Companies need to share information with their employees, partners, and customers to succeed. And yet, the majority of companies are not set up to ensure that their workers can access this data.
Two-thirds of employees say they waste time each day dealing with slow networks or disconnected tools, according to a Cisco study released last year. The study surveyed 830 full-time office workers across 12 countries about their use of technology at work.
What’s more, even though 63 percent said it would increase their productivity if they could get their jobs done from home when necessary, only 36 percent have remote access to the data they need for work.
Executives commit to many resource-intensive projects, including beefing up their websites, plunging into social media, and doing more outreach to customers. All of this is exciting because it can help you grow your business. But these initiatives shouldn’t come at the expense of internal communications and relations between employees.
Customer service isn’t just about customer satisfaction. It also includes keeping an organization healthy so that it grows. So, learn how technology can help improve your business by striking a balance between external and internal operations and knowing the right tools to improve internal business communications and relationships.
Here are some critical components:
Stop worrying about getting stuck with old technology.
Because chances are high, you already have it! That’s right – businesses often spend time finding or purchasing new software when their current programs could quickly provide the tools they need. Jot down all of your software and compare it to our list below:
- Quickbooks, Peachtree, or similar business accounting software helps you track expenses and revenue for tax reporting.
- Salesforce – Keep customer information organized with a CRM that lets you manage contacts, leads, and other critical customer data.
- Law Office Management Software – Manage timekeeping, billing, invoicing, and other tasks related to running a law firm.
- Microsoft Office Suite – From Outlook email to Excel spreadsheets, the Microsoft Office Suite is a popular program among businesses big and small thanks to its compatibility across various platforms.
- Internet Security Software – If your business doesn’t have cyber-liability insurance, Internet security software can help you avoid the headache of a data breach.
- Communications Software – With this software, employees can chat with clients about their accounts and more on-demand.
- CRM Software – Since CRMs are so popular among companies of all sizes, they’re often part of communications software suites offered by tech companies.
If you don’t have it already, it’s time to look into VoIP (voice over Internet protocol).
This technology makes phones digital, which can help your business save money without sacrificing quality (and may even improve call quality). Plus, these systems only require one Internet connection, not separate phone lines like PBXs do. You can use VoIP for everything from making local calls to placing overseas calls at an affordable rate.
Don’t just rely on your web browser for all of your software needs.
Instead, embed pieces of software onto web pages so that you can use them without downloading anything. For instance, if you need to file a tax return or apply for a loan online, this program could be accessible through any computer with an Internet connection.
You’ll never have trouble filling out forms again, and you won’t run the risk of getting stuck somewhere with no access to technology – at least not where you’re located!
Consider using cloud-based software as opposed to traditional programs.
Cloud-based software is precisely what it sounds like: It’s accessed via the Cloud (or the Internet), which provides quick accessibility from wherever employees are working (home, office, etc.). It also ensures that your information is always backed up and secure.
Be certain that employees can run their business from anywhere – even on a mobile device.
In other words, they don’t have to be sitting at a desk with a computer in front of them to get things done. Simply put: Ensure that employees are equipped to work from anywhere. This includes having access to programs like Skype for customer relations and Google Drive for productivity tools.
Make sure you have the proper tech support available before anything goes wrong.
You never want to settle for second-rate tech help because it’s likely going to cost you time and money instead of getting timely assistance from reliable technicians who will resolve any problems quickly so that your business can run as smoothly as it should.
Additionally, don’t be afraid to ask for help if you aren’t quite sure what you need. For example, a web developer might recommend several different courses of action for increasing your Internet presence, or a marketing firm might suggest a new way to reach potential clients on social media.
Allocate a portion of your budget toward training employees on using the programs they’ll need most.
This is especially important if the program isn’t intuitive and requires some skill set from those using it regularly. In other words, train employees before something goes wrong – not during their busiest season when there’s no time for them to learn on the job.
Remember that cloud-based business applications are designed specifically for businesses in various industries, so make sure you do your homework to find the right tools.
If employees need access to programs from their home computers, provide them with a secure connection to keep them safe. For example, a Virtual Private Network (VPN) or an encrypted browser can help protect personal and sensitive information while giving remote workers access to files and other resources they need.
Be sure that employees know exactly what’s going on at all times by providing them with up-to-date reports. Whether it’s through email newsletter updates or customizable dashboards, employees should have access to relevant information about the company to continue working as efficiently as possible despite being away from the office.