Time to clean up the messWednesday September 23rd, 2009
It's surprising how many businesses are relying on paper scraps, filing cabinets and excel spreadsheets to keep track of vital data. These solutions are better than nothing, but trust me, there are far better options out there. Here are some of the most common areas where technology is under-utilized.
It’s surprising how many businesses are relying on paper scraps, filing cabinets and excel spreadsheets to keep track of vital data. These solutions are better than nothing, but trust me, there are far better options out there. Maybe this is old news to you, but it can’t hurt to consider the mess that’s building up and admit that it’s time to invest in alternative methods of collecting, tracking, organizing (and digitizing) your business. Customers expect immediate information, flawless service and automated processes. So make the necessary changes for them, while improving your business internally at the same time. It’s going to take a dedicated effort to get started, but you’ll be happy you did. Here are some of the most common areas where technology is under-utilized.
Consider moving your address book and those unwieldy spreadsheets to a CRM (customer relationship management) system to database contacts. There are many popular proprietary options including SugarCRM and Salesforce when it comes to creating a customer database. You also have the option of a custom CRM, geared specifically to your needs. Any choice will likely utilize cloud computing, where your internal files and applications exist in an online environment. You’ll need to dedicate time to collect and merge all of your important contacts to get your CRM up and running, but when it’s done you’ll feel refreshed. With a CRM in place you are positioned for better customer relations, return business opportunities and growth now that all information is accessible to your entire staff and organized for progress.
Have you heard of Google Analytics, Visistat or Omniture? If not, you’re missing out on a wealth of valuable data from your website, online marketing and email marketing campaigns. You’re probably moving a good portion of your marketing spending online, and that’s a really good thing, just don’t forget to collect your data and analyze. You should know who’s visiting, who’s clicking, how your website is performing and if your online media spending is working for you. Stop guessing whether your marketing dollars are paying off and start tracking them to find out.
Were you ever stuck with an outdated website and no means of updating it yourself? New clients approach us with this problem all the time. There are plenty of useful content management platforms out there including both custom and open source, that can be built for your exact needs. Stop accepting invoices from your web designer for simple updates that you (or anyone on your staff) can handle with ease.
It’s true, the need for online surveys definitely depends on your industry, but we can all agree that there’s power in customer feedback. There are plenty of options for creating and distributing online surveys through your website or email, and s you’ll be collecting valuable feedback, ready for analysis. Surveying isn’t just for customer service in the retail and hospitality industries, it’s a powerful tool for consultants and creative companies to organize creative processes, improve customer service and to get a better feel for what clients want.