Thursday, September 25, 2008

How can technology help small businesses? - Serve customers better

In the previous post I explained how SMB companies can improve business – reduce OPEX, increase profit, stay competitive – by using technology. Today I will be addressing the second way to do that: “Serve Customers Better”:

The most satisfied customers are those who have easy access to your company 24 hours a day. Linking your customer information to a secure voice and data network can help you increase customer satisfaction by:

  1. Immediately identifying incoming callers. When customers call, their records pop up on a computer screen. Now your employees have everything they need to quickly address customer inquiries.
  2. Viewing other employees' phone status. Don't know the answer to a customer's question? You can quickly determine whether or not the right person to help them is available. You'll save time—and provide more attentive customer service.
  3. Understanding call patterns. Managers can easily see data for caller wait times and abandoned calls, so they can identify where additional training, hiring, or other improvements may be needed.

You can deliver the information that your customers need, regardless of when or how they contact you. And, more importantly, your workforce can easily collaborate to meet customer needs. Some of the technologies that can help your business follow.

Just like in the previous post, a secure network foundation, combining voice and data on one network is of most importance. Start by building a solid technology foundation that allows you to offer limitless possibilities for your business. If you fail to have a solid and stable technology infrastructure, it will be a roadblock instead. Technology is a double edge sword.

Wireless connectivity and wireless business phones, added to your network, enable employees to work from the sales floor, the office, or even the warehouse with their desk phone close at hand.

Software and applications that link your customer relationship management database to the phone system on your data network, enhance the functionality of both. Anyone can instantly call a customer by double-clicking his or her phone number in the shared company database. Anyone can IM with them on a public and free client. Anyone can maintain your customers informed on the web. And see important information when customers call, via instant computer screen pop-ups.

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