-time employees to generate additional income. Not only can second jobs put extra money in the pockets of workers, but they also enable the opportunity for upskilling and exploring new industries.
Put simply, a side hustle is a second job that is completely self-managed. It is a job that provides extra income, as well as the opportunity to broaden your skills outside of your regular employment.
Side jobs may take a few extra hours after the 9-5 regime or be fitted into the weekend. No matter where the extra time is found, many people are adopting this add-on career option as an outlet to turn hobbies into pay cheques. And so it goes, in 2022, that ‘side hustle’ culture is growing.
With the internet opening up countless opportunities for promotion and online work, it’s no wonder that so many people are choosing to venture into self-employment!
Here at alldayPA, we’ve conducted a survey of 2,000 people to dive deeply into the side hustle space, enabling us to identify the type of people that tend to work extra jobs and the most popular types of side jobs in 2022.
Conclusively, our survey suggests that there are now over 30% of full-time workers in the UK making money from a side job.
So, let’s take a deeper look at the data to find out more.
As part of our survey, we wanted to find out where in the UK a second job was most prevalent.
Interestingly, it could be argued that areas with an average higher cost of living contain the highest percentage of full-time workers taking up additional work for themselves. However, it may just be that the opportunities to expand skill sets or secure further roles are greater in certain areas.
The data we collected shows the ways in which both males and females make money, how much they make and what jobs they take up.
18% of women answered that they have a side hustle, whilst 12% of men responded that they work a second job.
The results signify that there is no significant difference between those who identify as men and those who identify as women when it comes to second jobs.
However, the data does suggest a clear motivation to why women may work additional jobs.
The survey we conducted provided some insight into the average ages of those with work on the side.
The majority of people who have side jobs to generate additional income are between 18-24 years old.
Respondents in this age range gave some context to their work life, thus indicating why a second job is ideal. Compared to other age brackets, 18-24 year olds are contracted for fewer hours – with 78% working less than the typical 36-40 hour working week – meaning they have more free time outside of work to generate additional income in other ways.
As we move up the generations, the percentage of those navigating the self-employment scene decreases:
The ultimate question is: What are the jobs that people are choosing to invest their time in aside from their regular careers?
We’ve got the answers.
Above all, the most popular side hustle is social media creation – particularly amongst young people.
Additionally, 36% of respondents listed ‘other’, providing specific details of their side job as a property developer, including renting out their properties, making investments in properties, and making money as a landlord outside of their contracted hours.
The majority (9%) of men with a side hustle claimed that their go-to side job is photography.
On the other hand, most women that answered the survey (7%) have a second job in hairdressing or alternative beauty treatments.
In a world full of industries that rely heavily on digital marketing, it comes as no surprise that the demand for content is high. This, combined with the strong desire amongst the younger generation to use social media, makes content creation highly favourable as a side job.
Social media content creation includes the crafting of blogs, vlogs, video content and image creation. Sharing content has popularised since the rise of social media platforms – TikTok in particular. It is because of the accessibility of the internet and ability to communicate with consumers, fans and communities on an international level that makes content creation a worthy job to commit to.
Lizzie Hinds, based in Gloucestershire, told us how her second job in social media content was an outlet for creativity and even helped her meet her fiancé online.
“I’m a Twitch streamer, alongside my full-time occupation at Radioactive as Senior PR account executive. My side hustle of Twitch involves hosting live crafting sessions for an online community – they watch me cross-stitch and design patterns and chat along with me while I do so.
“I’m contracted to 150 hours a month in my full-time role as a PR executive and dedicate around 40 hours per month for my second role in my free time. My employers are very supportive and even use it as a selling point on my team profile on the website.
“This started as a creative outlet and a way for me to make meaningful connections with people who have similar interests to me during the pandemic. I love streaming as I now have friends from all over the world, and I even met my fiancée on Twitch and she proposed to me live on stream!”
She added: “It can be hard work juggling everything and can make you more susceptible to burnout but can also be extremely fruitful if it works out.
