Is your business looking to increase productivity and efficiency in 2021? If so, we have compiled this list of business efficiency trends to provide some inspiration. Even better, we’ve broken them up by area to make it easier to apply within your business.
Human resources (HR)
HR management efficiency plans
Given the turbulent relationship between the pandemic and the economy, it’s now more important than ever to retain existing talent, hire quality employees and keep staff engagement and motivation high.
Mark Whittle, VP of Gartner Advisory states “as organisations move from their initial pandemic response to more sustainable operations, they’re trying to build resilience into everything, from strategy to work design, to enable the organisation, its leadership and employees to sense and respond to change, repeatedly.”
To support this, top priorities amongst HR leaders include around 68% of them wanting to focus on building critical skills and competencies while another 46% aim to focus on organisational design and change management.
With unemployment rates sitting at 6.4% in Australia, 6.3% in America, and 5.0% in the UK, it shouldn’t come as a surprise that HR managers are looking to focus on securing premium talent and effective reporting structures to improve business efficiencies in 2021 and combat future economic downfalls.
Monitoring productivity in a remote work setting
88% of organisations worldwide made it mandatory or encouraged their employees to work from home after COVID-19 was declared a pandemic. At the beginning of the pandemic, many businesses were concerned about productivity levels, with limited supervision, how could they ensure their remote workers were getting work done? It surprised many that productivity levels actually increased by 47% with employees working from home.
Although some employees are eager to settle back into their city offices, many have found that working from home has improved their overall work-life balance and are reluctant to return. In fact, 25 - 35% of the U.S. workforce will be working at home on more than one day per week by the end of 2021. To sustain the increase in productivity, HR needs to understand that not all employees may be better off returning to the Monday to Friday pre-COVID work routine.
Instead, managers should be speaking to their employees and identifying what working environments make them “want to work”. HR should consider solutions that can support this with around 56% of employees in the U.S. employed in roles that can partially be compatible with sustained working from home environments.
One of the constant challenges facing SMEs is how to improve the efficiency and effectiveness of their sales process and sales teams. Within sales, business efficiency can be determined by prospect-to-client ratio, closing deals and hitting financial goals. For many businesses, this involves business growth and most importantly, quality salespeople. Recent studies have found that 1 in 3 companies are not sure exactly how to scale their operations. To help your sales managers and front-line sales consultants improve productivity and ultimately close deals in 2021, businesses need to really understand what prospective clients want.
Security & privacy
With the increase of businesses reliance on cloud-based software due to the introduction of remote work, the 2021 client profile is shaped around looking for data security, privacy and accountability within its business relationships. Currently, only 57% of B2B companies can confidently say they meet that requirement.
Essentially, businesses need to prove that their clients' information is secure as a starting point for hitting business efficiency goals within the sales department.
Customer experience (CX)
Without focusing on existing clients, and making sure you provide them with a positive customer experience, your business could suffer greatly; with 56% of consumers globally having stopped working with a brand due to a single bad service experience and 86% of buyers are willing to pay more for a great customer experience.
The business efficiency statistics surrounding a positive customer experience include:
- 84% of companies that invest in improving their customer experience have reported an increase in revenue as a result.
- 73% of companies performed better financially in comparison to their competitors due to their above-average customer experience processes.
- Employee engagement levels have increased by 20% thanks to companies with initiatives to improve their customer experience.
A big part of increasing business efficiency is ensuring that your marketing and sales goals align well with each other. If your sales goals go one way and your marketing the other, the message you are trying to get across to your client-base can be confusing and often deter customers. But, if you communicate between the teams efficiently, your productivity levels will increase and can result in a 32% increase in revenue, 38% increase in new client win rates, and a 36% increase in customer retention.
It is no surprise that, since COVID-19, business leaders now state that at least 80% of their customer interactions are digital in nature. Digital transformation was a recurring theme in 2020, and this continues into 2021. To hit productivity goals in 2021, digitisation across the business should remain a top priority for your IT team.
From a client-consumer POV
COVID-19 has fuelled even greater growth in the number of consumers seeking to do their shopping and other business over the internet. To accommodate this demand and help rebuild revenue streams, many companies have sought to incorporate a greater digital component into new products, services and distribution channels.
40% of companies that had not embraced digitisation experienced significant revenue losses during the pandemic. Digital-first companies are 64% more likely to achieve their business goals than their peers, and around 80% of customers are more willing to purchase from brands with a mobile customer service portal. Digitisation across the client-facing side of the business is crucial to achieving business efficiency goals in 2021.
From an employee
Companies who embrace digitisation and remote work are likely to reduce potential losses during 2021, as they can maintain a productive workforce despite the logistical challenges. The introduction of teleconferencing systems like Zoom and Microsoft Teams has kept employees feeling connected, and 41% of businesses say video conferencing effectively increased employee engagement.
Companies could save $11,000 per employee by using video conferencing software and digitisation tools; a big pain point when seeking to identify opportunities to improve efficiency on the tech side of a business.
By delivering top-notch customer service, your business can increase customer retention and acquisition rates, ultimately leading to improved margins and profitability. Whether it’s online shopping, reading the news or making a customer service enquiry, consumers now want anything and everything... where, when and how they want it. For a customer service team or centre, this means responding to both phone calls and online enquiries. And online responses are more than just email communications; there’s also live chat, social media, and even monitoring online reviews.
With advances in natural language recognition, most consumers don’t even realise they are interacting with a chatbot, so businesses can avoid tying up valuable customer service resources. Instead, they can dedicate those employees to deal with more complex and important customer care issues, with 30% of US consumers rating chatbot interactions as “very effective” in dealing with customer service issues.
Personalised customer care
77% of consumers have chosen, recommended or paid more for a brand that provides a personalised service or experience. Being able to offer a personalised and tailored customer service experience requires an integrated model that includes a CRM and account management system that talks to your customer service software. But how can these affect efficiencies and productivity within your customer service function?
Personalised customer service interactions can indirectly affect consumer purchasing. In other words, your customer service team can spend less time focusing on getting clients to buy and instead spend more time on other value-adding tasks. The proof is in the facts:
- 49% of customers bought items they didn’t intend to purchase thanks to personalised recommendations
- 40% of consumers say that personalised customer care led them to buy something more expensive than initially planned.
There is a $2.95 trillion opportunity for companies that integrate personalisation techniques into their customer service in retail alone.
How can your business utilise these facts to improve business efficiencies in 2021?
The statistics are enough to suggest opportunities for growth that will ultimately improve your overall business efficiency levels. Whether it be from an employee perspective of valuable skill retention and higher staff satisfaction levels to the customer side of increases in revenue, loyalty and overall brand image, there are many ways businesses can look to improve their productivity levels within their business plan for this year. We have compiled a collection of business efficiency templates to help get you started kicking those efficiency goals today.