In a perfect world, your trained and experienced office employees would never quit. When they go on vacation, someone else would seamlessly step into their job and handle it effectively and efficiently. When you want to outdo the competition, your customer service reps would be ready at the phones at night, on weekends, and on holidays. And of course, you’d have top-notch bookkeepers and someone with CFO-level experience to help you track your company’s key performance indicators, spot the challenges, and certainly opportunities that lie inside the numbers.
In an even more perfect world, all this happens and you spend less time and money on the operations side of your business. That means more time and money to spend on the employees and services that generate the lifeblood of any company – revenue.
The way I look at it, savvy owners of home service businesses gain a competitive advantage when they focus on what they do best, whether it’s plumbing, electrical, or HVAC – and on the revenue that comes with it. Answering phones and keeping books are vital, but they also are cost centers that can take your attention and resources away from what matters. You spend time determining the skills to search for when hiring for financial or customer service positions. You spend money on training, office space, desks and computers for your new employees, not to mention benefits packages that add 10 to 15 percent to payroll costs.
Outsourcing some or all of your back-office operations can help you address problems inherent in keeping them in house – the problems of losing trained employees, being short-staffed during vacations or illness, or wishing your financial folks could contribute better information. Outsourcing works because it offers teams of trained and ready resources that cost a fraction of what those capabilities would cost in house.
To get the biggest bang for your buck, it’s important to choose the right kind of outsourcing service. For example, general answering services are designed to simply take messages, and call centers are designed to handle high volumes of calls. Neither does what the home service business industry wants, which is having its calls answered professionally, knowledgeably, and having customer appointments booked in its own system.
If you’re looking at outsourcing, here are some questions and tips for choosing the right service:
- Does the service know and understand how to use your scheduling software?
- Are customer service representatives familiar with the types of calls your business gets, and do they understand the business well enough to ask questions that help you and your customer pinpoint the problem?
- How can you contact the agent who took your customer’s call? When your technician needs to clarify the customer’s problem, or when you need to reschedule, you should be able to talk to that specific agent.
- Does the service get paid for performance? Services whose pay is boosted when they turn calls into scheduled appointments have an incentive to do so.
- Do they understand accounting? Knowing QuickBooks isn’t enough to give you the overall financial picture of your business. A service with an experienced accounting team can help you track your business’ key performance indicators and provide insight into your challenges and opportunities.
Whether you are looking for improved efficiencies or your business is going through big changes, such as growing, downsizing, or selling, now is a good time to analyze if it’s the right time to outsource operations or keep them in house.
Service Roundtable is dedicated to growing your bottom line and helping your business maximize its full potential. These group of contractors work together to assist you with marketing, sales, business, and so much more. Twice a month, seminars around the United States and Canada are held to network and further assist your business. Visit Service Roundtable.com to see if there are Success Days in your area!