“I think there will be more side hustlers due to a combination of things. I think the pandemic gave a lot of people time to reflect on what they wanted to do, as well as gave them the opportunity to try new things. Workplaces becoming more flexible has also allowed people to have more control over how they structure their days. Sadly though, I think there might be a greater necessity for side hustles with the cost of living rising.”
Undoubtedly, there are numerous reasons that contribute to why an individual opts to try to make more money. From lower paid jobs to rising living costs and varied unique circumstances, whatever the motivation, side jobs can be incredibly lucrative and rewarding.
Our survey data provides us with the following insights, all of which could contribute to the choice to work another role.
Despite social media content creation being a job in itself, the beauty of these platforms is that they allow individuals to market themselves. They provide the perfect platform for exposure; social media can accelerate success and help people find customers across the country.
As the concept of the side job continues to popularise, it’s important to consider all of the ways in which full-time workers can make time for their second job.
The primary service we offer at alldayPA is call handling, delivered on a subscription basis. From marketing and PR to finance, IT support, real estate, and so much more, we help clients in a range of industries. As a result, our call answering services are customised to your small business and its needs, ensuring that you and your clients are always satisfied! Additionally, by letting us handle your customer relationships, you can focus on your day-to-day duties while we handle incoming enquiries.
As a result, you’ll have more time to enjoy work-life balance, and you’ll have fewer reasons to become overwhelmed at work.
Are you juggling a full-time job and a side hustle? Get in touch with us to get your diary management in check, customer service handled professionally and work-life balance improved.
Marketing is a tricky area for any small business to master. It may come as no surprise, then, that no matter if you’re a young entrepreneur with a brand-new business venture or one that’s fully established, you will undoubtedly come across some marketing problems during your business journey.
You aren’t alone.
This is why, at alldayPA, being experts in all things customer service, we wanted to focus on some of the marketing problems small businesses face, which impact their ability to effectively reach existing or potential customers.
In our latest blog, you’ll learn how best to kickstart your marketing efforts or, if you’re an established business seeking help, get them back on track.
As a small business, it can be hard to know where to invest your money when it comes to marketing. Do you focus on creating long-term results or look at getting short-term results so you can attract more immediate customers? Ideally, if you had a huge budget you would do both.
As a small company with limited resources, you should focus a portion of your budget on lead generation using paid ads while simultaneously developing an SEO (search engine optimisation) strategy which, while being a long-term marketing solution, will help drive traffic to your site. As time goes on and your business grows, expand your budget to focus on other avenues of marketing, such as social media, content creation and email marketing.
As a small business owner, you are often juggling multiple plates at once, and as you only have certain hours in a day, it is natural for you to put more time into certain things over others. In most cases, this is why marketing is not always given the due it needs at the start of a business’s journey. As with any other part of your business, it requires investment (a marketing budget) from the get go.
To counteract the lack of time you may have, embrace tools such as marketing templates and automated services, which will allow you to plan ahead and reduce design time when you are creating assets – be they for social media posts or brand newsletters. Using these tools will not only save you time but will also allow you to remain consistent in your marketing efforts. Consistency is key to any marketing plan’s success.
At alldayPA, we offer a range of customer service packages to businesses across the UK. This includes answering the business telephone and handling enquiries. You can also make use of our virtual receptionist. Contact us via telephone or email and see how we can save you time today.
Any marketing effort that does not include a marketing plan is a waste of both time and money. In order for marketing to be effective and achieve the conversion rates you are hoping for, you need to have a marketing plan and strategy in place. Creating a unique marketing plan means you can alleviate your business, targeting your ideal customers effectively.
When creating your marketing, it is important to be realistic about the time, effort and money you can put in. Once you have outlined the different elements of your strategy, you can focus on the activities under each element and work towards them.
As a small business, you cannot expect to have the answers from the get go. Do not be afraid to hire external professionals (ideally from a digital agency) to fill in the gaps in your marketing knowledge. In hiring professionals, you will have an expert from the industry help you by creating effective strategies, steering you in the right direction.
If you opt to keep your marketing in-house, focus on hiring the right marketing talent and allow yourself to make mistakes. When hiring a team it is important to make sure they not only have the right credentials but they are also the right fit for the company. Marketing is all about interpreting data, and it is natural to make mistakes while developing your strategy.
