Switching to 24/7 business hours is a bold move that many companies wish they could make, however, for some, the challenges associated with it are one too many. There are a multitude of benefits to being open round the clock, such as improving your customer service ratings as result of being available at more convenient times, but the main benefit is being open outside of normal office hours. This allows you to able to profit from the hours during which the general public are free to browse the web and contact companies who’s products they are interested in purchasing.

Luckily, there’s a new solution that is going to enable far more companies to take on the challenge of 24/7 business hours successfully- outsourcing. Outsourcing essentially means using staff provided by a third party such as Cymphony, as and when you need them, rather than hiring full time in-house staff yourself. Here, we take a look at some of the key challenges posed by 24/7 business hours, and how outsourcing can help you to overcome them.

Work/Life Balance

The first thought many company owners have is how staying open 24/7 is going to affect their work/life balance, as well as that of their employees. The idea of having no down time can be a daunting one, but it’s important to realise that just because you’re business is operating, doesn’t mean that you have to be too. You can establish shift patterns that take into account your new opening hours, to ensure that no body is overworked. Offering overtime could be another solution which some employees might be happy to take as it is an opportunity to increase their salary, however, be careful to ensure that it is a choice that they can make. Putting pressure on your employees to go above and beyond the duties for which they were hired can become a source of conflict and approximately 30% of employees who work 60 hours per week report severe work-family conflicts.

As well as making amendments to the shift patterns of existing employees, taking on a few extra helping hands can really help to ease the burden. Doing so by outsourcing to a third party supplier of specialist staff allows you to save time and money compare to hiring new additions to your in-house team. It also a more worthwhile investment as you only pay outsourced workers as and when they are needed. So, a healthy work/life balance can still be maintained by yourself and your staff with some tweaks to working patterns and by outsourcing some of the increased workload.

Outsourcing vs Full-Time Employees

The second most pressing concern when it comes to switching to 24/7 business hours is the cost associated with it. It is understandable to assume that nearly doubling the hours during which your business operates would do the same to your outgoing, however, depending on the additional services you provide and how you go about doing so, you can keep this to a minimum. For example, a great place to start is by increasing the hours your phone lines and other communication channels, such as live chat, are open. This makes the task of communicating with your business far more convenient for your customers, while the other functions of your business can lie low.

Communications is one of the most commonly outsourced departments for this reason, and outsourcing is another way in which you can keep costs low. In fact, 71% of uk businesses say cost reductions are the main reason for outsourcing. This is because suppliers often work on a pay per minute basis, meaning that you only pay for the help you need. During quiet hours of the night, this can have a real impact compared to hiring full-time employees who would need to paid regardless of demand. This also ensures a strong return on investment. On a separate note, being able to outsource to employees supplied by a third party, means that you don’t have to take on the HR responsibilities associated with hiring your own.

Office Logistics  

Another advantage of outsourcing in order to increase your business hours, is that there will be no additional strain on your physical premises. Normally, operating 24/7 has a knock of effect on every aspect of a business, and keeping your offices open at all times come with a number of its own consequences. For example, the costs associated with running a premises, such as utility bills, the increased rate at which office equipment wears or runs out, and the increased bills for things like internet connections and food supplies. When you outsource, you outsource to remote workers whose working environments are the responsibility of the supplier.

Health and Safety

Similarly, when it comes to staying open through the night and for such long periods of time,  a number of health sand safety concerns come to the forefront. For example, it’s likely that you would only need skeleton staff during the night as customer interest will be limited. However, if you have any lone workers, particularly if your premises are customer facing, they will be at risk. Even if your offices are no accessible to the public, if something happens to one of your employees and no one is around to help, you could be liable for the consequence.

Outsourcing once again eradicates this challenge posed by 24/7 business hours, as remote workers are integrated into your existing system while operating from their own separate bases. They might work from home, or they might work from an office supplied by their direct employer, which is likely to house a number of colleagues for them to work with.

Staff Training

Usually, taking on new staff to facilitate an increase in your business’ operating hours means investing time and money into the training of new employees, whether your existing staff take on this responsibility and workload, or you hire an outside company to take the lead and produce the relevant training materials. This can be a considerable cost, however, if you choose to outsource instead, the provider will not only be responsible for the training of the staff you get to benefit from, but they will also be able to supply you with those who already have plenty of experience and skills for you to make the most of. 

Communication

You might think that involving a third party in your business will bring with it a number of logistical challenges. However, if you use an experienced provider like Cymphony, they make it their mission to facilitate a smooth relationship. For example, if you choose to use their call-handling service any communication between their staff and your customers will be transferred efficiently and accurately to you, in order to create a fluid sales or problem solving system. Similarly, they will make sure that any information needed in order to be able to provide your customers with an excellent service is collected.

They are experts on integration, even when it comes the live chat services they offer. They will provide you with easy to use instructions on how to integrate the new feature seamlessly into your existing website, as well as providing experienced and skilled live agents who make sure they are knowledgeable about your business. In fact, 24% of small businesses outsource to increase efficiency which just goes to show how little outsourcing negatively affects your business.

When it comes to 24/7 business hours, outsourcing is essential. Not only does it protect the work/life balance of you and your staff, it also allows you to benefit from being able to tap into the busiest sales and customer communication periods without sacrificing any of the profits, adding logistical nightmares, disrupting internal communication or risking the health and safety of your workforce. With all this taken into account, what’s left to consider?

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