How can small businesses improve back office efficiency?

Make sure you delegate tasks to the employee with the most appropriate skill set.

By Emma Miller

A lot of effort is put into streamlining and optimizing your front office and dealing with customers. This is by all means of crucial importance for any business because customer experience is a clincher when it comes to converting prospects into customers. According to some stats, by 2020 customer experience will play an even more important role than the price or product when it comes to differentiating a brand. Still, much of the hard work that enables the front office to function seamlessly actually happens behind the scenes – in the back office. Besides that, by optimizing back-office activities you can also slash costs and improve your bottom line. Still, this isn’t an easy task to do, so here are a couple of helpful tips.

Cut down on meetings

[amazon_link asins=’1484804287′ template=’ProductAd’ store=’succeedingi0d-20′ marketplace=’US’ link_id=’20aef4ba-ac5e-11e8-8bad-472fe36ee055′]The latest research studies have shown that meetings have become longer and more frequent and that executives spend on the average almost 23 hours a week in meetings. While meetings are necessary as they help your staff and management stay on the same page by allowing you to communicate and delegate tasks, overcome obstacles, and keep everyone posted on the latest developments, they’re also one of the greatest time wasters and productivity killers. If you want your back office to be efficient and productive, you need to run brief, stand-up meetings and invite only the people who need to participate. Another thing you do to foster communication and cut down on meetings is using online collaboration tools. They can significantly boost your back office productivity by streamlining communication and helping you manage different group projects.

Automate different business processes

By automating back-office workload you can help your employees work less and achieve more. Nowadays, advanced technologies allow you to automate almost all tedious, repetitive tasks so that your back office staff can focus on more important things. So, who needs complex spreadsheets, manual filing, and processing tons paperwork when you can take advantage of customized back office support that will handle all these G&A activities and streamline them? Needless to say, this will also improve customer experience by providing the requested information in a timely manner and with accuracy.

[amazon_link asins=’0471655775′ template=’ProductAd’ store=’succeedingi0d-20′ marketplace=’US’ link_id=’35f74216-ac5e-11e8-b9cf-1dff5b599176′]Outsource routine business processes

Business process outsourcing is a strategy that many businesses implement to help streamline and manage routine business processes from customer service to data entry and administration. Outsourcing supporting processes enables organizations more time to strengthen their core business processes and offers many benefits, such as access to skilled expertise, reduced overhead, flexible staffing, and increased efficiency.

Start monitoring efficiency metrics

To be able to improve your back office efficiency, it’s vital to find out how long it takes to perform certain tasks. That’s why you need to start monitoring and analyzing efficiency metrics. Once you establish where the most critical bottlenecks are, it will be possible to eliminate them. One of the best ways to track performance is to create a global task list that will provide better visibility of all the processes.

Prioritize tasks

Your back office staff works hard to stay on top of their tasks, but it can be challenging when the workload escalates. The worst possible solution is to urge them to multitask because it will only lead to their poor performance, not to mention burnout. To avoid this unpleasant scenario, it’s a good idea to prioritize and push time-sensitive tasks and those with higher value to the top of the list, thus ensuring that they will be completed in a timely manner. There are several factors that can be taken into account when it comes to prioritizing tasks, such as the expected revenue or how long a task has been queued. Managers should be able to switch priorities quickly as the circumstances change.

[amazon_link asins=’B00JNYCOW6′ template=’ProductAd’ store=’succeedingi0d-20′ marketplace=’US’ link_id=’49709b99-ac5e-11e8-bcfa-232c8000381e’]Delegate the best person for the job

As important as it is to prioritize tasks, assigning them to people with the right set of skills is even more so. Managers should be in charge of this process, since waiting for the employees themselves to pick a task they want isn’t a good approach as some of them might resort to choosing the easiest tasks and avoiding complex, higher-priority ones. Namely, employee skills and availability should be taken into consideration when delegating tasks, because that way the quality won’t be affected. However, there’s a downside to manual task delegation – some employees might be under the impression that there’s favoritism at play. Using rules-based task assigning software will prevent this problem from happening.

Forecast and schedule

By implementing all previously mentioned strategies, you’ll be able to keep track of how the workload is being handled, who’s in charge of what, and how tasks are being performed, which will allow you to set priorities, predict workload volume, and manage workforce needs. With the help of automation and the visibility it provides, supervisors can manage more employees. Besides that, they won’t have to spend hours working on their scheduling timesheets and other paperwork. Instead of that, they can focus on helping employees improve their skills and performance.

These simple tips can make a world of difference when it comes to improving back office efficiency.


Emma Miller is a digital marketer and blogger from Sydney. After getting a marketing degree she started working with Australian startups on business and marketing development. Emma writes for many relevant, industry related online publications and does a job of an executive editor at Bizzmark blog and a guest lecturer at Melbourne University. Interested in marketing, startups and latest business trends.


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