Email marketing is a great way to keep customers engaged. You can alert customers about new product launches, the latest industry news and upcoming sales and deals.
Starting that email list and growing subscribers are challenges most small businesses face. One way in which you can do this is by creating something valuable that you can offer for free in exchange for customers voluntarily providing you with their contact details. This can be a free ebook, a course, or a discount code depending on your business. You can create free social media assets to let your target know they have the opportunity to receive this free product on offer.
In doing this, you are allowing the customer to opt into providing you with their email address, meaning you can keep them in the loop more easily as regards future business announcements.
As a small business, it can be hard to grow awareness of your brand and keep it at the forefront of people’s minds, but it is also key to the success of your business.
Tapping into marketing techniques, such as creating valuable content, effective SEO strategies and a unique business identity, as well as having a referral programme or affiliate scheme for your existing customers, will help raise brand awareness and put you in front of your target audience.
Now, more than ever, it can be hard to grab the attention of your audience, but it is not impossible. Understanding your audience is key to developing a community with your customers. Using analytics tools like Google Analytics will allow you to understand the dynamics of your audience a little more.
Thanks to certain SEO tools such as this, you can find out what your customer is searching for and where they are searching for it. You can also use social media data to find out their location and age. This will allow you to create content targeted to your audience, keeping their attention and increasing sales.
Overwhelmed with the amount of things you have to do to fix your marketing problems? Start with these three simple steps.
Outsource what you can – In the same way that you hire talent for your business, employing an external company with that added expertise can be of the utmost value to the growth of your business. For example, if you are a small team, outsourcing certain tasks through alldayPA – such as taking on the role of a virtual receptionist or call handling – means you’ll spend less time hampered by customer admin and can therefore better invest in and develop your brand’s marketing.
Have a social media presence – In 2022, every business should have some form of social media presence. The first thing people do when looking for a product or service is search online – be it on social media or via a search engine. Having a social media presence will give you a better chance of being put in front of your audience.
Revisit your website – Your website should be the number one way in which you gather quality leads. Making sure you have the budget to design the website to be user-friendly, with the forms needed to generate those leads, is essential.
Marketing is probably one of the biggest challenges small businesses face, but it is not in vain. It is a powerful tool to have in your business arsenal. The hard work you put into marketing your business will pay off.
Contact us today and see how our customer service packages will save you time and allow you to focus on making your business flourish.
Running a small business is no small feat. There is a lot to consider, from your profit margins to growing your customer base. At alldayPA, we provide outsourced customer services to small and large companies alike. With our trained team expertly handling your customer communications, you can more easily focus on the challenges ahead.
In today’s volatile climate, it’s more important than ever that aspiring business owners are wise to the setbacks, as well as opportunities, that small businesses face. So, we ask:
What are some of the common challenges that you might expect as a small business, and how can you avoid them?
Here is everything we have learned to make the process a little less daunting for you.
One of the biggest challenges facing small businesses is finding their ideal customers and turning them into loyal customers.
Before doing anything, including making the actual product itself, you need to conduct market research. This will allow you to determine a gap in the market for your product. Once you have established your target audience, work out where they tend to spend their time – be it physically or digitally. For example, will you find them on social media platforms like Instagram? Do they like to sign up for emails where you can provide them with discounts and early access to sales or new products and services?
In establishing where your ideal customer is and what their habits are, you can create content and a marketing strategy that will help you tap into their space.
Once you have their attention and they make their first purchase, the key then is to retain their custom. You can do this in a number of ways, such as by creating a loyalty scheme, offering free gift cards and providing good-quality customer service. This is where we can help. At alldayPA, we have experts across our contact centres ready to help you improve the customer service you offer your customers.
Every business, big and small, requires a strong business strategy if it is going to be successful. Having a business strategy will enable you to grow and take calculated risks. In creating this strong business strategy, you will be able to keep up with the demands of the market and forecast industry trends.
A good strategy will outline business matters such as your business objectives, your ideal customer, and your financial projections for the next few years. It also gives you something to present to banks and shareholders when you are looking for additional investment in the business.
