Nov 3, 2020 Written by David Barlev

How to Reduce Data Entry Time for Your Client Management System

A computer screen with text on it

Wondering how you can reduce data entry time for your client management system (CMS)?

Until robots can talk with clients and perfectly input data from those conversations, manual data entry remains king.

Unfortunately, being a human leaves lots of room for error, some of which can cost a company valuable time and money. So how can you ensure your data is accurate while avoiding common problems with data entry?

More importantly, can you do it without losing too much time? In this blog, we’ll talk about some strategies for how to streamline data entry practices for your client management system.

Use Software that Fits Your Needs

A man sitting at a deskRight off the bat, too many small businesses complicate their data entry process because their systems are more complex than they need. This is understandable—new businesses don’t have the experience to pick a CMS that does just what they need.

Instead, they get sold on features and aesthetics that end up costing money and wasting time while they use it.

If you already have a CMS, it can be difficult to switch to another platform. However, it may be possible to build a custom dashboard that imports data from your current program.

What you shouldn’t do is keep dumping time and money into a system that clearly doesn’t do what you need it to. ContactBabel reported that over 12% of data agent time is spent on after-call work, leading to billions of dollars wasted on tasks that could have been solved by simply working with a better CMS.

Just because you committed to a faulty system doesn’t mean you have to stay with it forever. Explore your options and find ways you can move on.

Establish a Uniform Input System

Data entry must be accurate if it is to be useful, but there is a host of issues that plague this process. For example, having to flip back and forth between web pages while maintaining a conversation can lead to duplicate information and frustrated customers.

Is there a ‘notes’ section that is constantly filled up with random details about the customer?

Will it be easy to scan next time you contact them? Do you find a common thread of extra information that would be better suited to a dedicated data field?

The more leeway your employees have to write down anything that comes to mind, the more time you will have to spend interpreting that data. Instead, plan out a script and a corresponding form where your data entry specialists can gather only the pertinent information.

Yes, there will be situations where an agent has to enter unique data, so leave room for those instances. Otherwise, limit data fields as much as possible.

Invest in Better Equipment

A team of workers at a tableAny business owner can tell you how fragile customer relationships are. Getting in touch with a customer or partner is a delicate dance, and their time must be treated with the utmost respect.

Phone calls are not to be taken for granted, so make sure you have the right gear for your employees.

If they have to deal with dropped calls or jitter, they will be distracted, making it harder to ensure accurate data entry.

We’ve all been jarred into a lack of confidence about a call once one is dropped, so limit these kinds of bad experiences if you want to ensure timely, accurate data entry. Noise-canceling headphones and strong internet connections can keep calls clear and stable.

Another time-waster for data entry comes from not having enough screen space to navigate with. Instead of inputting information, employees have to close one window to open another, add a new field, and enter the data. This is both costly and frustrating.

Make sure your data entry specialists have adequate workspace that allows them free and easy navigation to go about their duties. Without it, you risk more errors with your data along with extended call times.

Set Goals & Incentives for Data Entry Specialists

Employees should know how much time is normal to spend on data entry. Asking too many questions not only wastes your time, but it wastes your customers’ time as well.

Obtaining data should be a sleek process that moves quickly—not a time to get to know someone’s favorite film director.

Hold regular trainings about how long calls should normally last, and make it easy to reach those standards. Without isolating anyone, let your teams know how and why some people perform well.

Find reasons to reward your employees! This isn’t so much a data entry best practice as it is a tip for life—people respond better to positive affirmation than negative reinforcement. By rewarding good behavior at every possible turn, your teams will have confidence that they can do the job, and that investment carries returns.

However, don’t reward speed at the expense of accuracy.

Your highest priority is accuracy, so make sure your employees feel confident enough to do the job right without cutting corners. Know the process yourself. If you can walk someone through a call on your own, you’ll have the know-how to teach someone else what to do.

Hire More QA Staff to Automate the Process

A pair of glasses in front a screenThe best way for your team to continue entering accurate data quickly is to have enough people for the job. Sure, you may get lucky and find one specialist with lightning fingers, but stacking their workload over and over again will likely cause burnout and leave you with one less great employee.

Instead, make sure you hire enough people to get the job done. Your QA staff will also be a crucial part of ensuring accurate data. They can build testing programs that will check for any errors made by data entry specialists.

These programs can take hours off the process, and that’s more time available to spend on important tasks.

A good testing framework will also give you insights about the most common data entry errors in your specific company. This is valuable data that can help you better train employees and refine your data entry process.

Building Better Automation

Once an agent enters the data you need, they shouldn’t have to copy and paste it elsewhere. Make you have programs that can transfer data elsewhere so that you can cut down on wasted time.

Not sure how to automate it? Speak with a reputable software developer that can guide you toward your own customized CMS dashboard using manually entered data.

It’s not as difficult as it sounds.

Data automation has become a big business, and best practices for making useful programs are becoming more and more prevalent among small businesses. Your employees [probably] aren’t tech geniuses, and they shouldn’t be expected to transfer data quickly using outdated software.

Instead, provide them with useful tools to read the data they enter and export it to a format that can be read by the other software your company uses.

Help Your Team Develop Relevant Skills

There are numerous free resources available that teach people to type faster, use keyboard shortcuts, and increase their overall speed at work. Encourage your team to use them. Not only will this help them perform better at work, it will also give them valuable skills they can take into the future.

It’s worth incentivizing these skills, so get creative and brainstorm some fun contests and raffles to give your team a reason to improve at performing their job duties.

Minimize Distractions in the Workplace

There’s no substitute for a quiet, distraction-free workplace. Much has been written about how internal communication and mojo emails only waste time by breaking employee focus. This is devastating to anyone trying to finish a task, and it doesn’t do much good.

Imagine trying to proofread your work to check for errors when you suddenly get a GIF from your boss about how they can’t wait for the weekend. Sure, it’s light-hearted, but it’s also annoying.

Invest in the right surroundings for your data entry specialists. They can’t do their job correctly if they’re being called on to handle someone else’s problems all the time. Give them the focus they need to avoid making common data entry errors.

Keep Doing Your Homework

New programs are constantly coming out that can offer new ways to speed up data entry and reduce errors. What may be more important, however, is the reason these programs are developed in the first place.

Many times, the research associated with their release can give you a better idea of the challenges your data entry specialists face and how they can fix those problems. By knowing the business ecosystem, you will be a better advocate and representative for the help your employees need.

Don’t be afraid to ask your own employees about what they think could improve the workplace. You just might score a great idea that helps take your business to the next level.

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