As businesses make the return to work in offices and shop fronts across Australia, what lessons have they learnt from the remote work experience? A Team Tuition and Insure 247 share their stories.
Massive disruption brings massive opportunities
For Hayden McEvoy, Founder of A Team Tuition, a Queensland-based small business that supplies tutors to students across the nation, the coronavirus crisis delivered challenges and opportunities. Like many other small businesses, A Team Tuition was a face-to-face operation before the pandemic. When lockdowns and restrictions landed, McEvoy needed to think fast to support both his staff and the students they tutored.
McEvoy says as the crisis evolved, the disruption to the education system was unprecedented. Schools across almost all states and territories moved to an online curriculum, and parents were encouraged or mandated to keep their children at home.
McEvoy understood the challenges parents and students faced at this shift in education patterns. He decided to move A Team Tuition’s tutoring to an online model to ensure his pupils could still get access to the resources and help they needed.
“Our entire team moved online the third week of March, and while there were a few early concerns from parents about how tutoring online would work, we’ve not had any issues. I couldn’t imagine being able to do this a year ago, but today our processes are mature, and we have Salesforce to provide transparency of what’s happening,” said McEvoy.
Robust systems maintain productivity and visibility
McEvoy admits developing A Team Tuition from a side hustle with a few clients out of his mum’s lounge room to a team of over 200 tutors has not been without teething problems. With his business seeing 80 per cent year-on-year growth, it was inevitable something had to give. To continue to sustain rapid growth and scale his business, McEvoy needed a plan. His first priority was upgrading his technology to deliver a better experience to more students. To enable this, the business turned to Salesforce.
McEvoy acknowledges before implementing Salesforce solutions, data management was out of control, and the business was missing out on many opportunities due to a lack of visibility.
“We realised there was a lack of clarity and inconsistency across our data and so we took the time to clean things up and used Salesforce to streamline our sales process. We’re now managing leads and data more consistently and have a clear view of who our customers are,” said McEvoy.
Embracing digital transformation
Before the pandemic, A Team Tuition relied upon paper resources and face-to-face meetings. Tutors often worked with students in their homes, guiding pupils through lessons from workbooks. Now classes have moved to a digital environment. To keep up with demand, McEvoy has hired more tutors to support families through the crisis and has digitised many resources.
“Some of these resources, like lesson plans, will be made available to tutors using Salesforce Knowledge within Community Cloud,” McEvoy says. “Our tutors are more productive and are reporting more focused engagement from students. So, we know the model is working, and we will continue to grow to meet demand.”
A Team Tuition tutors also now report on students’ progress after every session, with reports completed within Salesforce Community Cloud and sent out to parents via Pardot.
“Parents love the new reporting, and it is especially great for those with students at boarding school as they may not have as much chance to find out what’s happening in the sessions. They now have more visibility into their child’s progress and how we’re working with them to improve,” McEvoy said.
Business as unusual
The pandemic has caused several disruptions for Steve Sloan founder and managing director at Insure 247; an insurance brokerage initially set up in the family garage.
When Sloan and his son first launched the brokerage, both were new to the industry. He admits it was a steep learning curve. However, by putting his customer at the heart of the business, Sloan says he was able to build out what he describes as the “ultimate broker platform”.
“Paperless, 100 per cent digital, with the client at the centre of the process. We use it as a communication tool – whether that is phone, SMS or email – and our brokers get a complete view of the client’s file.”
Sloan says when setting up Insure 247, they were determined to be cloud-based. It’s a strategy that has paid off in recent months. Taking a digital approach has ensured the business has seen minimal system disruptions during the pandemic as his team members transitioned to work from home.
Apps to the rescue
“During this time, Salesforce apps came into their own, and our platform meant whoever took a call could pick up on the client’s concerns or issues. Even though the staff member who stated the process may not have been working at that stage,” Sloan said.
As conditions and restrictions rapidly changed, Sloan says their Salesforce solutions ensured they could keep clients informed.
“We used Marketing Cloud so that we could keep our clients up to date with changes- and they were happening hourly in those first few weeks. And we were lucky as we use Natterbox. So, no one was tied to their desks. The minute someone needed to work from home, they could set up the next morning and go for it.”
Data guides the way
In times of crisis, it’s vital to have all the information you can to make informed decisions. Sloan says Insure 247 relied upon data to drive their next steps as the coronavirus crisis unfolded.
“We used data in real-time to decide our next best actions,” Sloan said.
“We did have to service clients with less personnel. But by using real-time data, we could quickly identify clients at risk. What we tried to talk to the team about was positioning ourselves as the client’s trusted partner. The guiding principle was family values. Honest intention is the best intention and treat others how you want to be treated.”
This article was first published on Small Business First. You can see the original content here.
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