A small business can often find it difficult to keep up with market demand. As much as you want a product to do well, creating excess products means running the risk of haemorrhaging money, so to keep production costs manageable, most small businesses create a limited number of each item at the start of their journey.
The problem you might run into is that the more of a hit the product becomes, the harder it might be to keep up with market demands. To combat this, you may decide to hire more staff, and reviewing your business goals and objectives quarterly also helps to ensure you have a strategy in place to deal with periods of growing demand.
The reason most small businesses fail within the first year is due to the mistakes they make with their finances. From incoming and outgoing transactions, most business leaders have a lot to learn in order to maintain a steady cash flow and increase profit margins.
To ensure you keep one step ahead of any cash flow issues, the first thing to do is hire an accountant and schedule time each month to look over your accounts, create the necessary forecasts and keep a regular record of your inventory.
While this may sound like a lot of work, thanks to the development of technology, there are a multitude of software options available, which allow you to track payments and help create new invoices when required. Your accountant will be able to advise on the tools so everything is in one place. Depending on the software option you go for, you may be able to set up notifications for when your bills are due to help you better keep track of your expenses.
In tracking this, you can foresee any changes you need to make in order to have a successful business. This might mean creating a shorter payment time (from 60 days to 30 days) to help you keep a steady flow of cash coming into your business or reducing the stock of a product that isn’t selling as much as some of the others.
Time is often an issue when it comes to small businesses. As you might expect, it can be very difficult to predict growth spurts or sudden dips in demand.
In trying to keep up with these changes in demand, some small businesses can lose the quality of their product or service which is why you should develop a growth plan for your business if one does not already exist. This will ensure you have a strategy in place when the time arrives.
Some other ways in which you can strike a balance between growth and quality include:
Running a business is gruelling work. It takes a lot of mental energy out of you. In the moments that you feel like giving up. (because those moments will come at least a couple of times in your business journey) The passion and obsession you have for your business will keep you going and stop you from giving up.
You can stay passionate about your business by having the right people around you. This doesn’t include your colleagues but mentors and others in the industry people you can lean on advice.
It is also important to have the why at the back of your mind. Why you started the business and what you hope to achieve. Write this down somewhere you can look back on it from time to time.
Every business will have to increase its workforce. Hiring new talent, especially for a small business, can be a daunting and expensive task. It is also rewarding as it wil allow you to delegate tasks and allow you to focus on expanding and growing the business instead of the dealing with the day to day tasks.
Hold on to that during your hiring journey as it can be quite challenging to start with. For example it can take hiring a few wrong people before finding the fit for you and your business.
There will also be other challenges you have to consider when hiring new staff. This includes health and saftey regulations and health and safety regulations. You also have to make sure you are aware of the employment laws we have in the UK. This includes things to do with dealing with conduct issues, ensuring they have a fair wage and factoring in things such flexible working.
As a small business, it can be hard to establish a culture within your workforce. The best way in which to do this is to focus on your values. What does your business stand for? Are integrity and honesty important to you? Once you have determined what these values are, you can discuss this with your employees, making sure the values are in their minds as they go about their tasks.
There is some truth to the saying: ‘It is not what you know, but who you know’. Once you have established your business, it is important to network. Go to networking events and talk about your business on social media platforms like LinkedIn. The challenge is that it can be quite expensive which means you will have to do your research and make sure the events you attend are right for you. Is it a leading event in your industry or one you are trying to break into?
It can also be daunting as a small business putting yourself out there. Start by striking up a conversation with the person in front of you in the line for your morning coffee. You never know the opportunities that could arise from saying hello to someone new.
As a small business, you are often firing on all cylinders. As a business owner, you will want to have as much control over all aspects of the business as possible, making a 9-5 impossible at times.
Of course, as you become business leaders and have a long-lasting business model, you will be able to create more of a work/life balance for yourself. However, in the interim, burnout is a real thing and can cause you to put a halt on all your plans moving forward.
Some signs you are experiencing burnout include:
In order to avoid burnout, focus on the things in your life you can control and remember to factor regular exercise into your daily routine. Also, add stress techniques to your tool kit to help you in moments of high intensity.
