5 technologies to help you manage your SME
As a small or medium business owner, it’s important to be aware of how technology can help ease the burden and free up time so you can focus on winning customers and growing your business. Here are five examples of technology that can help you run and manage your growing business:
1. Data security and cloud computing
With rising privacy concerns, data security has become a top priority for businesses, especially in Europe, where GDPR has tightened rules on how businesses acquire and use customer data.
Maintaining customer data can be expensive if your business uses on-site servers to store that data. Hiring and retaining IT staff, keeping up with compliance measures, and constant updates on ransomware and malware to protect against malicious users adds up fast.
Instead of using on-site data storage, using a cloud service can be a cost-effective solution. By using a cloud service to store data, your customer information will be well protected in a system that is consistently maintained and compliant. The cost savings of buying a subscription to a cloud service instead of maintaining your own database is also likely to be significant.
2. Customer management
Another strategic decision to make as you scale your small business is how to maintain customer relationships. A customer relationship management (CRM) system makes it easy to never lose sight of a customer’s position in the sales funnel, and in turn facilitates automated marketing. By keeping all of your important customer information in one central platform, you’ll never be left searching for that contact information or the latest customer correspondence.
There are so many CRM systems to choose from, many tailored to specific industries as well. It is certainly worth investing in one as your business grows and you have more clients to manage.
3. Robotic process automation.
Small business owners will agree that too often they spend too much time on administration. This is time that could be spent on strategic planning, improving workflow, and making sure your employees are satisfied and have the tools they need to move your business forward. One way to tackle this problem is by employing robotic process automation (or RPA for short), which can be thought of as software capable of automating administrative tasks, saving you and your staff countless hours.
Using an automated system for administrative tasks will ensure that information is not lost due to human error. When a customer buys a product or service, you can set up a bot to automatically record the sale. Instead of hiring additional staff, you can use RPA to automate almost any computing task you need, ensuring accuracy and saving money. This means that you can hire employees for their ability to be creative and solve problems, rather than their ability to insert data into a spreadsheet.
4. Customer service
Today’s customers expect quick response times to their questions and 24/7 availability from many companies. This is where chatbots can help by taking the load off your customer service team. Chatbots can answer basic questions from your customers, eliminating the need for your staff to waste time on simple questions. Some queries can even be fully answered by a chatbot.
This will save a lot of time for your staff as Chatbots can handle preliminary queries, letting you know the context of the query before you speak to the customer. Chatbots can not only answer a few preliminary questions, they can also send a customer to the right department first.
5. Human resources software
Managing your employees should be about making sure they are met, understanding their needs as workers, and continually improving their work environment. By using human resource management software, you can save a lot of time on repetitive administrative tasks like vacation requests, training, and absence tracking. By centralizing employee information, it’s also easy for your employees to access important information like payslips and direct deposit forms.
As well as CRM systems, there is also a wide variety of HR software available to UK businesses, designed specifically for company size and industry. By investing in the right HR software, you can free your HR staff to focus on creating a positive work culture and recruiting talent to help grow your business.