Clive’s Top Ten Tips: How technology can help your business perform better this summer

Information and Communication Technology is rapidly becoming the foundation for growth enabling the delivery of improved customer service and the streamlined management of data and business processes.

Here’s how your business could capitalise on emerging new technology to improve your business this summer.

  1. Capture all creative ideas. High season is a great time for creating new and innovative ideas as you do the day to day interactions. However, capturing all these ideas is often a challenge for busy people. Evernote is a popular, free program for collecting ideas. Talk to your staff and customers. See what they’d like and get inspiration from them.
  1. Increase your effectiveness through technology. There’s a wealth of programmes available to make a small-business owner more effective in increasing productivity. A few popular tools – some of which are free – include; Dropbox to store files online; Any Meeting to host a webinar; Basecamp for project management; Trello for keeping track of projects and deadlines, and Hootsuite or Buffer to schedule your social media postings. (There are other programmes, so you may want to research what’s best for you.)
  2. Don’t lose it: Read it later. Don’t miss out on important information because you’re busy or in a rush and have no time to read. The following programmes will help you scoop information to read later. Get Pocket  allows you to put articles, videos and any other information into a virtual pocket, saved directly from any site. Another worthwhile program is Instapaper, which allows you to save long Web pages to read later when you have time.
  1. Build your mailing list. One of the most useful assets of any business is its mailing list. Every name and e-mail is valuable. Don’t have a mailing list? Start one. Here are some ways to capture your customers’ names and contact information:
  • Add a sign-up for a monthly e-mail newsletter to your website.
  • Train your staff to prompt customers to join the mailing list.
  • Collect customer personal details at various point of contact, especially during point of purchase. Don’t forget about your online audience.
  • Run a raffle style prize draw using details collected from company information cards.
  • Put a notebook by the till for sign-ups to your mailing list.
  • Offer a freebie to incentivise customers to provide personal details.
  • Offer a discount for following you on social media.
  1. Get the right backup service. Pin down your Service Level Agreements. Don’t leave it to the marketing blurb. Be specific about your expectations and needs, so that you can be sure any problems will be fixed in a recognised timescale. This ensures that any downtime is kept to a minimum so you can focus on the customer.
  1. Get clever with your Wi-Fi. 1 in 10 customers admit to leaving a venue because there was no wi-fi. It is vital that businesses offer wi-fi to keep their customers satisfied and engaged. If you don’t have it, get it! Be clever, use the service to catch more information about your customers – add them to your mailing list, get them to sign in through Facebook – you then know more about them through Facebook stats.
  1. Get High-speed broadband. Without adequate broadband capacity, businesses face an uphill battle to engage potential guests and visitors by sharing multimedia content and interacting with them on social media platforms. Aside from the provision of reliable connectivity services for guests at their venue, there is also a growing need to work with technology partners to develop services and applications.
  1. Customer Relationship Manager. Consumer information is the lifeblood of your business. Only by knowing your customers and reacting their needs and requests in real time can businesses generate competitive edge, loyalty and repeat visits.
  1. Cloud is key. The majority of services can now be hosted and maintained offsite – no need to purchase an expensive system – only pay for what you need. Examples of what can be serviced through the cloud include; Accounts, Booking system, WiFi system, Customer relationship manager, EPOS till system.
  1. Get clever with HR and e-learning. SME in the Tourism and Leisure industries have previously found the cost of heavy duty HR and e-learning technology prohibitive. Here again, the cloud is helping wider access to systems and applications that will help businesses meet legislative requirements and regulations, as well as manage content and streamline processes.

Experiencing IT issues? Don’t panic Telemat is on hand. Getting you back up and running is important to us as we know down time can be costly. Call one of our experienced technicians to book a Free IT diagnostic. Keeping your customers happy makes us happy.