As a business owner, you are constantly spinning multiple plates. At alldayPA, we can take some of the plates off your hands, such as answering your phones and dealing with customer enquiries.
We handle the day to day of customer communications so you don’t have to. Our clients not only benefit from improved customer feedback but, by winning back that additional time that is so easily spent on handling customer interactions, they can channel this energy into what matters most – growing their business.
So, what are you waiting for? Contact us today to outsource your customer service to a company that will truly care about your business as much as you do.
When businesses grow and tasks start to build, outsourcing business can serve as a blessing. From saving on overhead costs to reducing the time it takes to complete a to-do list, outsourcing is a key cog in the machine of how money-making businesses operate.
alldayPA are no strangers to onboarding outsourced customer service duties. Whether it’s managing emails, booking appointments or directing phone calls to the appropriate person, we’re experts in outsourced business processes – we’re here to provide you with our insights.
In this blog, we’ll take you through the various aspects of work that can be distributed to a third party. We’ll highlight the benefits to outsourcing on top of the reasons why you should consider hiring dedicated services to not only save you time but also elevate your business all round.
Outsourcing business functions is one of the most popular trends in the last decade. It allows companies to focus on their core competencies and outsource tasks that are not a part of their core business. Besides the cost savings, outsourcing can be used to leverage expertise and increase efficiency.
Delegating tasks can include outsourcing small parts of work or an entire department, depending on the requirements of the company in question.
How do you begin outsourcing business?
As a small business owner, you’ve got a lot on your plate. You’re working hard to grow your company, and that takes time. As your business grows, it’s important to find a solution for your growing to-do list to ensure all tasks are completed and productivity is maximised.
So, why might you choose to outsource?
One of the most important aspects of running a small business is providing excellent customer service. When people are happy with the way their problems are handled, they will be more likely to recommend your company to others and come back for repeat business.
A team of virtual PAs enable you to diminish the responsibilities of answering calls professionally. Customer service experts with experience in handling calls can be a fantastic addition to your business.
Here at alldayPA, our virtual PA services exist to enhance your business. Our job is to make yours easier – to help you establish a solid relationship with your clients and partners.
Do you have a lot of work to do, but not enough hours in the day?
Are you sick of being buried under an avalanche of emails and phone calls?
We know how it feels. That’s why we founded alldayPA, a business that specialises in taking care of your calls, so you can focus on what matters most – growing your business. We handle your diary management and telephone answering. Whether you need a large team to deal with a high volume of calls or a small team to redirect enquiries, we’re here to help.
Does outsourcing sound like the ideal solution for your business? Find out how we can be your dedicated service for taking care of your calls.
Our team of virtual assistants and receptionists are dedicated to providing your customers with an exceptional level of customer service. You can rest assured that no calls are missed again, with each and every call being dealt with in the utmost professional manner.
Why face the stress of call management when alldayPA can do it for you? Contact us today to chat about your business goals.
When working for yourself, one of the biggest decisions you will have to make is to decide the best way in which you operate. Are you going to become a sole trader or are you going to create a limited company?
It is a big question, which is why we have broken down some of the advantages and disadvantages of being a sole trader so you can make an informed decision on what is best for you and your business.
Before we start, it is important to understand what a sole trader is and why it is an appealing option for many people starting out on their business journey.
A sole trader is someone who is self-employed and running their own business as an individual rather than a corporation. This means they are responsible for all aspects of the business from a legal and financial perspective.
Immediate start – As your business isn’t a legal entity on its own, there is no formal registration process in the same way as there is for a limited company. For example, you do not have to worry about registering your business with Companies House. This means you don’t have to wait for approval before you start working and can begin as soon as you are ready without worrying about additional paperwork.
You are your own boss – The main perk of being a sole trader is that you get to be your own boss. This means you have complete control over the direction of your business and can run it in the way you deem appropriate. You call the shots, make all the decisions and have complete ownership of the business’s trajectory.
If you decided to conduct your business under a different business structure like a joint partnership, you would have to confer with partners and colleagues before coming to an agreement on how the business is run and how to deal with certain situations.
