Eva: Good morning. Eva from Affordable Staff and with me I have Michelle Rigg from Rentwest Solutions. Good morning, Michelle, how are you?
Michelle: Morning, Eva. Very well, thank you.
Eva: Great, fantastic. Michelle, I just wanted to have a quick chat about your experiences in outsourcing and I guess how it’s all come about.
Why Did You Choose To Outsource?
Michelle: A variety of reasons. I think the main one was that we found that a lot of our junior staff coming through, they don’t tolerate those admin and repetitive tasks only for so long.
Eva: They get bored.
Michelle: Yes, yes. And I guess their expectation of promotion, we weren’t able to meet that at the speed that they wanted. So, we’ve started outsourcing the admin tasks and free up our staff to have more connection with the clients as well.
Importance Of Trust In Outsourcing
Eva: I guess, when it comes to outsourcing, trust can be a bit of a challenge. Is that something that’s been in the forefront for your business?
Michelle: Yes, certainly. So before we did actually make the move, we did a lot of research. We spoke to people that were doing outsourcing. We’ve actually tried a couple of companies with the outsourcing and we’re very happy with Affordable Staff and absolutely can recommend Affordable Staff 100%.
Eva: Thank you.
Michelle: But I think that like anything, it’s like anybody part of your team, you extend a part of our team so knowing the cultures–it matches and the integrity is very very important.
Is Outsourcing Taking Jobs Away From Australians?
Michelle: No, no. Not at all. We didn’t lose any of our staff in that process. What it allows us to do is actually be more engaged in the whole property management side. We’re more engaged with our clients. And we’ve actually been able to add in more clients, better client experience by doing it because you’re not actually getting bogged down.
Eva: With the admin.
Michelle: With the admin, those repetitive sort of tasks and it actually enables all our team to work at a much higher level.
Outsourcing’s Impact On Client Service
Eva: Have you had any feedback from your clients at all in that regard as well? Does the significant level of customer service that’s increased or in general it’s just made the business a little bit more effective?
Michelle: We’ve always had a high customer satisfaction rate. But with the market that we’ve just come out of Perth, we are actually able to maintain that customer satisfaction and experience. We didn’t think a lot of businesses were affected by the high vacancy rate and the leasing. We were actually able to maintain that with our staff and continue that high level of service as well as at the same time looking at ways of adding in and looking at what else we could outsource to our support girls to enable our team to actually work smarter.
Have You Found Any Limitations With Outsourcing?
Michelle: The limitations are probably from our side. Our phone system doesn’t allow us, it’s not a VoIP system. So that’s something that we’ve got.
Eva: Previous internet challenges that you may have had in the area.
Michelle: Yes. Yes. So we’re addressing those. So I think it’s more so on our side than the actual support team. I think, you know, if the training’s right and everything, and you’ve employed the right person like in your team, then they can do the tasks that you want them to do.
How Is The Local Team Engaging With The Offshore Staff?
Michelle: It took a while. We had to make some changes because we found that the way with our girls e-mailing them direct, they weren’t clear enough on their instructions. So we have one point of contact, Brianna, who does a fantastic job at managing our support team.
Brianna skypes them everyday. She assists with their inquiries. The team, we’ve engaged them in our we’ve got a complete Facebook page, so the girls are on that. So we do interact with them and on the e-mails. So we’ve also skyped them into our meetings as well.
Eva: And actually the girls are here in Australia at the moment.
Eva: And it’s interesting how, I’ve watched them this morning, it’s their first day in the office. And you can tell that they feel included. They feel part of the team which is absolutely wonderful.
Michelle: Yeah and they are a very important part of our team. Everybody is aware of them. Everybody knows in any staff induction that we have, we go through and we introduce the girls to them. We celebrate their birthdays. And I think that’s very important when you’ve got a team that is outsourced. And that’s why we call them our support team. They’re support and the backbone of all the admin work.
It’s funny now when we have meetings with the team about reviewing our checklists, we think about what else we can get the girls to do. Whereas in the beginning, it was like “Oh no, we wanna keep that. We wanna keep that.” Now they’re like, “Oh, look they can do all these stuff.”
Eva: It’s funny. It’s a very common trend. At first, you always find that our team members who do find it a little bit hard to let go, as they develop the trust and the relationship, that’s when things do, I guess, they enjoy a lot more with ease. And I guess where I found the biggest impact is if you include them in those team meetings, if you include them in the conversation, that’s where the trust is built.
Michelle: Absolutely. And I think it goes down to our processes and the training behind it as well. So we do a lot of videos where the girls can just repeat it and it’s actually great because it built quality control system as well because the support girls won’t go past the checklists, whereas the tendency is you’ve got people in the office.
Eva: It’s a bit of a gray line.
Michelle: Yeah. So it’s actually and in-built quality control system as well.
What Impact Has Outsourcing Made On Your Business?
Michelle: Cost-wise, it’s obviously reduced our costs in labor. But it’s also enabled us to put in better processes, quality control. The biggest impact is to free up our property managers. We have junior property managers and property managers now. We don’t have assistants, as they say.
Eva: Career progression, as well.
Michelle: Yes. Yeah. But also just be more hands on and have that time to have those really important conversations with owners and tenants.
What Advice Would You Give To People Considering Outsourcing?
Michelle: I think you need to have your processes in place. You need to have a clear direction of what you want to outsource, and have the systems and the processes set up first. Because it’s not like you can-
Eva: Just throw someone in.
Michelle: No. No. So you need to be very clear on what you’re outsourcing, how it’s going to be done, who’s going to manage the outsourcing people and is contacting them every single day. Like you do when you’re walking around the office.
Eva: You say ‘hello’ to everybody, that’s exactly right.
Michelle: Yes and do your research on the outsourcing company. Cause as I said we’ve had a couple of experiences and like anything, there are good and bad.