When you’re just starting out in business, no matter what industry you’re entering into, an important stage of the planning process is considering whether you will have a physical base and how each aspect of your business will manifest itself. For example, will you need to have an office for members of staff to work from, or to act as a reassuring presence for your customers? Will your customer service department consist of remote workers or an in-house team?
Today, we’ll be offering advice on the latter question as it’s a key department for the vast majority of businesses. We will also be focusing on the construction industry as it’s a great example of the kind of field that would benefit the most from considering business structure carefully in their plan.
Amongst the many options available when it comes to designing your customer service department, outsourcing is an obvious choice for companies whose employees travel to different sites to work, such as construction companies. Outsourcing is a new development in the world of remote working and its popularity has risen sharply as a result of the challenges businesses have been facing during the Covid-19 pandemic. Currently, over one third of small businesses outsource business functions, and for good reason.
You can now outsource certain functions to remote teams of ready-trained staff, at a fraction of the cost of employing full-time employees. You can do this on a temporary or payment basis and this flexibility is particular attractive to those just starting out ,as predicting how busy you’re going to be can be difficult. This can particularly be challenging when it comes to making sure calls are answered. So, how exactly could a construction company benefit from outsourcing telephone answering?
Multi-Tasking for Beginners
As you’ve probably already figured out, starting a new business is a considerable undertaking that can leave you feeling like you’re being pulled from pillar to post. In the beginning, one of the main priorities is to keep costs low while your income is in its initial growth stage, so you find yourself trying to wear as many hats as you can to avoid hiring too soon. But soon enough you realise that there is only so much you can do on your own, and this is where outsourcing comes in so handy.
Outsourcing helps you to continue avoiding the considerable expenditure, both in money and time, of hiring a full time employee, instead making the most of extra pairs of hands as and when you need them. Telephone answering is a particular drain on time as there is rarely a moment when lines are dead while you’re building a client base. So outsourcing this function, in particular, is a great way to free up valuable time which you can then invest in the areas of your business that would benefit the most from your expertise.
Use of Your Time
This leads me to my next point. Outsourcing to a remote third party allows you to avoid having a physical base, like an office, to be responsible for. When you have physical premises such as this, it is expected of you to touch base from time to time and help with the running of it. This can be an annoyance when the vast majority of your work consists of travelling to different sites, as it not only takes up valuable time but also forces you to concentrate on areas of your business that may not be as lucrative as those you are being pulled away from.
It also creates the temptation, when you have paperwork to do, to work from the office as it’s an asset you’re already paying for; creating a further pull away from locations you need to be in. Furthermore, it goes without saying that being able to avoid paying for a physical premises is a huge benefit for new businesses. It means no rent to pay, no utilities, no cleaning costs and minimised business taxes. Instead, when you do need to carry out office style work you can do so from the comfort of your own home, within a productive schedule of site visits, safe in the knowledge that trained professionals are handling customer calls.
We’ve touched upon the financial benefits of outsourcing over hiring full-time employees already, and the leading driver for using outsourced services is to cut costs, which is especially appealing to those who are just starting out in business. But there are also other important benefits that come with accepting help from a third-party provider, such as not having to consider an HR team. There are many complications to consider when it comes to hiring full-time staff, for example, there are working regulations to meet which might impact how often they are available when you need them. Whereas outsourcing means having a team on hand at any hour of the day.
You also avoid spending time and money on training, instead benefitting from the skills of experienced staff who know how to turn a lead into a deal and the importance of maintaining a great reputation when handling customer calls. Perhaps the most important benefit for construction companies is the flexible nature of outsourced employees. When you’re dealing with large contracts rather than a steady stream of smaller custom, there will be times when phones are quiet and times when they’re ringing of the hook. Outsourcing on a temporary basis is the perfect solution; allowing you to avoid paying the wages of full-time employees at times when they may not be adding value to the business.
There are many professional skills that are transferable between different roles and industries, but those held by you as a construction specialist are unlikely to be similar to those possessed by customer service specialists. So, rather than trying to juggle various different roles, invest your specialist skills into the work you’re trained for in order to get the best return, and leave customer service to those who are the most capable at getting the most out of clients.
Outsourcing allows for this without the cost of hiring a full team of staff, and the complicated recruitment process involved in making sure you have the right combined skill set to cover every aspect of your business. Another benefit of careful designation of tasks is that you will be able to focus on what you enjoy most and what initially attracted you to starting a business in the construction industry in the first place.
Making the most of remote workers through outsourcing is ideal for construction companies as it allows you to be completely flexible when it comes to scheduling in work. Diary management can be one of the most complex aspects of construction work. You have to consider your own and client budgets, time restraints and changes in the availability of resources, to mention just a few of the various obstacles that can interrupt plans. So, taking away as many challenges as possible yourself, is crucial.
Having a completely mobile work force and becoming known for such, makes you an attractive prospect for those looking to hire construction teams. It means that you are better able to meet client demands and utilise your time efficiently in order to meet agreed budgets and timelines. A lot of the work you do will have a considerable impact, for example, you could be contracted to build part of a hospital. Therefore, the more successful you are at sticking to agreed schedules, the better you reputation will become and the more clients will come your way.
This leads me to my next point; having a number of functions of your business carried out remotely via outsourcing gives you the flexibility to work internationally. Many businesses have been able to expand internationally as a result of the necessary changes in business structure that have come with the threat of the Corona Virus. It has forced them to trial a remote workforce and the many benefits that come with this, leading to the new prospect of being able to expand globally without the cost of multiple expensive premises and other associated costs.
For the construction industry, it is particularly easy to work abroad as you are a mobile workforce with mobile skills and can, therefore, carry out your work almost anywhere. Once business functions such as customer service are being taken care of by a remote team, all you need to do is travel to the site in question and get started. Your telephone team can even look after arrangements when it comes to foreign material suppliers. This is a stark contrast to being tied to a UK office with the prospect of an international contract involving multiple off-putting and expensive complications.
Finally, construction work is simply not conducive to the kind of environment required to make on-site telephone calls. This kind of work is known for being incredibly noisy, so much so that workers are required to wear protective equipment over their ears. For this reason it is the perfect industry to make the most of remote, outsourced staff who can handle productive customer calls in a peaceful environment, uninterrupted by the valuable work taking place on site.
Hopefully we’ve managed to open your eyes to the many benefits of outsourcing your telephone answering function if you are a construction company, or any company that, for the most part, travels to multiple client sites in order to carry out your work. 78% of businesses all over the world feel positive about their outsourcing partners and it’s no wonder! It allows for ultimate flexibility which, in turn, makes you a more attractive prospect for clients, allows you to stick to schedules and improve your reputation, save money and invest your time and skills in that which offers the best return.