Low start-up costs – The main thing you need to do as a sole trader is to declare yourself as a sole trader to the HMRC (HM Revenue and Customs). This is to ensure they are aware of your situation and that you can make the correct tax payments when the time comes. All that’s involved is filling out a self-assessment tax return form, which is completely free and will considerably reduce your start-up costs.
If you were a limited company, however, you would have to pay a fee of £12 online or £40 by post in the first year. There is an annual confirmation fee of £13 if done online or £40 if paid via post.
You can change business structures – Just because you opt to become a sole trader at the start of your business journey does not mean you have to remain that way. The advantage of being a sole trader means you can easily change your business structure as you expand and grow. This is natural and allows you to keep an open mind to future opportunities.
Complete privacy – Limited companies who have to register on the Companies House website have to declare all their financial information as well as details about their directors and shareholders. Nothing is kept out of the public eye. As a sole trader, you do not have to register with Companies House, allowing you to keep your business’s financials private and for your eyes only.
You keep all the profits – Another advantage of operating as a sole trader is that, after you pay the required tax, all the remaining revenue that the business generates will belong to you and you alone. This is not the case under other business structures.
If you set up a joint partnership, for example, you would obviously have to share the profits with your partner. In the same vein, if you were a limited company, the shares would have to be divvied up between investors and shareholders.
With all the good that comes from being a sole trader, there are also some elements of being a sole trader that can be challenging.
Unlimited liability – Unlimited liability is a business term that makes the business owner responsible for paying any debts or financial obligations incurred by the business.. This of course is one of the key risks of being a sole trader. The debts are not capped, which means the sole trader may be left with no option but to delve into their personal assets in order to pay off the debt.
If you register as a limited company, you instead have limited liability. Limited liability prevents individuals from personally being responsible for business debts. It instead puts the responsibility on the business itself and is capped to what the business can pay. This means the business owners’ personal assets are protected.
More difficult to secure funding – Every business needs capital, but the unlimited liability attached to sole traders makes them a risky option for banks to invest in. That’s why most sole traders will have to rely on their savings or loans from family and friends in order to get up and running, but there will come a time when that isn’t enough.
As the business grows, you will naturally require more capital, which means looking to a bank for a loan if your profits aren’t yet high enough to fund the expansion. If you fail to secure a loan from a bank, you may have to look into an alternative financing option, such as crowdfunding.
Being the sole decision-maker – While there is definitely beauty in being the one calling the shots, this singular responsibility may not be for everyone. It can be quite daunting and adds increased pressure to an already high-pressure situation. Mistakes and problems are part of the course and can be particularly stressful if the success of your business rests solely on the decisions of you and you alone.
Harder to attract clients – There is a certain element of professionalism that is ascribed to limited companies. They are seen as more polished, armed with experience and a team behind them. While sole traders can be just as experienced as a limited company, the perception people have of sole traders may make your business appear less reliable or equipped to investors and clients alike.
It might not be tax efficient – As a sole trader, the rules around tax are more rigid than they are for a limited company. This makes it harder for you to maximise the income you make. For example, as a sole trader, the profit you make is subject to income tax from the financial year in which you earned it. This means, unlike a limited company, you cannot leave the profits in your business account to be used in the following year.
While being a sole trader is seen as the biggest risk, neither route – including joint partnerships or operating as a limited company – is easy.
Each one comes with its own unique set of situations. The key is to find out which situations suit you and the lifestyle you wish to have.
As a business owner, you have a lot to handle. With alldayPA, we can alleviate some of that stress from you. From answering the phone to providing you with a virtual receptionist, we can handle the everyday customer service queries, allowing you to focus on growing your business.
So, what are you waiting for? Let us answer your calls today!
When incoming calls get too much, it can feel impossible to find ways to reduce call handling time. In a contact centre setting, average handling time (AHT) is also a metric used to measure the average time a customer spends on the phone.
If you need an effective strategy for managing all of those calls so they don’t take up all of your time, we’re here to help.
