The day-to-day tasks and requirements for conducting business can take over if we let them, and leave us with no time to pull back and look at the wider landscape. We know that the client is the cornerstone, but keeping track of details and managing schedules –indisputably necessary for good customer service- can push client relations to the back burner. This is not a recipe for success. In our increasingly connected world, clients expect responsive, personalized attention.
One consequence of ubiquitous use of technology has been a change in expectations for customer service. Clients expect an increased level of interaction with agents, and a high level of responsiveness to their needs and input. This can be handled with very little monetary cost, but it does demand some commitment in terms of time. When technology is used for conducting routine business functions and streamlining operations, time is freed up for the critical client relation tasks.
Benefits –visible and not-so-visible
The value of technology in increasing business efficiency and accuracy can’t be disputed, but it’s often the cost of technology that is considered first. Certainly you have to find a balance –invest what you can, without creating a need for excessive training and roll-out costs. Most non-tech sector businesses spend less than 10% of their budget on technology, including up-front costs like infrastructure and hardware, as well as time required to make changes and train staff. These considerations have to be weighed against the benefits of delegating routine tasks to technology, some of which are hard to measure.
Immediately obvious benefits are related to efficiency and accuracy. The right applications improve workflow, expedite accounting, and promote more efficient communication, both within the company and with clients and partners. When we’re confident that routine tasks are being seen to, we have time to cultivate our all-important relationships with clients. Strong relationships build brand loyalty, repeat business, and positive referrals.
Smart incorporation of technology makes your business run more efficiently, and with fewer errors. Both of these factors save time, both for you and your client. Clients may be very gracious about errors and the time required to straighten out snafus, but there is still that residue of frustration that clings to their impression of the business. Technology can help you avoid small, time-consuming errors in scheduling and accounting. This is where the customer relations benefits start to come in.
Better Communication for Stronger Connections
With access to complete and accurate figures provided in a useful format, you can quickly provide clients with information they need. This can be a reassuring experience for the client, who is left feeling that you are on top of things and in charge. Providing clients with prompt updates and notifications helps demonstrate your diligence and increases client confidence.
Increased interaction with clients allows you to clarify your brand and increase overall customer satisfaction. Positive feedback can be shared using technology, creating a powerful climate of affirmation around your work that has far-reaching effects.
The cost of failing to adopt appropriate technology solutions for your business can be high, in both monetary terms and in terms of future business. Technology is an important part of any business plan, and has a broad impact on all aspects of operations, including your all-important client relationships.
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