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27Mar

Help Your Customers Through Technology

In business we always strive for ways to serve people better, whether they are customers, vendors or employees. Remaining competitive means leveraging technology to help reduce cost, improve efficiency, capacity and security. In short, it means increasing “value” for your constituents.

A common place to start is by examining manual and paper driven processes. We have seen these in companies who lack true IT leadership and fail to see that technology isn’t just having working phones and printers.

How can automating processes help? Imagine this scenario:

  1. A customer emails you with order.
  2. You or someone in your business reads the email and manually adds information to a spreadsheet which they email to a decision maker for review. Perhaps they are reviewing the customer’s credit and payment history.
  3. All looks good and the order is approved which means another email is sent to a vendor (or perhaps an internal ‘build’ order is created for your manufacturing side of the business).
  4. The accounting department enters a record in the accounts receivable system
  5. A confirmation email back to the customer.
  6. The product arrives and your shipping department sends the bill of lading / packing slip to the customer service department. They read it and using their spreadsheet, find the customer who the part was ordered for and sends an email update.
  7. The packing slip is handed to the accounting department who needs to record it as a new payable.

This scenario required multiple steps from several people. In business the saying “time is money” still holds true, not just for you but for your customers. If they can receive greater value from someone else they might consider it. That’s the hard line in business.

Value is not just a financial savings it’s a time savings, it’s increased convenience, it’s improved reliability, it’s features and capabilities that enable your customer to devote more of their time and resources to their business.

Technology can help through automation and rule-based decision making. Consider how the same scenario might look with technology automation:

  1. A customer uses your web portal or mobile app to place a new order. The system knows the products they commonly order and presents choices to them quickly.
  2. The system receives and records it as a new order – keeping valuable count of orders for you by product, customer, date and more.
  3. The system applies business rules that you control, which govern whether the order can be approved and the vendor / internal build team are notified.
  4. An accounts receivable record is created.
  5. The customer service and department managers are notified and using your new company portal they can view aspects of the order and business from a perspective that matters to their job function.

The automated process has many benefits for you and your customer; that's the goal!

  1. Your customer saves a very precious resource: time
  2. You also save time by reducing or eliminating manual steps
  3. You have added resiliency to your business in the case of a loss of a key person
  4. You have made it much easier to manage, share and analyze data that affects your business decisions
  5. You have added value to your customer’s business by adding convenience and a personalized experience

This adds up to value for your business, that can appear as cost savings, increased capacity, reliability, and security. That is a formula for creating a win-win situation for business growth.

We’re here to help you increase value through technology. Contact us for a free consultation.

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