Technology continues to enhance how we live, communicate with others and conduct business. The latest uses of technology strengthen old processes (usually through digitization or automation) and create new pathways to connect with customers, vendors and employees in ways only imagined not long ago. When applied correctly, technology can be a game-changer for many small businesses.
For small business owners, using new technologies to help with core business functions could be the difference between growth, stagnation or failure. Business owners diving into the tech world should take time to understand the variations available to them, identify their business needs and invest in the right technology for their business size and long-term growth.
Understand Your Goals
For businesses on a tight operating budget or looking to establish a baseline of technology from an operational standpoint, there are three primary areas of investments on which to focus your efforts, time and money: HR and payroll management software, customer service management software and sales/lead management software. For small business owners, these are the areas of your business that likely require the most use of your time administratively. Each is important and requires attention, but how much of these areas can be delegated to technology is up to the business owner. Understanding where your attention is most needed and most valued to succeed is your first order of business. With a road map and strategic plan in place, where to apply resources is the next step.
HR And Workforce Technology
HR and workforce management software can be your company’s saving grace. Many solutions offer platforms that your company can build on as it grows. It allows employers to drive HR functions such as PTO scheduling, benefits support and training documents to employees, empowering them while reducing the administrative burden. HR software can’t replace the human element in human resources, but it can make managing those specific business operations easier. For small businesses that don’t have a dedicated HR department, this is where value is added, as it simplifies critical HR processes so that you can focus on those tasks that require your expertise.
Sales And Lead Generation Software
The number one effort of your sales staff (if your business requires one) is to connect with existing customers and forge relationships with new ones. Relationship building is still a vital component of your business and can help grow customer loyalty, foster word-of-mouth leads and help close sales (or attract more people to your business).
A good sales and lead generation program can act like a digital assistant that tracks inbound and outbound leads, provides reminders for calling back potential customers and provides information about customers’ requests—all automatically organized into a contact database.
Another tool that should be added to track your company website is Google Analytics for small or medium-sized businesses. You can use this information to target a specific audience and learn which aspects of your business are most attractive to your customers and how customers interact with your digital presence.
Customer Service Software
Customer service software can be considered an essential part of nearly any business operation today. From keeping a digital record of your customers to understanding their buying behavior and purchase patterns, a good customer relationship management (CRM) program can help boost your business and is the foundation for any existing or future digital marketing programs. CRMs are integrated with many peripheral programs to help connect with your customers across many platforms. From digital advertising to email marketing programs, staying connected with your customers—and attracting new ones—is the key to growing your business and showcasing your services or business offerings.
Additionally, using customer relationship/service management software can improve the quality of customer interactions, which can help create lifetime loyalty to your business. CRM software centralizes data and enables straightforward marketing campaigns.
One of the leading benefits of good CRM software is to increase the speed and efficiency of communication. When you use a CRM platform, you can use services such as prewritten email support templates. This helps save time when interacting with customers or when invoicing, scheduling services (if that is the nature of your business) or engaging with customers for any other reason.
Improved Customer Service Is The Goal
Creating repeat customers that turn into even higher value lifetime customers is the primary goal of any small business. This can only be achieved by repeatedly executing meaningful customer service initiatives and support. Technology helps in this area and can provide the tools needed to interact with customers on several levels while creating accessible platforms for them to interact with your business. Other than selling a product or service, consider the overall customer journey experience and reverse engineer a program.
Technology is one of the easiest and quickest ways to take your business to the next level. With scalability, it doesn’t matter the size of your business or how many hats a small business owner wears to keep operations running smoothly. With the various choices available, you can find the right solution that fits perfectly for your unique business.
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