How you and your outsourced team can reduce service overhead.
All business owners want to get rid of their least profitable projects, tasks and yes, even customers. When they outsource their processes, business owners are hoping to reduce service overhead, but do they?
There’s an adage about how someone’s IQ multiplies as soon as they’re given an indication from their leader that said leader trusts their judgment. When you outsource, you’re taking advantage of this fact.
Micromanaging your teams does more than drain your energy.
You remember that brilliant idea that you had on your commute to work? If only you had written it down! Better still, if only someone could have done your job for you while you had focused on further investigating this idea.
If you set the systems up, the result will always be replicable.
Start by making fewer decisions.
Companies go out of business when they make the wrong decisions or, just as important, make too many decisions. The latter creates complexity.
—Mike Maples, serial entrepreneur, and investor.
An anxiety for many business owners is, “how will I be sure that my outsourced team is actually doing and saying the right things?”
It starts before you even utilize geographic arbitrage.
It starts before you on-board your very first virtual assistant.
It starts with the product
Henry Ford was notorious for reducing the options that his customers had because he understood that the simpler the product, the happier the customer.
We assume that customers want something “custom” all the time, but too many options make them confused. Worse yet, it increases buyer’s remorse and clogs up your customer service.
The larger the selection, the bigger the problem of indecision.
The fewer conversions and the less profitable.
Here’s how you can reduce service overhead from 20 to 80 percent:
- Unless your business is directly in-charge of its rollout, do not offer ancillary services.
Here’s a simple, albeit crude example:
If you run a Print on Demand T-Shirt business, the only thing that you’re immediately able to control is the product design, everything else is out of your control. Why then would it be a good idea to offer multiple shipping methods?
By giving your customers the fastest shipping method at the most competitive price, you remove indecision and dissatisfaction.
- Associate with loyal customers, only.
This one continues to fly in the face of “logic” which seems to dictate that one has to constantly be in the pursuit of customers ad infinitum. That’s the old, high overhead way of doing things.
When you outsource your business processes, you want to be sure that your customers will not feel inconvenienced. Instead, they’ll feel excited for whatever service delivery improvements come their way.
Those are the basics, once that’s settled, you have to pay special attention to what gets your attention.
Tim Ferriss once famously said in his book the 4-Hour Work Week that, “attention is a currency, and how it is spent determines the value of our time.”
Reducing service overhead is also as simple as avoiding your work mailbox on weekends because you’re not planning on addressing work-related problems till the next Monday.
Decreasing the work-related stimuli that get your attention is a necessary tool for productivity.
The fewer choices, the higher the productivity.
The greater the choices, the more overwhelmed.
There are actually 5 basic formulas to increase productivity both before and after outsourcing:
- Give yourself go-to rules that way you can automate certain decisions and make fewer decisions off the cuff.
- Leave things you have no control over ALONE.
Actually, Ferriss says that you shouldn’t provoke deliberation before you can take action. For example, don’t look at your mailbox if you know for a fact that you will not be able to do anything about it if a problem shows up.
- Do the uncomfortable first
Instead of saying, “I’ll do that later.” or “I’m not sure” when a friend asks you if you’re available, just let them know right then and there.
Make the decisions immediately and move on.
- Decide now and “Fail fast”
Make non-fatal decisions as quickly as possible. Give yourself deadlines and thresholds and if the decision meets certain parameters, give your outsourced team the green light to take over.
- Put the Pareto 80/20 Principle into your routine
Like Henry Ford illustrated, having options is not the key. Variation stifles innovation, ironically, however, routine optimises innovation where it creates the most value and reduces overhead.
Focus on the results. If your routine is garnering the type of results that you want, then keep doing it, if not, change.
You cannot avoid making decisions and this has nothing to do with that. Decision-making isn’t the problem, deliberation is.
When we spend an excessive amount of time mulling over various decisions, we rob our teams of doing what they do best and that is making the most of our time.
Embrace decision making minimization and watch how it increases both output and customer satisfaction!