We’ve gained years of experience in proactively dealing with calls in a time-efficient way, so if you’re looking to streamline your call handling process and reduce your average handling time, you’ve come to the right place.
Turn to the experts at alldayPA who can guide you on how to better manage your incoming and outbound calls – we can even do all the hard work for you!
So, what can you do to decrease the time spent on call management?
In order to improve customer satisfaction, providing staff with a variety of resources is essential. They should receive proper training each time they use a newly acquired resource. Before they are allowed to work independently, employees must be familiar with routing calls and using call scripts (should you choose to utilise them).
Managers wishing to reduce average handling time (AHT) should provide training for staff members on how to use tools such as CRM and live chat, as well as on providing customers with rapid answers and high customer satisfaction. In addition, call handlers should have access to a list of people to contact if they have questions or concerns.
Does live chat sound like a good way to reduce your incoming calls? Speak to our friendly team at alldayPA to find out how we can help manage live chat messages on your behalf.
Using an interactive voice response (IVR) system, a caller is able to interact with a phone system either by using their voice or by selecting digits on the keypad. With conversational IVRs, clients listen to pre-recorded messages (or voice bots) and select the department they desire based on their issue. By following straightforward menu options or conversing with voicebots, customers can find answers to their questions or reach out to call centre representatives via a well-implemented IVR system.
By using an IVR system, your business will reduce its average handling time as the voice bots will cover the bulk of the preliminary labour needed simply to ensure callers get through to the right department. As a result, more clients are more smoothly connected to the correct representatives and their issues are resolved faster.
Moreover, some users will not need to speak to a staff member at all since the IVR itself can solve their problems. This can also be supported by providing a comprehensive customer-focussed website that answers questions without the need to make contact.
It’s important to remember that the call handler should always take control of a conversation. Maintaining control means that the customer is led through the phone call with the necessary questions needed to come to a conclusion that satisfies both them and your business – without allowing too much ‘fluff’ or digression from the point.
Moreover, remove any inefficiencies from phone calls that you believe may be holding calls up and lengthening the time spent on each call. By taking an approach that is clean and concise, the AHT will be cut down substantially.
There are many small tweaks that can be made to answering an incoming call. This can start with the greeting message. By switching ‘how are you today?’ for ‘how can I help you today?’, the caller is navigated straight to the issue at hand. Remember – cutting this out does not need to affect customer satisfaction. Quality customer service can be delivered through the way in which the issue is addressed.
When you’re a small business, it can be difficult to hire and train new employees. You need people who know the ins and outs of your industry and can answer questions with confidence. Luckily, you don’t have to waste time and money on training – just hire a professional call handling service! We’ll take care of everything from greeting callers to scheduling appointments and more.
When you hire a professional telephone answering service, you can expect:
Are you looking to upgrade your business communications from a customer service point of view?
Do you need a team of experts at hand to manage calls effectively?
Luckily, we’ve got a solution. alldayPA can help you strengthen your customer service and save you time on call answering through one of our fantastic outsourcing packages. Our experienced team of virtual receptionists and virtual PAs are here to help you take calls so that you don’t have to.
The best part? We offer an all-human service to provide your callers with a personal experience.
We’re dedicated to helping businesses like yours make the best first impression and enhance their customer service. We do this by providing our clients with the tools needed for seamless communication between customers and staff members.
Interested in what we can do for you? Let’s talk about your future towards a stress-free work environment!
At alldayPA, we have ample experience with all things customer service. Our contact centres are filled with experts providing exceptional customer service to businesses across the UK. So, we decided to pool together our knowledge and share the top 10 tips on dealing with angry customers.
When a customer is relating their problem to you, they want to know they are being heard. Pay close attention to the words they are saying rather than the manner in which they are expressing them.
By actively listening to an upset customer, you can find the root of the problem and figure out how to resolve it. This will work better than simply passively listening to them as they will be satisfied they are being taken seriously.
Active listening will enable you to focus on the language they are using. For example, if a customer – despite using an angry tone of voice – says he is dissatisfied with one of your products, the ideal response would be ‘Sorry to hear that. Let’s see how we can fix this for you.’ In using this language, you are demonstrating that you have been paying attention to the customer and their query, resulting in a positive outcome.
