Some companies take their freelancer use to another level. Instead of just hiring freelancers to fill talent gaps or for isolated projects, these companies achieve their business goals by building virtual teams. The teams become part of the company’s business strategy to wow customers, maintain competitiveness, and increase revenue.
Even if you use virtual teams now, chances are, there are still ways they can help your company move with more agility and speed. Here are five inspirational examples that will get you thinking differently about what they can really do for your business.
1. Create New Revenue Streams
One way companies increase revenue is by upselling or cross-selling other products to existing customers. But one large web hosting company only had two offerings: domain hosting and registration. They wanted to drive additional revenue by creating a new add-on service—affordable website design. Needing a cost-effective way to create and test different designs, the company built a virtual team of website designers. Because the team is virtual, the company was able to scale it quickly as customer demand grew. Today, the team includes over 70 freelance designers who can create new websites in less than 72 hours. Customers are able to get a quality website with fast turnaround time. And the company has a new revenue stream, another way to attract new customers, and more revenue per customer.
2. Take Advantage of Customer Trends
Customers are more demanding these days: They want help now, they want it personalized, and they want it to be convenient. That’s why live chat is becoming a popular customer service trend. One tech startup needed to take advantage of this trend quickly. They had just built a huge U.S.-based call center, but were growing so quickly, they nearly hit capacity within a few months. Without time or a budget to build another one, they took advantage of the live chat trend by augmenting their existing Philippines-based live chat team. They hired an additional 139 English-speaking customer service agents, then diverted some of the heavy call volume from the call center. Live chat proved so efficient and popular, the company reduced its call center volume by over a half, thereby extending their deadline to build another one. And their virtual team maintained the company’s high-service levels, at a cost of 5X less per customer interaction.
3. OVERCOME SALES OBSTACLES
An old business adage advises: Sell something that solves a customer’s problem. But what if you’re the one who created the problem? That’s what one online company faced when their manual property listing system prevented them from capturing multi-listing clients in certain locations. They considered building an API (application program interface), but it would take months to build and clients using the API would incur integration costs. They decided to offer a value-added service where the company posted listings for multi-listing clients in select areas. Because the company was absorbing the data entry costs, they needed a very affordable way to provide the service at scale. So they hired a team of eight remote data entry professionals. The team was so efficient, listings posted two times faster, and overall costs stayed within budget. With more inventory, the company’s growth accelerated, and it opened up new markets.
4. Expand Market Reach
Have you ever had so much to do, you wished you could clone yourself? One department of only five employees did just that. While expanding their company’s market reach into new countries, they needed help with translation projects. To remain within budget and on deadline, the projects had to be completed with minimal editing. The company hired over 100 freelancers covering 21 languages, in over 30 countries. Before long, the freelancers understood the company and projects so well, the five-person department felt as if they were cloned all over the world. Although the freelancers worked remotely, the team knew the work was getting done right, and on time. This confidence allowed them to focus on other tasks, which helped them expand faster into more markets.
5. INCREASE AGILITY WHILE REDUCING RISK
Sometimes, operating with more agility can expose you to more risk. One leading business publication handled it by delegating freelancer classification to someone else. This company regularly hired virtual teams from all over the world. Depending on the project, some teams worked remotely while others worked onsite. While this flexibility increased the company’s efficiency, having so many people working on different projects from multiple locations also increased the company’s risk of misclassifying workers. So they partnered with Upwork Enterprise to properly classify all new and existing contingent workers. They also used Upwork Payroll services for W-2 employees. By letting specialists handle their worker classification, they not only saved time and money, they also gained peace of mind knowing they can hire in almost any location, and remain in compliance with local laws. Just as important, it freed them to focus on getting their work done.
Today’s executives are busier than ever before. Partly because you must respond quickly to continually evolving customer and business demands. And do it with limited time, resources, and budget. With so many challenges facing you daily, consider using more virtual teams. As you saw above, they’re a smart solution for creating innovative ways to drive revenue and growth.
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