Rob Harrison, head of development at ECI Software Solutions, explains why now is the time to embrace innovation
As society begins to re-open and a level of normality resumes, 2021 looks set to be a year of innovation for many organisations, seeking to improve efficiency and adapt to meet new challenges. However, taking a piecemeal approach to digitisation can result in disjointed systems and create unnecessary confusion across your organisation.
The COVID-19 pandemic accelerated digitisation across almost every industry. Schools and universities became reliant on new technologies to communicate and interact with students, while the online customer service world stepped up its own digital capability, realising a need for smarter, quicker and more efficient tools to ensure quality customer service.
Supply-chain reinvention and the deployment of artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning tools also became more common in 2020, with businesses forced to re-evaluate processes as staff were required to adhere to strict social distancing rules and many forced to self-isolate.
The longer-term impact
According to the McKinsey Global Survey of executives, most companies accelerated the digitisation of their customer and supply-chain interactions, as well as their internal operations by three to four years during 2020, while the share of digital or digitally enabled products in their portfolios accelerated by a staggering seven years.
At the time many of these changes were deemed ‘quick-fixes’ to an immediate problem, however most respondents have ramped up their investment in digital initiatives and new technologies, realising the many longer-term benefits.
Staying competitive in a changing marketplace
Consumers have also moved dramatically toward online channels, minimising the number of in-store or face-to-face interactions between businesses and consumers. While this can bring some revenue-saving benefits, businesses have had to adapt to ensure customer queries or complaints can still be handled adequately and their order requirements are fulfilled.
Without a central system, able to keep track of previous orders and log important notes, you risk losing customers to the bigger more streamlined firms that have been able to rapidly adopt new digital solutions. In the early days of the pandemic, some teams were reliant on manual call logs or hand-written notes, however these methods aren’t watertight and can risk reputational damage if key details are missed.
With an effective customer relationship management (CRM) tool you can ensure every customer gets the best possible level of service and your team need not worry about manual record keeping. With a wealth of information stored digitally on the system, you can gain a better understanding of customer purchasing trends, manage leads in your sales pipeline, and effectively monitor new opportunities.
A fully integrated CRM system can also streamline how your sales team manages their time and by linking existing sales data with ongoing sales activities, the team can prioritise initiatives and create meaningful plans to reach their future targets.
While the investment may feel daunting, cloud-based systems can help businesses embrace innovation, providing far more in-depth insight into day-to-day operations, how your team is working and areas in need of improvements.
Learn how a cloud-based business management solution can help strengthen your customer relationships by visiting the ECI website.
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