Being on the receiving end of an angry, frustrated customer can be overwhelming. It is never nice to hear something you have put your heart and soul into is not being received well by someone. It can be hard to challenge a customer when they are coming at you with full force, especially if you are unsure about how best to deal with the issue.
In this situation, you need to let go of the idea that you need an immediate solution to the customer’s problem. Sit down, listen to what they have to say, understand their concerns, then ascertain the best ways in which to deal with the issue, i.e., outline the next steps.
When you are struck with fear, your first instinct is to apologise and say sorry. Replacing this by saying ‘That is shame to hear’. This will allow you to infuse confidence in yourself and give you a sense of control of the situation.
When dealing with an angry customer, it is very easy to try and explain your position, but the best way to deal with them is to validate their feelings and understand they feel like they have been taken advantage of.
The key to avoiding any conflict is to remember they are a real person. Make sure they feel heard and not take what they say personally. In not taking the complaint personally, you will be able to refrain from getting angry yourself and stay in control of the situation. This will allow you to listen carefully to any unhappy customers, find out their frustrations, and seek out a solution for them.
Anger is usually the first emotion customers feel when something has not gone their way. Allow the angry person time to cool down before discussing the matter with them further.
Conflict resolution is part of any customer-facing business. The way in which you react to these conflicts will determine the success of your business. (Customers are less likely to purchase something from you if you are known for poor customer service.)
If you find yourself getting wound up because of angry customers, try taking frequent deep breaths and ensure you take regular breaks in between calls to allow you some respite once the call has finished.
As part of your role in dealing with difficult customers, you will have to undergo some customer service training. If this isn’t something on your to-do list already, it is worth investing in. As part of the training, you will be given tools and tricks of the trade to use when on the job.
You will have been able to role play ‘angry customer scenarios’. This could include strategically placing your customer on hold to allow them time to cool down or confirming with a colleague to see if they agree with the next steps you have outlined. Of course, the techniques you use will differ from customer to customer, depending on the situation.
Showing your customer that you appreciate that they brought a certain issue to your attention will go a long way toward customer satisfaction.
You do this by returning the negative language they use with positive language. During the call, thank them for getting in touch and sharing their concerns with you.
In doing this, you will have de-escalated the situation and made your customers happy and feel like a valued part of your business.
There is nothing worse than trying to appease your customer’s concerns using false sincerity. By showing them authentic empathy, you can change the situation around and provide the customer with a positive customer experience.
You can practise this by focusing on what you can do for the customer. Forget about what they can do for you for a moment and instead ask yourself what you can do for them. To them, the issues they are dealing with will feel personal, so they expect your response to be personal too. This applies whether you are speaking to them on the phone or writing to them via a messaging system.
If you are writing to them, be mindful of the language you are using. Write to them in the way you would speak to them if they were in front of you and use their name when speaking to them.
Customers want to know they are being taken seriously and their concerns are being addressed. The last thing they want is to take the time out of their day to bring you up to speed with an issue, only for you to reply without any commitment to resolving the issue. You need to demonstrate you are taking their tone of voice and bad experience seriously.
During your call with the customer, after they have cooled off, share the steps you will be taking to resolve this issue for them. This could be compensation or escalating the issue to a specialist department – whatever the correct procedure is for the individual case, customers appreciate knowing what they can expect following the phone call.
When dealing with an angry customer, it is important to put yourself in the customer service mindset. This is where the customer services packages from alldayPA will be worth investing in as all our employees are trained and able to demonstrate tapping into the customer service mindset. To discuss how we can help you deal with angry customers, get in touch today.
Most customer service teams underestimate the value of a follow-up call. Make time to check back in with your customers – either to update them on how their enquiry is going or to ensure they are happy with the solution offered (for example, if they received compensation or a replacement as a result of the issue). This level of going above and beyond for your customer will prevent you losing their custom despite the negative experience.
At alldayPA, we have a range of customer service packages to help you serve your customers effectively. Taking the hassle of customer service out of your hands and letting the experts take over gives you time that you can pour back into your business.