"David, we are so busy right now. We really need to hire more help!"
Seems like a pretty straight forward business need. One that I hear all the time with my business coaching clients. Business is booming and hiring more help is the go-to for most entrepreneurs in such a situation. But what if there was another way? What if you could save yourself more than 45 hours of work....and thousands of dollars in overhead each year by asking yourself a series of questions.
That's exactly what I encourage our clients to do when they find themselves getting ready to hire a new employee. Because often times, it's not about having more help, it's about designing your processes in such a way that you can get more done with less.
Let's say for instance that you are looking to hire another customer service rep to help field your customer service questions that come in via the web or by phone. Before hiring, I would ask the following questions about your customer service position and systems.
How could we radically simplify this process or activity to create more value with less time, attention, or cost?
If money were no object, how would we approach designing this?
If we had only a fraction of the money or time that we actually have, how would we approach designing this?
How could we automate, template, or standardize it?
What are the most common and costly mistakes that occur when doing this task or running this process, and how could we redesign this process to completely design out these common and costly errors?
How could we spend a little more money, time, or attention on this activity to radically improve its value, quality, impact, durability, or consistency?
How could we redesign this process to take less time, attention, or money and get the same or better result?
How could we design this activity or process to be easier and more obvious to use?
How could we make this activity or process so obvious and simple that a totally new person could successfully use it to get great results with little or no training?
If we were starting fresh, with no sunk costs or historic baggage, how would we design this activity or process today?
After asking these questions you may come to the conclusion that you have customer service requests coming in from multiple locations, causing you to spend extra people power to sort and delegate amongst your existing representatives. A possible alternative to hiring, would be to enlist the use of a more robust CRM system and writing some FAQ responses to your most frequently asked questions and making them available to your customers and prospects. If the solution costs less than a new employees salary would be, then you may find yourself putting the job listing on hold in lieu of better design.