Do you know how efficient is your back office operation from an internal perspective and from a customer perspective? Is your back office optimised with a small cost base and is it delivering consistent, high quality service for your customers? If you are serious about delivering competitive advantage through improved service and reduced cost then it’s important to be able to answer these questions.
The back office is frequently considered to be lower profile and less glamorous than its customer-facing counterpart, but it’s the back office that is responsible for a massive range of administrative processes that are fundamental to the running of an organisation and is the engine that drives business performance.
In today's rapidly evolving business environment, the back office is frequently challenged to devise new processes very quickly in order to handle new business. So cost and efficiency can sometimes take second place to the practicalities of simply getting the job done. And with so many personnel and so many complex activities to manage, it’s no wonder that the back office can become inefficient and cost bases increase.
Efficiency is doing things right; effectiveness is doing the right things.
Making the back office more efficient
To truly optimise and unlock the full potential of your back office operation, there are a number key elements that underpin delivery.
Key factors underpinning a highly efficient Operational Back Office
- Operational Management Frameworks – defining the way you work and what is expected of managers and staff
- Practice & Principles – creating regular routines for a consistent approach – daily planning, work allocation, workflow monitoring, active management routines, management information, clear communications and visibility.
- Accreditation – of managers to ensure they can implement sustainable change and continual improvement.
- Quality Frameworks – providing a clear structure and a quality philosophy that gets staff and management working towards the common goal of continual improvement.
- Forecasting and planning – predict future workload to ensure teams have capacity. Plan for distribution of work to the right people, at the right time, with the right skills. Make maximum use of available resources.
- Software – integrated system allows all workflows to be monitored from a central dashboard, enabling efficient resourcing in line with work volumes. Facilitates accurate forecasting, predictive forecasting and effective capacity management.
- MI suite – enabling holistic understanding of people and process – historical, real time and predictive.
Don’t lower your expectations to meet your performance. Raise your level of performance to meet your expectations.
The role of software
Software plays a vitally important role in achieving high levels of productivity and efficiency when coupled with correctly trained Managers with the behaviours, mindset and routines. But if your core systems and processes aren’t optimal, and you have the wrong people doing the wrong things at the wrong time, software alone will fail to deliver the majority of the potential gains.
Are you experiencing any of the below issues in your back office operation?
- Inconsistency of service delivery
- Customers are experiencing significant turnaround times and long elapsed end 2 end processing or you just don’t know?
- Lack of transparency, right down to individual items and tasks
- Lack of accurate MI that combines all risk elements in one place forecasting and effective planning
- Spiralling costs
- ack of robust action planning
An Inefficient back office operation will cause the above symptoms. If you recognise any of these within your organisation, it’s likely you have a good opportunity to optimise your back office and deliver real positive change.
If you are looking to unlock value as described below then you need consider your approach to your back office operation.
- Cost base control ratio with customer growth
- Delivering more for the same through the unlocking of capacity
- Reducing complaints volumes
- Improved service satisfaction NPS or service awards
- Overhead costs allowing you to win new business
- Engaged, motivated staff